Magnolia Pictures has acquired American theatrical distribution rights to Muscle Shoals, a feature documentary about a small Alabama town that became a legendary hub for musicians such as The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett.
PBS strand ‘Independent Lens’ picked up the U.S. TV rights and distributor Films We Like took all Canadian rights for the film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January. The deals were brokered on behalf of the filmmakers by Josh Braun, Dan Braun and David Koh of Submarine.
Read realscreen‘s interview with director Greg ‘Freddy’ Camalier about the making of the film here.
The doc features interviews with Franklin, Pickett, Mick Jagger (pictured above), Keith Richards, Percy Sledge, Gregg Allman, Clarence Carter, Alicia Keys and Bono, among others. The story chronicles how FAME Studios producer Rick Hall and rhythm section The Swampers defied racial barriers to turn the Southern backwater into a music Mecca that defined the sound of American pop throughout the 1960s and 1970s.
“It captures the elusive magic of a truly special place that birthed some of the most exciting music ever made,” Magnolia President Eamonn Bowles said in a statement. “Music fans of all ages are going to find this story revelatory.”
“At its heart, Muscle Shoals is a social issue doc that looks at how music transformed culture,” added Lois Vossen, senior series producer for ‘Independent Lens’.
Muscle Shoals screened at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas earlier this week and will head to Sundance London in April.