Magnolia Pictures acquired North American rights to Magic Trip, a look back at the psychedelic 60s cross-country bus tour taken by Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters. The feature documentary was co-directed and co-written by Alex Gibney and Allison Ellwood, and produced under History Films. History Network holds broadcast rights.
Magnolia will release the film on a VOD platform before a theatrical release, which the distributor used on Gibney’s Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Elliot Spitzer. Gibney and Ellwood got access to raw footage of 16 mm stock which Kesey and the Pranksters intended to turn into a documentary but never did. They worked with the Film Foundation, History and UCLA Film Archives to restore over 100 hours of footage that went into chronicling a psychedelic 60s movement captured by Tom Wolfe in his book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. A movie adaptation of that book has been in development with Gus Van Sant at the helm and Richard Gladstein producing.