HBO and The Orchard have acquired Morgan Neville‘s documentary The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble.
The latest documentary from the Academy Award-winning 20 Feet from Stardom director tells the story of Ma’s international music collective, The Silk Road Ensemble, which was created by the iconic cellist in 2000. The film follows various musicians, composers and singers in the diverse group “as they explore the power of music to preserve tradition, shape cultural evolution and inspire hope.”
New York-headquartered distributor The Orchard has picked up all worldwide rights for the film, except for U.S. domestic television rights, which HBO has acquired from Participant Media and The Silk Road Project.
The Orchard is planning a theatrical release next spring, which will be followed by an HBO premiere. The deal was made ahead of the doc’s Sunday (September 13) world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, where Ma was in attendance with starring members of the ensemble. Neville is also at the fest with a second documentary, the Netflix original Keith Richards: Under the Influence, which bows on Thursday (September 17).
The Music of Strangers was produced by Neville and Caitrin Rogers of Tremolo Productions, in association with Participant Media and with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Pershing Square Foundation and the Ford Foundation JustFilms.
Executive producers include Participant Media’s Jeff Skoll and Diane Weyermann, HBO’s Sheila Nevins, Motto Pictures’ Julie Goldman, and Laura Freid and co-executive producer Cristin Canterbury Bagnall of Ma’s not-for-profit organization, The Silk Road Project.
The deal was negotiated by Danielle DiGiacomo for The Orchard, Gabe Brakin for Participant Media and Josh Braun of Submarine, who also negotiated the deal with HBO.