In 2014, with the 25th anniversary of his iconic album Listen Without Prejudice Vol.1 approaching, George Michael was feeling reflective about that turbulent time of his life. From the infamous court case with his record label Sony, to the death of the love of his life Anselmo Feleppa, George wanted to tell the story in his own words and set the record straight, so began work on a feature film Freedom: George Michael with co-director David Austin.
Pre-production, research and assembly of the film started in late 2014 with filming commencing January 2016. George’s original cut was made as a full-length feature. The 1 hour 53 minute version was completed prior to his sad passing in 2016 and subsequently cut down for a TV special to coincide with the re-release of Listen Without Prejudice Vol.1.
Directed by George Michael and David Austin, Freedom: George Michael Director’s Cut, tells the dramatic story of the making of Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1, the court case which followed and George’s personal struggle and pain as he loses Anselmo. George succeeded in reuniting the Freedom! ’90 video’s five supermodels for the film and it also features a stellar cast of contributors including Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Liam Gallagher, Tony Bennett, Nile Rodgers, Mark Ronson, Mary J Blige, Kate Moss, Tracey Emin, Ricky Gervais and James Corden.
Freedom: George Michael Director’s Cut is the film as George had always intended and will be screened at film festivals around the world starting with Documentary Edge Film festival in New Zealand on 13 May and Krakow Film Festival on 29 May. Further screening dates to be announced.
Meanwhile, George’s family have requested that fans take down tributes left outside the singer’s two homes.
Memorial gardens have been created outside his home in Goring, Oxfordshire and at Highgate, north London following his death on Christmas Day 2016.
In a statement on his official website, members of his family said he “would not want to disturb or change the quiet neighbourhoods he so loved.”
The statement reads:
Our Family feel, that the time has now come to share some decisions we have taken around our new reality, and situation since we lost Yog. That means we have had to come to decisions about many issues, some of which are more sensitive than others.
All of these decisions have been difficult but, they do need to be taken, ultimately keeping all things and all people in mind. One we have thought long and hard about, are the tributes at Highgate and Goring-on-Thames.
We’ve been touched by your many tributes celebrating and remembering Yog, reminding us how very much he is missed and loved. However, we feel we cannot expect our Highgate and Goring neighbours to continue to accept as normality, the memorials so personal to you all, to remain as and where they are any longer although, we do appreciate your recent efforts to minimise their impact.
However, this is what we feel we now need to do. We would like to ask anyone that wants to, to come and collect your tributes to Yog, between the 1st May (Tues) and the weekend of the 26th/27th of May, (Leaving any you wish us to have) so we can return both Mill Cottage, and The Grove to their former simple state. This will take time to do properly, so we ask for your patience whilst trying to improve the grass and railings, at The Grove.
Yog liked his privacy, his homes were true havens for him (-such a Cancerian!) and, ultimately, long term, we know he would not want to disturb or change the quiet neighbourhoods he so loved, for the people in the local area, who honestly, despite reports otherwise have been gracious and very understanding.
As many people have now discovered, Yog did a lot of quiet giving over many years. Perhaps in his memory, you may want to ‘pay it forward’ and support, through either volunteering, or by way of donation, one of his favourite charities which, so many of you have already done to fantastic effect, or maybe some ‘random acts of kindness’ would be a fitting tribute. Sometimes it’s those little thoughtful things, which feel so good to do, that can really make someone’s day.
We like, whenever we are charged with making decisions in Yogs’ name, to think ‘what would Yog do’, and the family will continue to take decisions as we think he would have done.
We are hoping, into the future, to get back to you with some more thoughts on ways and ideas to remember Yog that we hope you’ll like, and be a part of.
Thank you all for your understanding,
Mel, Yioda, Jack & David