The doc, a copro between HBO Documentary Films and Film Manufacturers Inc., will premiere in the U.S. on HBO on April 4, following a limited theatrical release. The film offers a comprehensive look at the controversial life and career of artist Robert Mapplethorpe, whose art and photographs are said to have ignited the “Culture Wars” of the late 1980s.
The film uses rare audio recordings to have its narrative told in Mapplethorpe’s own words, and also features previously unseen archival footage and images of his life and work.
Bailey and Barbato were given unprecedented access to the materials by the Mapplethorpe Foundation and the curators of the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum. The doc also features interviews with Mapplethorpe’s siblings, as well as Fran Lebowitz, Brice Marden, Debbie Harry, Carolina Herrera and Brooke Shields, among others.
The deal was signed between Dogwoof and producer Katharina Otto-Bernstein of Film Manufacturers Inc. A theatrical release in the UK is also set for this year.
Dogwoof will be representing the film for international sales at this week’s Sundance Film Festival – where Mapplethorpe is to enjoy its world premiere on Friday (January 22) – and the European Film Market at the Berlinale.