TORONTO (September 5, 2019) – Magnolia Pictures announced today that they have acquired worldwide rights to ONCE WERE BROTHERS: ROBBIE ROBERTSON AND THE BAND, ahead of its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival as its Opening Night Gala Presentation. This marks the first time a Canadian-made documentary will open the festival. Directed by Daniel Roher (SURVIVORS ROWE) and executive produced by Martin Scorsese, Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, the documentary tells the story of a group that went from backing up Bob Dylan to becoming one of the most influential groups of its era. Magnolia is planning a theatrical release for early next year.
Inspired by Robertson’s 2017 bestselling memoir Testimony, ONCE WERE BROTHERS: ROBBIE ROBERTSON AND THE BAND is a confessional, cautionary, and sometimes humorous tale of Robertson’s young life and the creation of one of the most enduring groups in the history of popular music. The film blends rare archival footage and interviews with many of Robertson’s friends and collaborators, including Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Scorsese, Taj Mahal, Peter Gabriel, David Geffen and Ronnie Hawkins, among others.
“Being a long time fan of The Band, ONCE WERE BROTHERS: ROBBIE ROBERTSON AND THE BAND still held many surprises and information I didn't know,” said Magnolia President Eamonn Bowles. “Daniel Roher has fashioned a stirring tribute to a great American ensemble.”
Directed by Daniel Roher, ONCE WERE BROTHERS: ROBBIE ROBERTSON AND THE BAND is a co-production between Imagine Documentaries, White Pine Pictures, Bell Media Studios and Universal Music Canada’s Shed Creative. The film is executive produced by Justin Wilkes, Sara Bernstein, and Michael Rosenberg for Imagine Documentaries; White Pines Pictures’ president Peter Raymont, and COO Steve Ord; Bell Media’s Randy Lennox; Jared Levine; Michael Levine; Universal Music Canada president and CEO Jeffrey Remedios; and Shed Creative’s managing director Dave Harris.
The deal was negotiated by Magnolia EVP Dori Begley and Magnolia SVP of Acquisitions John Von Thaden with Endeavor Content on behalf of the filmmakers. Magnolia Head of International Sales Lorna Lee Torres and International Sales Manager Marie Zeniter will launch international sales at the Toronto International Film Festival. All international rights (excluding Canada) are available.
The film will make its premiere as a Crave Original in Canada.
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