Lance Diamond, the late Buffalo legend, will hit the big screen on July 20 at 7:00 p.m. at the North Park Theatre.
'Lance Diamond: A Diamond in the Buff' is an 80-minute documentary celebrating the famous lounge singer. The movie follows the life of Diamond, including his work as a pioneer for music and culture.
The documentary's trailer teases various interviews about Diamond, which discuss his rivalry with Rick James, his ability to break down cultural barriers and even his feature work with the Goo Goo Dolls.
Kevin Polowy, a Buffalo native and City Honors graduate, directed the film with Brandon Rae. Polowy has been in entertainment media for 15 years, and currently works for Yahoo Movies. Rae is originally from Cleveland, and has over 10 years of experience in production.
"We can't wait for Buffalo to see it," said Polowy. "It's not only a celebration of Lance Diamond's legacy, but it really captures the essence of the city and its people. Ultimately it's a love story between Lance and Buffalo."
Some of the material in the film was gathered before Diamond passed away. Polowy's original film concept was a heightened comedy starring Diamond, which the star agreed to work on in 2013.
"Lance was really excited about it," Polowy said. "He started memorizing his lines and everything."
Polowy got to know Diamond over a year or so of filming. He said during that time, he got a rare insight into the life of Lance Diamond.
"I don't think he ever took a single thing for granted," Polowy said. "I don't think people realize the extent of his devotion to his craft... it was his true love."
Polowy said Diamond was a very private person. He said Diamond kept his personal life to himself, which is why most people didn't know the star besides what they saw of him on stage.
LaTasha Johnson, Diamond's niece, is one of the few who really knew him.
"Uncle Billy is just who he is to me," Johnson said. "The world loves him and knows him as Lance but I know him as Uncle Billy."
Johnson was very sincere when discussing her late uncle. She reminisced about the man who loved her and her sister just as he had loved their mother. She talked about a man who would sing at the dinner table, and was always an entertainer.
"He truly loved what he did, to the point that he gave it his all," Johnson said. "He, in my opinion, was just born to perform."
Johnson also discussed Diamond's love for Buffalo and the people in the city. She said his devotion to the area kept him local, and noted that he loved his fans just as they loved him. Polowy said that during his time with Diamond, he came to realize the same thing.
"He didn't necessarily want to go," Polowy said. "He was very content being this local icon."
Both Johnson and Polowy reflected warmly on how Lance Diamond lived his life. They reminisced about a man who was happy being where he was, doing what he was doing and living alongside the people of Buffalo. Polowy said in all, it's a Diamond quote that said all people need to know about the man they adored.
"I live to love and I love to live," Polowy said. "It perfectly summed up the essence of Lance Diamond."
While tickets are no longer available online, there are still limited seats left for the premiere of 'A Diamond in the Buff' on July 20. Those tickets can be purchased tomorrow for $20 at North Park Theatre.
Before the 7:00 p.m. show time, Lance Diamond's family members will make a red carpet appearance with directors Kevin Polowy and Brandon Rae. The movie screening will be followed by a Q&A session with the filmmakers.