UK-based distributor Dogwoof has picked up Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song – set to have its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival — for global sales representation.
The feature documentary is directed by Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine, and executive produced by Oscar winner Morgan Neville and longtime Geller/Goldfine collaborator Jonathan Dana. The film explores the life of the Canadian poet and singer-songwriter (pictured) through the lens of his most famous song, “Hallelujah.”
“Everyone has their favourite version of ‘Hallelujah,’ whether Jeff Buckley, John Cale, kd lang, Brandi Carlile, or Leonard Cohen’s original, this hymn transcends genres and generations,” said Dogwoof CEO Anna Godas in a news release.
“In the deft hands of Dan and Dayna – using an incredible amount of never-before-seen archive and personal notes from Leonard’s life – we have a real exploration of the genius of Leonard Cohen and the magic of his words.”
The film will premiere out of competition in Venice on Sept. 2.
Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song was approved for production by Cohen just before his 80th birthday in 2014. The film explores Cohen’s song from its origins and its poor initial reception, to its resurrection and influence on other artists as it became one of the most recognized and covered songs.
The film will include interviews with singers such as Rufus Wainwright, Brandi Carlile, Judy Collins, Regina Spektor, Amanda Palmer and Eric Church, among others who have recorded and performed their own versions of “Hallelujah.” Other interviews completed for the documentary include Cohen’s long-time collaborator Sharon Robinson, producer on the original version of the song John Lissauer, record executive Clive Davis and ex-Rolling Stone reporter Larry “Ratso” Sloman who shares never-before-heard tapes of interviews he recorded with Cohen between 1974 and 2005.
The Leonard Cohen Family Trust also made previously unseen personal notebooks, journals and photographs, performance footage and rare audio recordings and interviews available to the filmmakers.
Geller and Goldfine also produced the film. Along with Neville and Dana, Michael Drews and Robin Sagon also serve as executive producers. The documentary was inspired by the book The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley & the Unlikely Ascent of Hallelujah by Alan Light.