Scorsese backs 50th anniversary Grateful Dead doc

Martin Scorsese (pictured) has signed on to exec produce a documentary on the Grateful Dead, to be directed by Amir Bar-Lev and marking the band's 50th anniversary.
October 24, 2014

Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese (pictured) has signed on to exec produce a documentary on the Grateful Dead, marking the band’s 50th anniversary.

To be directed by Amir Bar-Lev (Happy Valley, The Tillman Story), the as-yet-untitled documentary will include previously unseen performance footage of the band, vintage interviews (including some with co-founding member Jerry Garcia) and recent conversations with surviving group members Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann.

Joining Scorsese, who has directed music documentaries on The Band (The Last Waltz), George Harrison (George Harrison: Living In The Material World), The Blues, Bob Dylan (No Direction Home) and The Rolling Stones (Shine A Light) as executive producers are Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Andrew Heller, Sanford Heller and Rick Yorn.

The film is being financed through Alex Blavatnik and AOMA Sunshine Films, with Eric Eisner, Nicholas Koskoff and Justin Kreutzmann also serving as producers. Production partners include Double E Pictures, Axis Films and Scorsese’s Sikelia Productions.

In a joint statement, surviving band members Lesh, Weir, Hart and Kreutzmann said: “Millions of stories have been told about the Grateful Dead over the years. With our 50th Anniversary coming up, we thought it might just be time to tell one ourselves and Amir is the perfect guy to help us do it. Needless to say, we are humbled to be collaborating with Martin Scorsese.

“From The Last Waltz to George Harrison: Living In The Material World, from Bob Dylan to the Rolling Stones, he has made some of the greatest music documentaries ever with some of our favorite artists and we are honored to have him involved. The 50th will be another monumental milestone to celebrate with our fans and we cannot wait to share this film with them.”

Scorsese added: “The Grateful Dead were more than just a band. They were their own planet, populated by millions of devoted fans. I’m very happy that this picture is being made and proud to be involved.”

The documentary is expected to be completed in 2015.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor-in-chief and content director for Realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to Realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.