New York, NY – November 12, 2012 – Kino Lorber, Inc. (www.kinolorber.com) is proud to announce the acquisition of all North American rights to Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet, a moving documentary about maverick guitarist Jason Becker, a legend in the US music scene who has lived with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, or Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), for the last two decades.
Directed by first-timer Jesse Vile, Jason Becker tells the story of a man who refuses to give up on his outstanding talents despite incredible odds. When doctors diagnosed the 19-year-old rock star with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, they said he would never make music again – and that he wouldn’t live to see his 25th birthday. Twenty-two years later, Jason Becker is alive and making great music, having released a total of five albums since being diagnosed with ALS. His latest work, “Boy Meets Guitar – Volume 1 of the Youngster Tapes,” was released earlier this year.
Winner of a Special Jury Prize (Golden Starfish Award) at this year’s Hamptons International Film Festival, Jason Becker will begin its theatrical run on December 14 at New York’s Cinema Village. The film also won a Special Jury Prize at this year’s CineQuest, in Silicon Valley, and was selected for this year’s DocNYC.
By mixing never-before-seen home movies, photographs from his guitar-playing childhood in Richmond, CA, and interviews with the likes of Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, among many others, Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet paints a vivid portrayal of a man whose passion for music has inspired everyone around him.
At the age of 20, Becker joined David Lee Roth’s band, replacing Steve Vai, and it was while recording the album A Little Ain’t Enough in 1989 that he won the coveted Best New Guitarist award from Guitar Magazine. Preparing for the subsequent tour, Becker began to feel what he called a “lazy limp” on his left leg. When he was diagnosed with the always-fatal disease, Becker kept fighting to continue making music under any circumstance.
In 1996, Becker released Perspective (the first after the diagnosis), an instrumental album composed by him (with the exception of Bob Dylan’s song “Meet Me in the Morning”). By using guitar, and later, a keyboard, he continued to compose while his disease worsened. When Becker could no longer physically play even a keyboard, his friend and music producer Mike Bemesderfer helped him with a music-composing computer program which could read the movements of his head and eyes, enabling Becker to continue to compose after he lost control of the rest of his body.
Kino Lorber’s Vice President, Elizabeth Sheldon, who negotiated the deal with Ana Vicente from the U.K-based Dogwoof commented: “The adjectives ‘tragic’, ‘powerful’ and ‘heart-breaking’ don’t do justice to Jesse Vile’s near-perfect film. Vile’s portrait invokes far more than pity, with its inspirational story of the tragedy endured by both Becker and his family. The film is a true testament to the power of the human spirit and artistic talent.”