How many of us felt that sense of dread creeping up as we watched Amy Winehouse trying to cope with her intense fame, addictions and tempestuous love life? And when she died from alcohol poisoning in July 2011, at the age of 27, were we really that surprised?That same air of foreboding washes over me as I sit watching Amy, a new film about the Grammy-award winning singer, which premieres in London next Tuesday (June 30) before screenings at the East London Film Festival and cinemas across the country.It brings together previously unseen footage and images of her, from her childhood years growing up in Southgate, her early days as an artist, the move to East Finchley and then Camden, her spiralling fame, time at rehab in Essex, wedding to Blake Fielder and her battle with drugs and alcohol as well as interviews with some of those closest to her.Director Asif Kapadia says his aim was not only to give new insight into Amy’s life but also to try and piece together why she died so young.Like Amy, he grew up in north London and was living in Turnpike Lane when David Joseph, the chairman and CEO of Universal Music UK, asked him and his colleagues from award-winning documentary Senna, to tell the singer’s story. “For me, she was like a girl from down the road. It could have been someone I knew, someone I was friends with or might have gone to school with. I thought we should investigate.”He adds: “I wanted to know how that happened in front of our eyes. How can someone die like that in this day and age? And it wasn’t a shock; I almost knew it was going to happen. You could see she was going down a certain path.”In order to retrace her steps from the beginning, he secured the co-operation of the Winehouse estate, controlled by the singer’s father, Mitch Winehouse, as well as some of her closest friends, who had taken a vow of silence after her funeral.Asif spent a year gaining the trust of her childhood friends Juliette Ashby and Lauren Gilbert, and first manager Nick Shymansky, which allowed Asif access to home videos of the star in some her most intimate moments.“Nick’s footage in particular showed us the girl she was,” Asif says. “You could understand how intelligent, special and also how ordinary she was. I knew I could make a film from just that early footage.”The film opens in 1998 in Southgate on Lauren’s 14th birthday. My heart jolts as that amazing voice bursts forth from her slender frame, with a Marilyn-esque performance of Happy Birthday.We also see her sitting on a sofa with a guitar auditioning for record label bosses, tucked under a pink blanket sleeping in the back of a car, applying make-up in a toilet and worrying about her spots, and taking us on a hilarious tour of her holiday apartment.There is footage of Amy in 2003 telling the camera: “I don’t think I’m going to be at all famous. I don’t think I would handle it. I would probably go mad.”We see her on her wedding day to Blake, carefree and barefoot on a yacht, her husband filming her in rehab saying, ‘Go on, sing Rehab!’ and our heartstrings twang as Amy peers up at him silently from beneath her dark hair.Friends talk of their frustration and despair at trying to get her to go to rehab. Juliette recalls Amy pulling her backstage after she won a Grammy and whispering “Jules this is so boring without drugs”.The film focuses on her immense talent too. Her story is cleverly told through her lyrics, which appear on screen in her handwriting with crossed out words and rewritten lines.Asif says. “I thought, ‘All we have to do is unravel what these lyrics are about.’ That for me became the big revelation – her writing. Everyone knew she could sing, but maybe people didn’t realise how well she could write. The whole thing was her.”Amy’s mother Janis Winehouse noticeably only appears for a few fleeting moments, saying she found Amy hard to control from early on. But it is easy to see why father Mitch is unhappy about the film.Amy is heard saying of her childhood: “My dad was never there for the important things”, and Blake talks about how she said this affected her relationships with men and sex. We see Amy and Mitch arguing in St Lucia, where she had gone to get away from drugs and he had followed bringing his own film camera.Ultimately Asif says of the film: “It is about a person who wants to be loved, someone who needs love and doesn’t always receive it. Often, when those who cared for her did try to show her love, she pushed them away.”l Amy premieres on June 30 at the Odeon Covent Garden and features at the East London Film Festival on July 2 with a Q&A with the director. Details: