Tag Archives: winehouse movie

Brazil’s Kleitson: Amy Jade Winehouse Tribute Artist Interviewed

This week, Gisele Burjack, a reporter with T1 News Tocantins – BRAZIL conducted a very brief interview with the longtime Amy Winehouse tribute-artist known as Kleitson. They talked about the ongoing International AMY Film Alternate-Poster Competition, which closes on June 21; and about Kleitson’s love for Amy and his excitement at the prospect of the film coming to Brazil.

What follows is an AAN translated summary of that brief interview. The original interview in Portuguese is linked here.

Gisele Burjack: When will the film open in Brazil?

Kleitson: No date has yet been set, but we hope very soon. As soon as the poster contest is completed, I will turn my attention to helping to encourage the filmmakers to bring AMY to Brazil as quickly as possible.

Gisele Burjack: How do you feel taking part in an international competition?

Kleitson: Obviously, for me, it is a great honor to participate in the contest. Not only because my featured work is well received but because I can best express my love for Amy Winehouse through my art. Everyone in Brazil is super anxious to see AMY – due to their love for the singer and because of director Asif Kapadia’s ‘star status’ here – so I feel really lucky to be part of the art competition.

Gisele Burjack: Your admiration for Amy seems to go beyond your artistic work as a draftsman?

Kleitson: Yes. I can say with 100% certainty, I always keep Amy inside of me, in my heart. She inspires me, guides my art.

klt.box.61915-9AMY Posters  –  By  Kleitson

Gisele Burjack: What about Amy inspires you?

Kleitson: Her spirit, sincerity, voice, talent and humility all inspire me. I think she was never fully aware of her own genius.

Gisele Burjack: Which side of Amy guides your designs?

Kleitson: Like many fans, I felt I ‘knew’ Amy even though I never met her. She was smart, funny, unique, sweet. Through her music, I feel she guides my desire to show those qualities in my art.

Gisele Burjack: How have people reacted to your AMY posters?

Kleitson: People from around the world have contacted me and expressed their appreciation for my art. I was so honored when even Amy’s mother complimented my skills.

Gisele Burjack: What are your expectations about the contest?

Kleitson: I think I have a chance to win. I believe a lot in my work because it is more conceptual than most.

Gisele Burjack: Have you received orders for your work as a result of the contest?

Kleitson: I have received some orders but have declined them all because I am totally focused on the current competition, and will be until it closes.

Gisele Burjack: How many posters have you entered in the competition?

Kleitson: I think I have the most entries. Thus far, I have 19 different posters in the competition.
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klt.box.61915-3AAN Favorites

You can view the full Kleitson Poster Collection here.

You can read more about Kleitson and his posters at this previous AAN entry.

Additional media coverage of Kleitson in Brazil will be posted on this blog through June 22, 2015.
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Book Review: ‘Amy, My Daughter’

Absent a fiduciary relationship dictating to the contrary, no one has an obligation to favorably review the written work of someone they like and admire. The only duty of a nonobligated reviewer is to tell his own truth; here is mine.

To date, the long awaited Mitch Winehouse volume, Amy, My Daughter is clearly the finest written offering on the life and times of Amy Jade Winehouse.

The challenge faced by reviewers bearing warm feelings about the subject matter of AMD will be to remain focused on the style of the book and leave alone their personal views about AJW. That task will not be mastered by me; it is simply not possible for me to divorce my own feelings regarding AJW from anything I write about subjects related to her. I always like to review good books, and I never like to review the lives of the people who write them. Consider my comments herein with that in mind.

I often refer to AJW’s journey as a “magnificent adventure.” AMD gives readers an involved insider’s view of that trek, and does so in an interesting, engaging and powerful manner. The book is an entertaining pageturner and there are truly no boring parts. Constructed, in part, from event contemporaneous diary entries, the story is told in a straightforward style that is super easy to follow and encourages folks to absorb the book in one long read.

