NEW ORLEANS – Louis Armstrong’s only child, Sharon Preston-Folta comes forward in the new documentary, Little Satchmo, after living closely in the shadows of her father, one of the most famous American figures of the 20th century, revealing a family and their relationship that was kept entirely invisible – until now.
The feature documentary is announced as the Season Premiere of PBS Reel South Season 7, to broadcast on the series April 11 before national syndication. Little Satchmo, directed by John Alexander (This Is Love) is based on Preston-Folta’s memoir of the same title, detailing how Sharon, the product of a two-decade love affair between Satchmo and Harlem dancer Lucille ‘Sweets’ Preston, had no option but to harbor and conceal her identity for decades before making it public.
In conjunction with the public television debut, Little Satchmo will be released in theaters internationally, beginning with a theatrical run at New Orleans’ Broad Theatre with a live opening night Q&A on March 11, 2022. An art-house cinema release in up to 100 cities throughout Europe will follow.
Little Satchmo has enjoyed an illustrious festival tour to date, making a sold-out world premiere at Oscar-qualifying Thessaloniki Documentary Festival in Greece followed by critically acclaimed North America debuts at the American Black Film Festival, Toronto’s Hot Docs’ Doc Soup Film Series, and AARP’s Movies for Grownups.
The film, produced by JC Guest and Lea Umberger, is executive produced by Sharon Preston-Folta, underwritten by Emily Bonavia and Susan Houston, and features original music with Wycliffe Gordon from Emmy/Grammy winner and nominee, composer Eddie Korvin.
The film comes to PBS over 50 years after the death of Louis Armstrong and reveals an entirely new side of the American icon, who has long foundered in stereotype and caricature. A non-profit sponsored project of the Southern Documentary Fund, Little Satchmo will give part of the proceeds to Truly Valued Inc, whose mission is to promote positive self-esteem, education, confidence and character among at-risk youth. Preston- Folta has also donated the collection of letters and memorabilia she amassed from her father to the Library of Congress in Washington DC.