Kino Lorber has landed all north North American rights to Alex Gibney’s Finding Fela, the prolific documentary-maker’s latest film, which had its world premiere at Sundance. The theatrical rollout will begin August 1 at NY’s IFC Center, adding Washington DC the next week and Boston and Atlanta the week after that. In addition, Kino Lorber will book Finding Fela in more than 75 additional markets where Fela!, The Musical, attracted big crowds; it will also screen at Tennessee’s Bonnaroo music fest June 13, where Fela’s son, musician Seun Kuti, will appear for a Q&A and performance.
Finding Fela tells the story of the life of the Nigerian music and political icon Fela Kuti, whose Afrobeat (a fusion of Jazz, traditional West African rhythms, Funk, Highlife, and psychedelic rock) creation brought audiences closer to his fight against the dictatorial Nigerian government of the 1970s and 1980s. He was twice a Presidential candidate in the ’80s, after his socialist political views led to a government-sanctioned attack on his commune in 1977, which led to his arrest and the death of his mother.
The docu also reveals the creative process behind the Broadway musical Fela!, a brilliant whirlwind of song, dance and agitprop directed and co-conceived by choreographer Bill. T. Jones, and includes never-before-seen footage from Fela’s major concerts and 1997 funeral.
“I’m very proud of Finding Fela and am delighted that the film will have a robust theatrical release in North America, so that audiences can experience the story and the power of this extraordinary performer and fighter for social justice,” Gibney said. “As Fela has said, in fighting for a better possibility, ‘music is the weapon.’ “