ONCE WERE BROTHERS: ROBBIE ROBERTSON AND THE BAND

IMAGINE DOCUMENTARIES PARTNERS ON DEFINITIVE ROBBIE ROBERTSON DOCUMENTARY IN ASSOCIATION WITH BELL MEDIA STUDIOS
& UNIVERSAL MUSIC CANADA’S SHED CREATIVE,
A WHITE PINE PICTURES PRODUCTION

Photo © Elliott Landy/www.elliottlandy.com

 

TORONTO/ NEW YORK, May 9, 2019 — Imagine Documentaries, White Pine Pictures, Bell Media Studios and Universal Music Canada’s Shed Creative have partnered on a feature documentary film, Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band, about legendary musician and founding member of The Band, Robbie Robertson. The film is directed by Daniel Roher (Survivors Rowe) and will be executive produced by Martin Scorsese, Brian Grazer and Ron Howard.

The film is a confessional, cautionary, and occasionally humorous tale of Robertson’s young life and the creation of one of the most enduring groups in the history of popular music. Inspired by Robertson’s bestselling memoir, Testimony (Penguin/Random House, 2017), the film blends rare archival footage and interviews with many of Robbie Robertson’s friends and collaborators, including Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Martin Scorsese, Taj Mahal, Peter Gabriel, David Geffen and Ronnie Hawkins, among others.

“I’m honoured to have my memoir, Testimony, made into a documentary film by such an extraordinarily talented creative team,” said Robertson.

A half-Mohawk, half-Jewish kid from Toronto, Robbie Robertson got his break at 16 years old with Ronnie Hawkins’ The Hawks. He was Bob Dylan’s guitarist on the notorious 1966 “electric” world tour and as leader of The Band, collaborated on the ground-breaking Basement Tapes, inventing “Americana”, with songs like The WeightUp on Cripple Creek, and The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down. The Band’s touring culminated with the seminal concert and film, The Last Waltz. With a career spanning over six decades, he is also known as a songwriter, producer, author and film composer; with collaborations such as director Martin Scorsese.

Robbie and The Band are the stuff of rock n’ roll mythology,” said Imagine Documentaries President, Justin Wilkes.  “As a Woodstock native, the Big Pink house loomed large in my cultural psyche growing up and like many, many others, the music sure made a lasting impression.  The gospel according to Robbie is a wild, cinematic ride and we here at Imagine are honored to partner with Daniel and an illustrious band of producers in sharing Robbie’s story with the world.

It is an honour to be producing this theatrical documentary in exclusive collaboration with Robbie Robertson, the man who wrote the anthems of our generation, and continues to create extraordinary music today,” said Peter Raymont, President, White Pine Pictures.

We are delighted to help bring the incredible story of one of Canada’s most revered artists to the screen, and look forward to welcoming it to our robust collection of music documentaries on Crave,” said Randy Lennox, President, Bell Media

 Our focus is to find stories that are emotionally dynamic and have cultural weight behind them. Robbie’s story and career is just that and we’re thrilled to be partnering with Imagine to give this story the global platform that it deserves,” said Dave Harris, managing director, Shed Creative.

The film is being executive produced by Justin Wilkes and Sara Bernstein for Imagine Documentaries; White Pines Pictures’ president Peter Raymont, and Steve Ord; Jared Levine; Michael Levine; Bell Media president, Randy Lennox; Universal Music Canada president and CEO Jeffrey Remedios; and Shed Creative’s managing director Dave Harris. The film is set to be released theatrically in Fall 2019 and on Crave early next year.

-30-

About Imagine Documentaries
Imagine Documentaries was formed in 2018 by Imagine Entertainment Chairmen Brian Grazer and Ron Howard with a focus on developing and producing premium feature documentaries and non-scripted television. Based out of New York, Imagine Docs is run by Academy-Award nominated and multiple Emmy and Peabody-winning producers Justin Wilkes and Sara Bernstein. The division expands on Imagine’s rich history in the documentary space which includes the hit National Geographic hybrid documentary series Mars, and Breakthrough as well as The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years which won the 2017 Grammy for Best Music Film, as well as Jay Z’s Made in America, Prophet’s Prey, Katy Perry: Part of Me, Inside Deep Throat, and Beyond The Mat in the film space. Imagine Documentaries is currently producing Sound & Vision, the anthology docuseries with Rolling Stone Magazine, the docuseries She The People with Tony-Award winner Sarah Jones, the documentary DADS, with Bryce Dallas Howard directing, Rebuilding Paradise directed by Ron Howard, and the recently announced Dwyane Wade documentary. Imagine also produced the Ron Howard directed Pavarotti about opera great Luciano Pavarotti, set to be released worldwide this year, and Peanuts in Space: Secrets of Apollo 10 directed by Morgan Neville, available on Apple TV this May. www.imagine-entertainment.com

About White Pine Pictures
Founded 40 years ago by Emmy-Award filmmaker, Peter Raymont, White Pine Pictures is a Toronto-based film and television production company. Its documentary feature films include the Emmy and Sundance award-winning Shake Hands with the Devil and the Oscar short-listed Genius Within: Glenn Gould and A Promise to the Dead. White Pine Pictures is currently producing a major documentary feature on Margaret Atwood & Graeme Gibson, a series on contemporary artists and several other productions. The Corporate Coup d’État, co-produced with Superchannel and ZDF-ARTE premiered at the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam. White Pine also produced the widely broadcast TV drama series The Border & Cracked.

About Bell Media
Bell Media is Canada’s leading content creation company with premier assets in television, radio, out-of-home advertising, digital media, and more. Bell Media owns 30 local television stations led by CTV, Canada’s highest-rated television network; 30 specialty channels, and four pay TV services. Bell Media is Canada’s largest radio broadcaster, with 215 music channels in 58 markets across the country, all part of the iHeartRadio brand. Bell Media also operates more than 200 websites; video streaming services including Crave, TSN Direct, and RDS Direct; and multi-channel network Much Studios. The company produces live theatrical shows via its partnership with Iconic Entertainment Studios; owns a majority stake in Pinewood Toronto Studios; is a partner in Just for Laughs, the live comedy event; and owns Dome Productions Inc., one of North America’s leading production facilities. Bell Media is part of BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE), Canada’s largest communications company.

About Shed Creative
As part of Universal Music Group, Shed Creative has led recent film and television development for the company out of Canada, including the Tragically Hip feature documentary Long Time Running (TIFF 2017). Built around a team whose previous work includes Peabody, CSA and Emmy-winning films and series for Netflix, MTV, VH1, and CBC, Shed is focused on bringing emotionally dynamic stories with a unique POV to global audiences alongside exciting homegrown talent.

 

Media Contacts, Canada                                                             Media Contact, USA
Ashley Ballantyne
                                                                        Sage Shah
Universal Music Canada                                                                Imagine Entertainment
ashley.ballantyne@umusic.com                                                     sage@imagine-entertainment.com
416.718.4090                                                                                 310-858-2135

Alicia Giammaria
White Pine Pictures
alicia@whitepinepictures.com
416-703-5580 ext. 229

Nicolle Stranges
Bell Media
nicolle.stranges@bellmedia.ca
416-384-2056