AMD paints the accurate picture of a loving and ordinary parent engaged in a good faith war to save his beloved child. The author admits his lack of knowledge in some relevant matters and the most sophisticated readers should remind themselves that, notwithstanding any contrary historical notions, ignorance is not a sin. The inevitable “why didn’t he?” questions raised by readers are largely based in cocksure arrogance and/or the questioners’ own ignorance. The simple fact is that no parent “knows the things they don’t know” during their engagement in an AMD-style crisis; most such parents become gropers and blindly rely on the “expert” voices they are offered. Such reliance precludes third-party judgements of failure and exempts the actors from all but the guilt they routinely and wrongfully foist on themselves.

The major import of AMD, to knowledgeable fans of the megastar, is to be found in confirmation and not in revelation. Experienced Amyphiles can, in my view, rely absolutely on the truth of MW’s account; many of those truths were largely long known to seasoned fans and having them confirmed by a close participant is valuable, but AMD is revelatory of old truths more than expository of new secrets. Newcomers to the subject will find the generously offered details fully satisfying.

Amyites looking for the all encompassing and definitive biography of AJW will have to wait for skilled historians to brew and bake a bit longer. AMD simply offers what I deem to be the true and accurate telling of the author’s observations and feelings about the events he experienced as the public and private drama of his daughter’s terminal disease engulfed him.

The author’s wit and charm are compelling inside of AMD and are likely to soften some folks’ perceptions of him; the sympathy you want to feel for him may flow freely. Except for the general circumstance of his saga, he is not likely to make you cry in his telling, but you may feel the pain of his experiences in a way that you have not before.

The volume is skillfully compiled to interest a mainstream audience. That demo is critical to helping the Amyites preserve the legend and promote the philanthropic legacy. The AJW aficionados simply have to accept that most early books, regardless of who writes them, are going to be rather “basic” in nature. The advanced analytical writings can come as interest in the subject increases; and, it will.

Though I kind of like the full expression of feelings and opinions, I also know that it is not necessary for a writer to say everything he feels and thinks about the real life antagonists in his work. Seasoned bashers of BFC will applaud MW’s verbally harsh treatment of the sick manchild that the equally ill AJW loved much. That AJW was fully energized with the decency gene and her cohort was imbued with likkle but pure and demented evil will always make the trashing of the latter acceptable to the vast majority of those who love her, but I find even the most justifiable after-action hate to be harmful to its bearers and avoid expressing it; even when I feel it beyond measure.

If AMD was a work of fiction, I would note that the BFC character should have been eliminated from the story – by any means necessary – long prior to his ever having established a dominant position in the tale. In real life, public post-outcome bashing is easy to advise against – and hard to rise above – but its vent value is, to me, unseemly and the currency of its truth is outweighed thereby. When a nonfiction villain is indeed fully illustrated to be a “lowlife scumbag,” his conduct speaks to that fact and even the most involved storyteller need not be redundant in restating the obvious. I well know that my view in this matter is that of a tiny minority, and I cite it merely as a small point in the AMD narrative that might cause a slight sympathy-losing chill among some readers.

[DISCLAIMER: I am not so straightlaced that I did not laugh heartily upon entering the search term “lowlife scumbag” and getting a page-one GOOG return of a picture of BFC.]

AMD offers a bit of insight into some minor details of AJW’s business dealings. Folks who have grown tired of her being falsely portrayed as a brainless dunce that knew/cared nothing about her business should be somewhat satisfied. Future biographers are given a good resource of names that will prove useful in their efforts to flesh out the totality of AJW as a real human being that is exponentially more than just a disease victim.

It is also interesting to have revealed some details regarding the insiders’ recognition of the serious war that was being waged against AJW by a corrupt and vile media. While fightback efforts were never really successful, fans will at least learn that the hometeam was far from oblivious to the evil works of the demoralizing defamation machine.

