Kino Lorber will release Oscar-winner Alex Gibney’s feature documentary “Finding Fela,” on August 1, with an exclusive Manhattan engagement at IFC Center. It’s also scheduled to open in DC on August 8 (at Landmark’s E Street Cinema), as well as in Boston (at Landmark’s Kendall Square) and Atlanta (Landmark’s Midtown) on August 15.
A digital, VOD and home media release will follow, which means it should be accessible to most of you, if it doesn’t screen at a theater near you.
Finding Fela tells the story of Fela Kuti’s life (1938 – 1997), his music, and his social and political importance. This in-depth look at the man who created Afrobeat (a fusion of Jazz, traditional West African rhythms, Funk, Highlife, and psychedelic rock) brings audiences close to Mr. Kuti’s fight against the dictatorial Nigerian government of the 1970s and 1980s. With his audacious music and a great deal of courage, Kuti helped bring a change towards democracy in Nigeria, promoted Pan Africanist politics to the entire world and became an inspiration in the global fight for the rights of all oppressed people.
As a committed critic of the legacies of European cultural imperialism, Mr. Kuti became a major political force in Nigerian and African politics – even becoming a Presidential candidate (twice) in the 1980s. His socialist political views and truly subversive life style also lead to a criminal, government-sanctioned attack on his commune in 1977, which lead to his arrest and the death of his 82-year-old mother. Mr. Kuti was eventually released, but his mother’s death shaped the rest of his life.
Taking audiences through a multi-threaded journey into the power of art to affect political and personal change, “Finding Fela” features never-before-seen footage of his major concerts and even of Fela’s funeral. Exclusive talking-head interviews include Femi Kuti (Fela’s eldest son), Yeni Kuti (Fela’s first child), Seun Kuti (Fela’s youngest son), Sandra Izsadore (former Black Panther party member), as well as musicians Questlove and Paul McCartney.
Ahead of the film’s release in about a week, check out the below 2-part interview with eldest son, Femi Kuti, speaking on his father’s legacy, the musical style he launched (Afrobeat), and his politics. At one point, it was rumored that the son would play the father in the Fela biopic that’s been set up at Focus Features for many years now. Although Chiwetel Ejiofor was previously formerly attached (no word on whether he still is). Andrew Dosunmu is currently attached to direct.
Watch Femi Kuti speak on his father below, in the first 2 videos, and then watch the trailer for Gibney’s documentary underneath:
First trailer follows below: