The long awaited award winning documentary chronicling the life and career of music legend Dionne Warwick will finally make its way to television. “Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over” airs on New Year’s Day – Sunday, January 1st, 2023 – at 9 pm ET/PT on CNN.
“Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over” was five years in the making, according to filmmaker Dave Wooley, who wrote and solely produced the documentary. Wooley also directed the film alongside veteran David Heilbroner (of “Say Her Name: The Life & Death of Sandra Bland”). “Working on Ms. Warwick’s documentary is a dream come true. “To see the movie come to fruition and most importantly, for Ms. Warwick to receive such accolades during her lifetime is gratifying,” explains Wooley, who earned the following honors for the movie – First Runner Up at the Toronto International Film Festival (category: People’s Choice Award for Documentaries), Best Feature Film: Black Harvest Film Festival – Gene Siskel Film Center, Audience Award: Best Non Fiction- Montclair Film Festival, Annapolis Film Festival: Audience Award as well as the Audience Award: Bronze Lens and a 90% critics’ rating from Rotten Tomatoes.
Wooley, who also co-authored Ms. Warwick’s autobiography, “My Life as I See It”, wants viewers to realize there’s more to the singing icon than the several classic hits she enjoyed (“Walk On By”, “I Say A Little Prayer”, “Do You Know The Way To San Jose”, “Then Came You”, “That’s What Friends Are For”). “I want folks to learn about Ms. Warwick’s legacy and as a transformational leader,” explains Wooley. “We focus on her work and commitment to Civil Rights in the 1960’s and how she stood up and stared down at Jim Crow racism. Then we move on into the 1980’s with the AIDS epidemic and her ambassadorship on the US commission to address this matter, which led to Ms. Warwick to prompt then-President Ronald Reagan to speak directly on the issue.”
The documentary, which also features Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Bill Clinton, Snoop Dogg, Burt Bacharach, Carlos Santana and Alicia Keys among others, was privately screened at the Apollo Theater in NYC’s Harlem – the very venue where Ms. Warwick began her long storied solo career. Wooley explains how the icon reacted when seeing the film. “Upon viewing, Ms. Warwick said to me, ‘Dave, you put your foot in that (film)’. That meant so much to me because I put my entire being into making the doc. It’s indeed an honor.”