Cleveland International Film Festival } March 25 – April 5, 2020 } Tower City Cinemas

Sammy Davis, Jr.: I've Gotta Be Me


Year: 2017
Country: USA
Run Time: 100 minutes

Sammy Davis, Jr.: I've Gotta Be Me
Sammy Davis, Jr.: I've Gotta Be Me
Sammy Davis, Jr.: I've Gotta Be Me
Sammy Davis, Jr.: I've Gotta Be Me

At seven years old, Sammy Davis, Jr. outshined the great Ethel Waters in the 1933 musical comedy “Rufus Jones For President.” The Harlem-born entertainer already had years of experience by then, touring the country with his father and godfather, Will Mastin. The group continued to play together into the 50s, but Sammy was the standout. He began to work solo, starring in films and Broadway musicals. Eventually, he joined the legendary Rat Pack, becoming close friends with Frank Sinatra. Regardless of his amazing talent, being a black entertainer during such a racially volatile time was extremely difficult. No matter what he did, it offended someone. When he cozied up with Richard Nixon, he upset the black community. He fought to elect JFK but was snubbed from the inauguration because he married a white woman. Despite all the controversy and drama, he never gave up —even after losing an eye in a car accident. As this exceptionally inspiring documentary proves, we wouldn’t have wanted it any other way than SAMMY DAVIS, JR.: I’VE GOTTA BE ME. —E.F.

CIFF42 Screenings

Tower City Cinemas

Wednesday, April 11, 2018 at 8:45 PM

Cedar Lee Theatre

Thursday, April 12, 2018 at 6:30 PM

African Diaspora
Jewish and Israeli Visions
Race Relations

Nesnadny + Schwartz Portrait Documentary Competition


Sam D. Pollard

Samuel D. Pollard is one of the most respected names in the world of documentary cinema. Between 1990 and 2000, Pollard edited a number of Spike Lee’s films. In addition to his award-winning filmmaking, Pollard is currently a professor at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts as well as a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences®.

Chinatown Film Project (2009), Mr. Soul: Ellis Haizlip and the Birth of Black Power TV (2010), Two Trains Runnin' (2016), ACORN and the Firestorm (2017) – co-director, SAMMY DAVIS, JR.: I'VE GOTTA BE ME (2017), Mr. SOUL! (2018), Maynard (2018)

Michael Kantor, Sally Rosenthal

Sam D. Pollard

Mead Hunt, Allan Palmer

Steven Wechsler

Print Source

This film is presented by DOUG and KELLY BRILL, celebrating the power of music to transform lives.

This film is presented with the generous support of MARK and DIANE TRUBIANO.

Media Partner

Cleveland Jewish News

Questions? >


Check out our FAQs for answers to common questions about entering the film festival.

Become A CIFF Member >

Become A CIFF Member

We have seven different levels of membership to choose from, so find the one that best fits your film appetite!

Sign up for our email newsletter

  • facebook
  • twitter
  • instagram
  • youtube
  • flickr
  • alexa
  • foursquare