The PBS documentary ‘Little Satchmo’, directed by John Alexander and based on the 2012 memoir “Little Satchmo: Living in the Shadow of my Father Louis Daniel Armstrong” by Sharon Preston-Folta and Denene Millner, has recently won the Southeast EMMY Award for Outstanding Historical Documentary at a ceremony in Atlanta. The film unveils the story of Sharon Preston-Folta, Louis Armstrong’s secret daughter, and the hidden facts surrounding this legendary musician’s personal life.
Sharon Preston-Folta’s Untold Story
In contrast to Sacha Jenkins’ film “Louis Armstrong’s Black and Blues”, which delves into Armstrong’s engagement in the civil rights movement, “Little Satchmo” is a deeply personal story about being loved as a daughter but also kept invisible. The documentary contains audio recordings Armstrong sent to Preston-Folta’s mother, Lucille ‘Sweets’ Preston, in the 1960s, as well as Sharon’s own testimony about her life in her father’s shadow.
The film’s narrative presents a mixture of love, hope, disappointment, and bitterness, all told with a focused, balanced, and naturally flowing approach. For further information about the documentary, check John Bungey’s feature for The Times, which explores the film’s first showing on TV in the UK towards the end of May.
Acclaim and Recognition
‘Little Satchmo’ is the Season Premiere of PBS Reel South Season 7 and has been screened in theaters and at film festivals across North America, Europe, and Asia. The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Southeast Chapter, awarded the documentary the Best Historical Documentary EMMY, out of five nominated titles.
The Emmy Award was presented to director John Alexander and producer JC Guest at the 49th Annual Emmy Awards Gala in Atlanta on June 17th. The film has received critical acclaim and screened at Oscar-qualifying festivals such as Thessaloniki Documentary Festival in Greece, American Black Film Festival, and Hot Docs’ Doc Soup Film Series in Toronto, among others.
Little Satchmo: A Global Phenomenon
PBS International handles the global release of ‘Little Satchmo’, with national television broadcasts in the UK, New Zealand, Italy, the USA, and other territories. The film is directed by John Alexander and produced by JC Guest, Lea Umberger, Sharon Preston-Folta, Emily Bonavia, and Susan Houston. The documentary features narration by John Boutté, original music by Wycliffe Gordon, and a score by Emmy/Grammy winner and nominee, composer Eddie Korvin.
For more information about the documentary, visit the Little Satchmo documentary website.
‘Little Satchmo’ is an insightful and poignant exploration of the secret life of Louis Armstrong and the daughter he kept hidden from the world. The Emmy Award-winning film offers a unique perspective on the legendary musician’s personal life while addressing the challenges faced by Sharon Preston-Folta as she navigates her identity and legacy.