As a strident and militant warrior in the ongoing battle against the deadly dogma of “disease chauvinism,” I found only a slight and grossly understated bone toss at page 206 of AMD, where the author meekly notes:

“… I also began to realize that, for most people, addiction is an illness, an illness that needs treatment, just like any other. …”

In my view, that mostly true but overly reticent observation represents a lost opportunity for a widely respected person to further spread the truth that has been recognized by the USA Government, via the National Institutes of Health and National Institute on Drug Abuse:

Substance addiction is a terminal brain disease, the components of which obviate the patient’s ability to adequately exercise freewill choice.

Story and Video Re: NIH/NIDA     http://tinyurl.com/7u6kknk

Until that scientific fact becomes the prevailing medical paradigm – and it will – every parent on the planet will remain vulnerable to the same heartbreak now being suffered by AMD‘s author. The corrupt dogma of disease chauvinism rends the credibility destroying and dehumanizing stigmatization that heaps shame and embarrassment on the sick and often precludes, hinders, or delays their successful treatment. Though understandable and completely expected, the author’s failure to forcefully attack the anti-science gangs in the context of the AJW story was personally disappointing, but does not harm either the biographical or entertainment value of AMD.

Picture lovers will be pleased with the selected offerings. Some of the photos are “new,” some are not. Hopefully, a future pictorial volume will incorporate all of the hidden treasures not shared this time out.

The inclusion in the book of what seems to be the full text of AJW’s early Sylvia Young entrance essay is a super nice touch and makes the popular pull-quotes even more powerful. Personal notes and greeting cards from AJW also add charm and tears to the mix.

Is AMD a strong enough vehicle from which to devise a major film? Absolutely, but, perhaps, it should be contemplated to be crafted as a story about MW’s travails in the saga and not as a straight-up AJW biopic. That formula might be slightly more palatable to the adamantly “no movies” crowd.

All things considered, it is very difficult to find any real fault with AMD. Fans of AJW will like it a lot and many new fans will be born among those coming to the subject for the first time. That we all desperately wish this book never had to be written is a given; that every fan and every parent read it is a necessity spawned by the most hurtful circumstance that many of us have ever experienced.

All author proceeds are pledged to the Amy Winehouse Foundation.


Notes On The Contemplated “Amy Movie”

Each day delivers more obvious clues that the first movie about the life of Amy Jade Winehouse is close at hand. Many folks disagree with my views on the matter and I respect their right to do so. My views are as follows.
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Note To The Moviemakers:

Production teams should consider themselves on constructive notice that any film which seeks to profit by unfairly exploiting AJW – or by reinforcing the false narrative that has been constructed by the corrupt media – will not succeed at the box office. If Amy fans become aware that the filmmakers have – to any degree – failed to regard this simple and good-faith advisory, such fans will work fulltime to assure that the resulting film fails and that those funding it lose their investments. Amy was bashed and trashed quite enough in life; fans will not tolerate a “hater bait” movie, now that she has left the stage.

If the filmmakers decide that a movie sympathetically and sensitively exalting a great artist suffering from a dreaded disease is not “sexy enough” to create adequate profits, they should simply abandon the project. While she was alive, Amy’s fans were foolishly silent during an evil media’s assault on her decent and sensitive character; they will not make the same mistake in her absence. A respectful representation is expected and nothing less will be acceptable.

All elements of “disease chauvinism” must either be excluded from the project, OR they must be exposed as the deadly “blame the victim” elements that they actually are. Civilized folks don’t hate sick folks and they don’t tolerate those who do so. If the prospective makers of any Amy movie do not yet fully grasp this concept, they must employ competent medical professionals to consult in the matter.

Amy’s story is not about the symptoms of the disease that afflicted her; it is about her artistic accomplishments and her constant search for friendship and unbreakable trust. Her story is that she knew she should be her own best friend, but was unable to do so. She searched for, experimented with, and gambled on the non-career puzzle piece that would have completed her. Try as she did, that missing piece long eluded her and when it was finally within her grasp, a vile disease cheated her of the prize.

