Pulse’s “Mary J. Blige: The London Sessions” Screens

at Tribeca Film Festival


Debuting on April 16th at New York City's Beacon Theatre as part of the iconic Tribeca film Festival; ‘The London Sessions Documentary’ follows Mary J. Blige as she records her 13th studio album over a month in London. Working with a host of London based talent; the film follows Mary as she writes, records and curates one of her most experimental album’s to date.


Produced by Pulse Films and directed by Sam Wrench, the film highlights Mary’s collaboration with artists including Disclosure, Emeli Sandé and Sam Smith, following the creative process as Mary talks about her history, her fears and her desire to do something different and break the mold. As the album comes together Mary reflects on the experience; her new musical family, working in London and how far she’s come personally.


Pulse is an award winning film studio with a wealth of experience within the music documentary space. Their slate includes: Katy Perry’s ‘Part of Me’, the BAFTA nominated Nick Cave film ’20,000 Days on Earth’ (Sundance, Berlinale) - which picked up two awards at Sundance for directing and editing – as well as Blur’s ‘No Distance Left to Run’ (Hot Docs), The Libertines ‘There Are No Innocent Bystanders’, Take That’s ‘Look Back Don’t Stare’ and LCD Soundsystem’s ‘Shut Up and Play the Hits’ (Sundance, SXSW, Hot Docs).


Pulse were the perfect partner to create and execute a film that seamlessly combines cinematic documentary storytelling with an emotive soundtrack to provide a unique insight into a legendary and previously inaccessible artist. 


Zak Razvi, executive producer at Pulse expands on the project; “Our work with Mary began as a simple behind the scenes project however; it was clear from the start that there was huge potential to tell a bigger story. For both Sam Wrench and Pulse, this presented a unique and exciting opportunity, an artist of Mary’s calibre announcing the intention to do something different and work with people from a different area of music was always going to harness a great narrative.”


Mixing documentary footage with more formal interviews the film allows the viewer to step into Mary’s world, experiencing everything from intense writing sessions to touching meetings with Mitch Winehouse. A show in LA provides a break for Mary and she talks passionately about the changes in her life since recording in London. The film finishes as Mary returns to London to play a sold out show at iTunes Festival in Camden, just a stone’s throw from where some of the songs were recorded. It’s a seminal moment as Mary reflects on the risk she took and it’s creative and personal rewards.

Director Sam Wrench, expands on the creative direction of the film; “Myself and Pulse Films approached the project with the view to capture real moments that would speak to the viewer without the need to overproduce or prescribe situations. To do this we kept the crew to an absolute minimum with myself shooting and doing the sound. Whilst challenging it provided us unparalleled access that meant the unique moments of creativity were captured in an organic and natural way. This being said having a camera around whilst you go through personal moments is never an easy task and Mary's professionalism and dedication to the project was unwavering. Ultimately her risk, trust and creativeness made this film what it is.”


This organic approach is something Sam cites as being integral to the documentary process. “You have to let relationships grow naturally. It’s all about developing a bond and seeing where it goes rather than forcing a subject into something they feel uncomfortable with.”


The documentary is the latest project from London based Director, sitting alongside his work within the fields of commercials and live music. Beginning his career as a self-shooting P/D and cameraman, Sam began directing Channel 4's late night music content (4play, Little Noise, Ibiza Rocks) before moving into branded content, long form documentary and multi camera where he now works for a selection of high profile artists and brands both in the UK and America, from Gorgon City to George Michael, alongside household brands that range from McDonald's to MasterCard.


With the documentary already receiving huge praise within the industry and amongst media, The London Sessions Documentary looks set to cement Pulse’s status as the ultimate author within the music documentary space, whilst Wrench’s talents continue to see his profile soar.