New DAVID BOWIE Documentary Coming To HBO In January...

Film focuses on the final, productive 5 years of the singer's life.

November 17, 2017

Markwaters | Dreamstime

A new documentary about DAVID BOWIE is set to premiere in January on HBO, and it recounts the late singer's incredible productivity in the final 5 years of his life. The film, appropriately titled, "David Bowie: The Last 5 Years," was directed by FRANCIS WHATELY, who back in 2013, directed another Bowie documentary ("David Bowie: 5 Years") that covered the Rocker's legendary 1970's musical output. The new film picks up with Bowie emerging from a relatively long period of inactivity, creating 2 albums ('The Next Day' & 'Blackstar'), and an off-Broadway musical ('Lazarus'), all the while battling the cancer that would eventually claim his life in January of 2016. The film reveals that after Bowie realized (in October of 2015) that his illness was past the point of possible recovery, he discontinued his chemotherapy and threw himself into his craft, and as Director Whately says, "He wanted to make his final act one to remember. And one way of coping with the pain of the treatment and knowing what was going to happen was to keep himself occupied."  A major challenge that the filmmaker faced with the new documentary was that, unlike his previous film where he had a wealth of archival footage to use, director Whately found himself with precious little material to draw from, as Bowie became pretty reclusive and did not grant any interviews, nor did he mount any performances... What Mr. Whately did have though, were the recollections and stories from the musicians who played with Bowie on his 2 final albums, as well as contributions from Bowie's long-time producer/collaborator, TONY VISCONTI, whose history with the singer dates all the way back to 1969 and right up until the 'Blackstar' album. It's those shared memories as well as outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage of Bowie's video shoots that make up the bulk of the film. Mr. Whately sees the new documentary as a tribute to the artist whom he had only met a few times, but after his first film about Bowie, he felt a much more "personal connection" to him, and in summing up, Mr. Whately said, "Near the end of his life, he wrote to see how I was doing. He said to me, 'I'm very happy with my lot in life and the new album. What more can any man ask for?' It really showed the dignity of the man."