Polygram Entertainment Launches Donna Summer Doc Project, With Singer’s Daughter And Oscar Winner Roger Ross Williams Directing

EXCLUSIVE: Polygram Entertainment, the film and television arm of Universal Music Group, is embarking on a feature documentary about iconic singer Donna Summer, with some of the biggest names in nonfiction attached to the project.

Oscar-winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams (Music by Prudence; Life, Animated) will direct Donna, alongside Summer’s daughter, Brooklyn Sudano.

Brooklyn Sudano

Brooklyn Sudano Courtesy of APA

Williams is producing with Oscar nominee Julie Goldman, Emmy nominees Carolyn Hepburn and Christopher Clements, and Polygram chief David Blackman.

Donna marks the latest in an ambitious slate of films and series from Polygram Entertainment, leveraging the artists and catalogues of UMG. Polygram’s recent documentaries include Oscar contender The Velvet Underground, Emmy-winner The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart, and The Apollo, the winner of the 2020 Emmy for Outstanding Documentary Special that was directed by Williams and on which Goldman served as an executive producer.

“We had been involved in The Apollo documentary with Roger, and I worked closely with Julie [Goldman] on The Velvet Underground,” Blackman tells Deadline. “Roger had always been interested in Donna as a [documentary] idea.”

Williams confirmed that in a statement.

“Ever since I was a teenager, I have been transfixed by Donna Summer’s music,” the director said. “She had a voice that spoke to my soul on the dance floor. To be able to tell her story from a very personal perspective and to do that with her brilliant daughter Brooklyn is a dream come true. I am grateful to Polygram for making this happen.”

Summer, born LaDonna Adrian Gaines in Boston in 1948, shot to fame in 1975 with the sexually-charged single “Love to Love You Baby.” A 17-minute version of the orgasmic song saturated dance clubs, while a shorter radio-ready version hit no. 2 on the Billboard charts. Her 1970s hits included “I Feel Love,” “Last Dance,” “Bad Girls,” and “Hot Stuff,” all dance floor favorites that earned her the sobriquet “the Queen of Disco.”

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