Amazon Studios has acquired “Long Strange Trip,” the four hour documentary about the Grateful Dead playing in the Documentary Premieres section of the Sundance Film Festival. The film is directed by Amir Bar-Lev (“The Tillman Story”) and executive produced by Martin Scorsese.
“I’ve always admired the spirit and creativity of the Grateful Dead,” Scorsese said in a statement. “They are revolutionary artists who forever changed the world of touring and recording live music. They were a cultural force—a lifestyle, that continue to influence new generations of fans. This film will entertain and educate audiences about one of the most innovative and groundbreaking American bands of the 20th century.”
Amazon will release the movie on May 26 on Amazon Prime Video in the U.S. and UK as a six-part documentary. Band members Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, and Bob Weir, as well as Trixie Garcia will be in attendance at the Sundance premiere.
“Long Strange Trip” “probes the creative forces, subversive ambitions, and interpersonal dynamics that drove the Grateful Dead in their 30-year quest for moments of collective inspiration,” according to the statement. “By inventing a unique fusion of folk, jazz, R&B, avant-garde experimentation, world music and rock and roll, they earned the devotion of the most committed fan base in the music business, while gleefully disdaining every cliché of pop success.”
The film was produced by Eric Eisner (“Hamlet 2”), Nick Koskoff (“Bad Hurt”), and Alex Blavatnik (“For the Love of Spock”), who also financed the doc. Other producers include Ken Dornstein (“My Brother’s Bomber”) and Justin Kreutzmann (“The Who: Fragments”).
The film also has a long list of executive producers in addition to Scorsese, including Emma Tillinger Koskoff (“Silence”), Rick Yorn (“The Wolf of Wall Street”), Andrew Heller, Sanford Heller, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Thomas J. Mangan IV (“Somewhere Tonight”) and Alicia Sams (“By The People: The Election of Barack Obama”).
“I first reached out to the Grateful Dead about this film back in 2003,” Bar-Lev said in a statement. “Since then, everyone who has come aboard has treated this project with a renegade spirit of cooperation and ingenuity worthy of the subject matter.”