Renowned music documentary filmmaker Malcolm Leo and veteran personal manager John Hartmann have secured an agreement to produce a feature length documentary on music icon Jerry Garcia. After a lengthy pursuit of the rights, Leo will direct and also produce with Hartmann. The Leo/Hartmann Productions pic will be built around a 3-hour conversation that Leo conducted with Garcia in 1987. The historic interview was shot on negative film with studio quality sound and lighting. The footage presents a compelling portrait of the cult hero at the height of his success. Leo intends to blend an unprecedented amount of never-before-seen performances, documentary footage, and rare home movies.
The project has great bonafides: Leo’s previous work includes films on Elvis Presley, Crosby Stills & Nash, and The Beach Boys. Hartmann, the brother of the late comedian Phil Hartmann, was formerly personal manager of Peter Paul & Mary, Crosby Stills & Nash, The Eagles, America, Poco, and others. The pair want a completed docu will be ready for release in the spring of 2012 and currently are finalizing financing and distribution with the help of Jeff Silberman of Century City law firm King Holmes Paterno & Berliner.
Leo/Hartmann provided a short film clip to the San Francisco Giants for Jerry Garcia Day last summer seen by 42,000 fans. The entire celebration was captured on film by co-producer Justin Kreutzmann and will be included in the Leo/Hartmann movie. The producers were given full access to film Annabelle Garcia, Jerry’s eldest daughter, throwing out the first pitch as well as to members of The Grateful Dead legacy band Furthur singing the national anthem, as well as the Guinness World Record-setting playing of “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” by thousands of fans on kazoos.
A number of films about The Grateful Dead have cropped up, but the challenge has always been to get music rights. For instance, ICM has been grantedunprecedented access to the seminal band’s music catalog and will package a narrative-style feature film built around those tunes. Formed in 1965, the San Francisco-based band broke up in 1995 after frontman/guitarist Garcia passed away shortly after the band was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame. The Dead spent 30 years together and did 2,300 live performances.