2017 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: The Untitled Amir Bar-Lev Grateful Dead Documentary Project

Grateful Dead

Sundance has been especially welcoming to Amir Bar-Lev with My Kid Could Paint That (2007) and The Tillman Story (2010) and Happy Valley (2014) having all premiered at the fest. Currently in the final hours in post production, the Untitled Grateful Dead docu was being timed for the band’s 50th anniversary in 2015, but there were some hiccups along the way and the last word was they were looking to break this into a four-parter mini-series.

Gist: This will include never-before-seen footage of performances and backstage stuff involving the band, as well as new interviews with surviving members Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh, and Bob Weir, as well as many other characters and pranksters from the Dead universe. This goes back to the band’s formation in the Bay Area amid the rise of the psychedelic counterculture of the ’60s. They continued to record albums and conduct tours where Deadhead fans would follow them all over the country for lengthy rave-like jam sessions. The good times came to an end when band leader Jerry Garcia died in 1995, though surviving members have done their best to carry on. There have been numerous attempts to mount a narrative feature on the band, but this docu is clearly on the fastest track.

Production Co./Producers: Eric Eisner, Nicholas Koskoff.

Prediction: Premieres Documentary section or Special Events sidebar.

U.S. Distributor: Rights Available. TBD (domestic). TBD (international)

Eric Lavallée is the founder, editor-in-chief and film critic at IONCINEMA.com (founded in 2000). Eric splits his time between his home base in Montreal, NYC, and is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. Top Films From Contemporary Film Auteurs: Almodóvar (Talk to Her), Coen Bros. (Fargo), Dardennes (La Promesse), Haneke (Caché), Hsiao-Hsien (Three Times), Kar-wai (In the Mood for Love), Kiarostami (Taste of Cherry), Lynch (Mulholland Dr.), Tarantino (Pulp Fiction), Van Sant (My Own Private Idaho), von Trier (Breaking the Waves)