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Martin Scorsese-Produced Grateful Dead Documentary Goes to Amazon

Sundance 2017: ”Long Strange Trip“ is directed by Amir Bar-Lev

Amazon has acquired the Grateful Dead documentary “Long Strange Trip” ahead of its premiere at this month’s Sundance Film Festival. The four-hour movie is directed by Amir Bar-Lev and executive produced by Martin Scorsese.

The six-part “Long Strange Trip” will debut in the U.S. and U.K. on May 26. The world premiere is right around the corner at Sundance, where band members Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann and Bob Weir — as well as Trixie Garcia — will be in attendance.

The 30-year look-back is produced by Eric Eisner, Nick Koskoff and Alex Blavatnik who also financed the project. Additional producers include Ken Dornstein and Justin Kreutzmann.

In addition to Scorsese, executive producers include Hart, Kreutzmann, Weir, Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Rick Yorn, Andrew Heller, Sanford Heller, Phil Lesh, Thomas J. Mangan IV and Alicia Sams.

“Long Strange Trip” unearths the history of the Dead and the freewheeling psychedelic subculture that sprouted up around it, while providing insight into the psyche of late lead guitarist Jerry Garcia, who disdained leadership of the increasingly sprawling collective organization that kept the show on the road, per the doc’s official description.

With a soundtrack that captures some of the band’s most dynamic live performances as well as unguarded offstage moments and never-before-seen footage and photos, “Long Strange Trip” is an epic exploration into a uniquely American experiment in radically eclectic music-making that continues to earn the passionate loyalty of generations of fans worldwide.

“I first reached out to the Grateful Dead about this film back in 2003,” said Bar-Lev. “Since then, everyone who has come aboard has treated this project with a renegade spirit of cooperation and ingenuity worthy of the subject matter. I recognized immediately that Amazon was the perfect distributor when I met their team, and I can’t wait to see how many brains they can infect with the Dead’s contagious brand of anti-establishment fun.”

“I’ve always admired the spirit and creativity of the Grateful Dead,” added Scorsese. “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.”

“The story of the Grateful Dead is that of music and culture of the 20th Century,” said Joe Lewis, head of Comedy and Drama, Amazon Studios. “Told with vast scope and an unprecedented cast of real life characters, Amir has taken advantage of this larger than life canvas to make an era-defining musical portrait that we can’t wait to bring to audiences everywhere.”

Bob Weir commented: “Over several decades a group of guys hung together making music in a group that was way tighter and lasted much longer than most marriages. Here’s the movie…”

The deal was negotiated by WME Global on behalf of the filmmakers.