Amy’s fans – currently heartbroken and in great despair – expect a fair, balanced and positive message to be conveyed in any AJW biopic. They will support nothing less.
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Note To Amy Fans:

If we want our opinions taken seriously in the process that will lead the first Amy film to the screen, we will have to partially cede “ownership” of Amy. Now, “our girl” belongs to the ages; we can influence the maintenance of her legend, but we cannot “own” that legend.

Our constructive input is entirely indispensable, but we will squander the opportunity to render it if at every turn we simply shout, “No, No, No!” We must help guide the process by respectfully influencing and educating the artists and business people involved in the project. That is the path to assuring that the movie is the best that it can be.

The filmmakers have a clear self-interest in seeking both preproduction and postproduction input from Amy’s fans. Intransigent fans can thwart that interest, but the result will be the release of a movie that will not make a satisfactory contribution to preserving the legend and promoting the legacy of its subject.

Hopefully, most fans will decide to act prudently and speak frankly and constructively about their hopes, goals and wishes for an appropriate and successful film. To do any less in the face of inevitability would, in my view, be a betrayal of the obligations we have to AJW.
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Note Regarding The Lead Player:

Many fans are worried that “nobody” can adequately represent Amy’s “essence” in a biopic. Those worries are largely misplaced. Film remains a medium of writers and directors. Given the right script and a skilled director, Amy’s “essence” will appear on the screen; regardless of the lead player selected.

A large number of actors have been contemplated for the role. Among the leading contenders have been Lea Michele and Stefani Germanotta. Some prominent notice has also gone to actor/singer/comic Dana DeLorenzo.

Lea Michele is a highly-skilled actor and she is one of the most talented vocalists that Broadway has produced in decades. In films subsequent to the first one, Lea will be an ideal choice to portray Amy and there is no doubt that she is super-qualified to get the job done.

Dana DeLorenzo is also multi-talented. While some have expressed concern that her past “parody” performances might interfere with her ability to take dramatic direction in the role, I totally disagree. She is an experienced actor, understands how to meet a director’s and writer’s expectations, and might well bring a fresh and fun perspective to subsequent Amy movies.

In the first “big budget” theatrical movie, Stefani Germanotta is both the logical and best choice to portray AJW. Her demographics are both homogeneous and additive; she reinforces Amy’s natural box-office base and she substantially expands that base in demos where AJW has historically lacked support. SG’s participation will attract existing Amy fans and draw a massive crossover audience to the project.

Stefani has very high-end vocal skills and her acting abilities will be expanded in the hands of a sensitive and experienced director. In the search for Amy’s “essence,” there is no more trustworthy vessel than Stefani. Her respect for Amy is well known and she bears an understanding of AJW’s circumstance that few other candidates possess.

Sometimes, a sporting coach will allow a “player to play” just because that player “wants it more” than any other team member. In making the choice of Amy’s onscreen representative, the shot-callers should understand that nobody wants this role more than Stefani Germanotta does. Stefani – aka Lady Gaga – is the correct pick.
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Notes On The Money:

Moviemaking is ONLY about an effort to make money for its participants. If they make good movies, they make good money; if their movies are junk, they lose money. Moviemakers risk large fortunes to earn their profits and they are entitled to apportion those earnings as they choose.

In the instant circumstance, it is wholly in the interest of the film creators to be extremely generous with the primary beneficiary of AJW’s legacy: The Amy Winehouse Foundation. Such generosity will help garner great support for the movie.

At both the front-end and backend of the project, ALL participants should be as generous as they possibly can in their dealings with the AWF. Any sense to the contrary perceived by Amy fans would be a severe and destructive impediment to the film’s success.
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The first movie may or may not be the “best one.” As time passes, other film projects will present and new players will have their chance to add to the legend-preserving and legacy-building of our JadeMermaid Princess.

I respectfully request that Amy’s fans approach this film project with a combination of optimism and realism. We want a great movie and Amy deserves no less. Let’s act both reasonably and prudently to help assure a positive outcome for all concerned. Thanks!