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The World According to Allee Willis

1h 37m Documentary 2024

A kaleidoscopic ride through the 50-year career of the larger-than-life mega-hit songwriter behind the Friends theme song, Earth Wind & Fire’s ‘September’ and many more.

Growing up in Detroit as an outrageous tomboy in thrall to Motown’s majestic glory days, Allee Willis was an idiosyncratic kid with over-the-top style and an ear for a tune. In adulthood, she served behind the scenes as a songwriter’s songwriter, penning The Rembrandts’ ‘I’ll Be There for You’, the Pet Shop Boys’ ‘What Have I Done to Deserve This?’, The Pointer Sisters’ ‘Neutron Dance’ and songs from the musical The Color Purple. Over her half-century-long career, her compositions sold over 60 million records.

In her dying years, Willis wished that her “final art piece be someone putting together the trail [she] left behind” – and this charming documentary finds her partner, producer Prudence Fenton, making this dream a reality. Drawing from an extensive archive of home videos dating back to the 1970s and featuring interviews with Cyndi Lauper, the Pet Shop Boys, Mark Mothersbaugh (who also appears in DEVO, MIFF 2024), Mark Cuban, Lily Tomlin, Patti LaBelle, Pamela Adlon, Paul Feig and the late Paul “Pee-wee Herman” Reubens, the film is a sincere and affecting tribute to a singular subject.

“An illuminating look at a colourful cultural icon … Exposes vital queer history that reminds us that there is more to our culture than the heteronormative stories audiences have been fed for so long.” – Hollywood Reporter


Nick Coles


Jerry Henry


Nick Higgins


Carla Roda





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