SHOWTIME documentaries TODAY announced the new feature documentary BITCHIN ‘: THE SOUND AND FURY OF RICK JAMES, directed by Emmy® nominee Sacha Jenkins (WU-TANG CLAN: OF MICS AND MEN, BURN MOTHERF * CKER, BURN!). BITCHIN ‘is an intimate yet propelling look at Rick James, one of the most legendary and often underrated figures in rock, funk and R&B. The film will have a world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival tonight as part of the festival’s inaugural lineup on June 17, ahead of the SHOWTIME premiere later this year. The announcement was made by Vinnie Malhotra, Executive Vice President, Non-Fiction Programming, Showtime Networks Inc.

Showcasing rare footage from James’ incredible live performances, an unreleased personal video, original interviews with legendary artists, collaborators and friends, and a treasure trove of recorded interviews with James (deceased 2004), the documentary features a full picture of James’ dramatic rise and fall, focusing on the “Punk-Funk” music he left behind.

To watch and share the first look clip, visit below.

“This film is another striking work of Sacha, as it continues to document and contextualize the most iconic figures and events that have shaped the contemporary experience of blacks in America,” said Malhotra. “In this case, he really went in depth to illuminate the artist BEYOND TITLES and show the musically revolutionary path of Rick James, without fear of the painful and difficult demons he has fought throughout. “

Best known as the creator of hits such as “Superfreak,” “Give It To Me Baby,” and “Mary Jane,” James broke new ground in American music and world culture in the ’70s and’ 80s as songwriter, performer and producer, collaborating with such luminaries as Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson, Nile Rodgers, Eddie Murphy, Teena Marie, The Mary Jane Girls and MC Hammer. BITCHIN ‘presents a full and complete picture of James’ life – warts and all – as told by those who knew him. At the center of it all is “Punk-Funk” which encompassed a unique piece of 20th century music history, from jazz to soul, R&B, rock and finally hip-hop.

“The ‘wild’ side of Rick James often overshadows his musical genius, but the mathematical equation that is his life depends on all the numbers to come together,” Jenkins said. “Our goal was to create a balanced portrait of a brilliant artist who both pursued his dreams and stalked more than a few demons. Yet his influence on funk and popular music and culture is unprecedented, and his eventual Climbing to the top is easily more convincing than any freebase rush. “

Jenkins is a director, screenwriter and producer, and is currently Partner and Creative Director at Mass Appeal, a premium entertainment company he relaunched in 2013. BITCHIN ‘marks Jenkins’ fourth project with SHOWTIME, having previously directed WU- TANG CLAN: MICS AND MEN, BURN MOTHERF * CKER, BURN !, WORD IS BOND and FRESH DRESSED.

BITCHIN ‘: THE SOUND AND FURY OF RICK JAMES is a Mass Appeal production for SHOWTIME, directed by Jenkins, produced by Steve Rivo and written by Jenkins, Rivo and Jason Pollard. The film is produced by Peter Bittenbender and Jenkins for Mass Appeal, and Douglas Banker and Ty James.

Showtime Networks Inc. (SNI), a wholly owned subsidiary of ViacomCBS Inc., owns and operates the premium service SHOWTIME®, which features critically acclaimed original series, provocative documentaries, box office blockbusters, comedy and musical specials and sports. SHOWTIME is available as a standalone streaming service on all major streaming devices and, as well as through cable, DBS, telco and video streaming providers. SNI also operates the premium services THE MOVIE CHANNEL ™ and FLIX®, as well as the on-demand versions of the three brands. SNI markets and distributes sports and entertainment events for exposure to subscribers on a pay-per-view basis through SHOWTIME PPV®. For more information, visit

Watch a first look here:

Photo credit: Mark Weis

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