Riverrun to present special one time free screening of "sidney"

RiverRun International Film Festival will host a special one-time screening of “Sidney,” an acclaimed documentary from producer Oprah Winfrey about the life and career of Sidney Poitier, on Sunday, February 18, at 3 p.m. at Marketplace Cinemas in Winston-Salem.

Poitier’s daughter, Pamela Poitier, will attend this screening as a special guest. Following the
film screening, Poitier will participate in an on-stage interview with Jackie Alexander, Producing
Artistic Director of the North Carolina Black Repertory Company, producers of the International
Black Theatre Festival.

This screening is free and open to the public, but reservations must be made online prior to the
screening. “Sidney” is expected to be a very popular screening that will fill quickly. Those who are interested are urged to register as soon as possible.

Sidney Poitier was one of the most acclaimed and recognizable stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood with a career spanning more than five decades and was the first Black man to win the Academy Award for Best Actor. Additionally, Poitier was also a director and an activist in the Civil Rights Movement.

“Sidney” was in development and production for five years and draws upon eight hours of interview footage with Poitier himself conducted by Winfrey in 2012 along with commentary from Winfrey, Spike Lee, Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, Quincy Jones, cultural critic Nelson George, and Lulu, Poitier’s co-star in “To Sir, with Love.” In an interview with Peter Hammond at “Deadline,” director Reginal Hudlin compared the use of Poitier’s own voice from the Winfrey interview in telling the story of his life to Miles Davis in terms of all the cadence and rhythms of how he told it. Having the footage was a godsend to Hudlin as a director.

The film premiered at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival. Reviewing the film for “The Guardian,” Peter Bradshaw called it an “inspirational story” and noted, “The documentary does a very good job of showing just how astounding Poitier’s self-invention was, considering his early poverty, a story almost Dickensian in its drama and romance.” In “Variety,” Peter Debruge wrote, “Few movie stars have been more inspirational that Poitier, who was more than just a movie star but also a symbol to so many—be they aspiring Black performers or the public at large, who saw their own views on Civil Rights embodied in the characters he played.”

The documentary had full support of Poitier’s family.

About Pamela Poiter

Pamela Poiter is an accomplished and award-winning actor of theatre, television, and feature films. She has appeared a number of plays including the Broadway production of “The Gospel of Colonus” with Morgan Freeman. Her feature films include “Stir Crazy” and “Ghost Dad.” As a writer and producer, Poitier has published a book of poetry, “A Woman’s Soul” and has created a written several television productions. A former teacher at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute in New York City, Poitier has taught acting and movement in New York, along with Los Angeles, Atlanta, and the Bahamas. She is a conservationist who lives totally off the grid on Cat Island in the Bahamas and is active in teaching children the importance of conservation and recycling.


The RiverRun International Film Festival is a non-profit cultural organization dedicated to the role of cinema as a conduit of powerful ideas and diverse viewpoints. Founded in 1998, RiverRun is a competitive event that annually showcases new films from both established and emerging filmmakers around the world. Each spring, RiverRun screens new narrative, documentary, short, student and animated films, offering both audience and jury prizes in competition categories. For more information, visit HERE.