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Friends honour Amy at film premiere

Published 30/06/2015

A documentary about singer Amy Winehouse had its premiere in the West End
A documentary about singer Amy Winehouse had its premiere in the West End

Amy Winehouse's friends and admirers turned out to honour her memory at the premiere of Amy, the documentary film based on her life, where they paid tribute to her personality and musical talent.

The Back To Black singer, who died of alcohol poisoning in 2011 at 27, is the subject of the film based on archive footage and interviews with more than 100 people who were involved in her life.

Director Asif Kapadia, who previously directed the successful biopic Senna, said: "It's about addiction, it's about the pressure of fame, it's about love, it's about family, it's about friendship, it's about creativity. The film is about just introducing you back to the real person."

He added: "People maybe who came in late will maybe only remember the girl who was not in a good way on stage, or a bit out of control in Camden.

"But there was so much more to her before that. And the film is really showing you that person and understanding where the records came from and celebrating her for what an amazing artist she really was."

Nick Shymansky, who worked as her first manager when she was 16, called her "one of the most amazing people I ever knew", adding: "Her legacy is that she made incredible music, she moved a lot of people.

"We'll see what her true legacy is in 20 years, but I think she was just a really authentic, original person."

Lauren Gilbert, a close friend of Winehouse, said: "Her music speaks for itself, but if you put that aside, her as an individual - which not many people pay attention to - she's an amazing human being, and everyone should know that."

The film, which had its premiere at Picturehouse Central in West London, has not been without controversy, after the late singer's parents withdrew their support for the project after seeing an early edit in October.

Her father Mitch Winehouse told Sky News the film was "incredibly misleading", claiming the footage was edited to imply that he could have done more to save his troubled daughter.

Producer James Gay-Rees said: "You're trying to compress 10 years of somebody's life into two hours, so inevitably you're not going to have a lot of the stuff in there that some people want.

"At the end of the day: he's her dad, we entirely respect his opinion, it's just a very complicated story, and the film is a product of lots of research."

Documentary film-maker Louis Theroux said he was "excited" to see the film, adding: "Comments do get edited, and when you make a film or a TV programme, the dream scenario is that everyone's pleased, but that doesn't always happen.

"Your number one obligation is to tell the truth, so if that ruffles some feathers, then that's the way it is."

Musician Tyler James, who was friends with Winehouse for over a decade, said: "I know there's a lot of controversy surrounding this film, but ultimately the film's not about me, it's not about Nick, it's not about Mitch, it's about Amy. And I think it shows Amy - the core of Amy."

Amy is released on July 3.

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