Singer, musician and composer Donny Hathaway died at the age of 33. On Saturday January 13th in 1979 he was found on the landing of the third floor of the Essex Hotel in New York. Donny left behind a slim body of work consisting of three solo albums, a movie soundtrack, two albums in which he worked together with Roberta Flack and two legendary live albums (one released posthumously). In spite of his modest output his work still resonates in the black music scene and way beyond it. In her most famous song Rehab, Amy Winehouse sings: “There’s nothing you can teach me that I can’t learn from Mr. Hathaway.” Winehouse knew what most musicians know: Donny Hathaway was an exceptional talent.
A Song For You has the form of an exploration and consists largely of new documentary footage, alternated with more stylized scenes. Thanks to the full cooperation of Hathaway’s widow, his sisters and brothers, daughter Lalah Hathaway, musicians like Roberta Flack and James Mtume and many others, this documentary will shed a new light on the life of soul legend Donny Hathaway.
David Kleijwegt is a (pop)journalist and director for the VPRO. In 2006 he directed his first documentary The Eternal Children. In 2008 followed Low: You May Need a Murderer, in 2010 The Owl in Daylight and in 2011 Arnon Grunberg ‘Heb je nog steeds vrienden?’ and De Ballade van Lucky Fonz III.
Director David Kleijwegt
Cinematographers Reinier van Brummelen and Jacques Laureys
Sound recordist Wouter Veldhuis
Research Sandra St. Victor
Executive Producer Julia van Schieveen
Commissioning editor VPRO Barbara Truyen
Produced by Frank van den Engel
in coproduction with VPRO, supported by Dutch Cultural Media Fund, Netherlands Film Fund Production Incentive, CoBOfund.