‘Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band’ Documentary Acquired By Magnolia

Toronto Film Festival 2019: Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard and Brian Grazer executive producing film making its world premiere as opening night gala presentation

Last Updated: September 5, 2019 @ 2:19 PM

Magnolia Pictures has acquired the worldwide rights to “Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band,” which is playing at TIFF as the festival’s opening night gala presentation, Magnolia announced Thursday.

The documentary about Robertson and the classic rock group The Band is directed by Daniel Roher and is executive produced by Martin Scorsese, Brian Grazer and Ron Howard. Magnolia is planning a theatrical release for the film early next year.

“Once Were Brothers” is inspired by Robertson’s 2017 bestselling memoir “Testimony” and is a confessional, cautionary and sometimes humorous tale of Robertson’s young life amid the founding of The Band. The film blends 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 longtime fan of The Band, ‘Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band’ still held many surprises and information I didn’t know,” Magnolia President Eamonn Bowles said in a statement. “Daniel Roher has fashioned a stirring tribute to a great American ensemble.”

“Once Were Brothers” 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. Also producing are 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.