Wavelength Boards PBS Marian Anderson Doc (Exclusive)

Marian Anderson stands in front of the statue of Lincoln
Courtesy of Everett Collection

The production house, whose credits include Sundance hits 'Knock Down the House' and 'Where's My Roy Cohn?,' will executive produce the film about the legendary African American singer and civil rights icon.

Wavelength Productions has got on board a film about African American contralto Marian Anderson (1897-1993) for PBS' American Masters series.

Rita Coburn is set to direct Marian Anderson: The Whole World in Her Hands for PBS, while Wavelength’s founder and CEO Jenifer Westphal and president Joe Plummer will executive produce.

Anderson is best known for her performance at the historic Freedom Concert on April 9, 1939, as part of a protest against racial intolerance on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. after being denied use of Constitution Hall by the Daughters of the American Revolution. Her performance inspired a young Martin Luther King, Jr., then a 10-year-old audience member and before he went on to become a major U.S. civil rights leader.

The PBS doc will recount how, throughout her operatic career, Anderson was tested by the limits of race and segregation in America.

“At Wavelength, we are committed to telling stories that challenge our perceptions and uncover our common humanity. Marian Anderson was not only an inspirational talent, but also a catalyzing force in the civil rights movement and we are honored to help bring her story to life,” said Westphal in a statement.

Currently in production, Marian Anderson: The Whole World in Her Hands is a co-production of American Masters Pictures and RCW Media Productions, in association with Philip Gittelman Productions, Artemis Rising Foundation and Wavelength Productions.

Wavelength became a name in the documentary feature space with nonfiction features like Knock Down the House — Rachel Lears' look at four female Democrats who ran for Congress in 2018, including eventual winner, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — and Matt Tyrnauer's Where's My Roy Cohn?, a profile of the notorious American lawyer.