UPDATE: Open Road just confirmed Deadline’s scoop on this deal. Release appears below original story break.
EXCLUSIVE: And the Toronto film deals keep coming. Open Road and XLrator have closed an acquisition deal for U.S. rights to All Is By My Side, the Jimi Hendrix film that John Ridley wrote and directed with OutKast’s Andre Benjamin playing rock’s greatest guitarist in his formative years. The pic also stars Heyley Atwell, Imogen Poots, Ruth Negga and Adrian Lester. All Is By My Side first screened Saturday night at the Elgin. Open Road’s Tom Ortenberg and XLrator’s Barry Gordon made the deal.
The film covers Hendrix’s early years as he failed to find footing in the U.S., found his mojo in England and then returned to America with guitar chops so ferocious that he reportedly made guys like The Who’s Pete Townshend and Eric Clapton contemplate other careers when they first saw his act onstage. Or at least that’s how the apocryphal tale goes.
While many other attempts to film the Hendrix story — there was one at Legendary with Paul Greengrass directing Anthony Mackie — got halted because the Hendrix estate refused to play ball, Ridley made the movie anyhow. The pic is produced by Darko Entertainment’s Sean McKittrick, Jeff Culotta, and Danny Bramson, Freeman Films’ Brandon Freeman and Anthony Burns, Subotica’s Tristen Orpen Lynch, and Nigel Thomas of Matador Pictures. Ridley and Darko’s Edward H. Hamm Jr. are executive producing. It’s the latest deal brokered by CAA, which has had a killer Toronto festival. Content Media is selling offshore territories.
Fresh off the film’s world premiere at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, Open Road Films and Xlrator Media have secured North American theatrical distribution rights for “All Is By My Side,” written/directed by John Ridley (“12 Years A Slave”) and starring André Benjamin. The announcement was made today by Tom Ortenberg, CEO of Open Road Films and Barry Gordon, CEO of XLrator Media.
“All Is By My Side” is produced by Darko Entertainment’s Sean McKittrick (“Bad Words”), Jeff Culotta, and Danny Bramson, Freeman Films’ Brandon Freeman and Anthony Burns, Subotica’s Tristen Orpen Lynch, and Nigel Thomas of Matador Pictures, with Darko’s Edward H. Hamm, Jr., and John Ridley as executive producers.
Open Road Films CEO Tom Ortenberg stated, “We are excited to partner with XLator to bring this sensational story to moviegoers across the country. From director/screenwriter John Ridley’s incredible vision, Andre Benjamin gives a mesmerizing performance as legendary Jimi Hendrix.”
“As a life-long Hendrix fan, this film was a revelation — the gem of Toronto. We’re thrilled to partner with Open Road, the best-of-breed studio in the business, in a collaboration that combines the unique skill sets of our two companies,” said Gordon.
Described by Ridley as one of the most rarely told stories in rock history, “All Is By My Side” charts just over a year in a man’s life. The year he blossomed and became Jimi Hendrix. The year he spent as a young musician trying to make it on the streets and in the clubs of London, England. The lovers, friends, and musical collaborators, who helped him get there. Starring Andre Benjamin in an electrifying performance as Hendrix, “All Is By My Side” also features a stand out supporting cast including Hayley Atwell, Imogen Poots, and Ruth Negga.
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