EXCLUSIVE: As the 2019 Sundance Film Festival begins tonight with a number of promising acquisition titles including opener After the Wedding, we can report that the opening-night film of September’s Los Angeles Film Festival, Echo in the Canyon, has just been picked up for distribution by Greenwich Entertainment. It announced today the acquisition of U.S. rights to the 1960s-era musical documentary from Andrew Slater, a first-time filmmaker and veteran music scene insider who has worked as a journalist, record producer and label executive. The film was produced by Eric Barrett and executive produced by Jakob Dylan and Dan Braun. Greenwich is planning a late-spring theatrical run alongside concerts with musicians from the film and a corresponding BMG record with Jakob Dylan, Cat Power, Regina Spektor and Beck re-creating music from the Byrds, the Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield and the Mama and the Papas.
Echo in the Canyon premiered to glowing reviews at the LA Film Festival and at DOC NYC including one from me in Deadline where I was highly impressed and called it “sensational” and “irresistible in every way.” The audience reaction at LAFF’s outdoor Ford Theatre debut was ecstatic, and I would expect it to continue along those lines from fans of these remarkable artists and musical legends — and those just discovering them for the first time — as the movie is rolled out later this year.
Echo in the Canyon is a look at how the Byrds, Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield, The Mamas and the Papas all birthed the beginnings of the Laurel Canyon music scene and how the echo of these artists’ creations reverberated among one another and ultimately across the world with a timelessness that continues today. It features appearances by Tom Petty (in his very last film interview), Brian Wilson, Ringo Starr, Stephen Stills, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Michelle Phillips, Jackson Browne, Eric Clapton, Roger McGuinn, John Sebastian, Lou Adler, Jakob Dylan, Norah Jones, Beck, Spektor, Cat Power and others. Dylan journeys to those who wrote the iconic songs and uncovers never-before-heard personal details behind the recordings from those who made them popular.
Slater’s film also shows how these iconic bands all were influenced by the Beatles and went on to influence the Beatles themselves. It was a time in Laurel Canyon when being part of a great band was the most significant thing you could do as an artist, that pure moment before everyone went solo in the ’70s. The canyon jammed with unparalleled creativity and collaboration inspiring these neighbors to create some of the most influential music in history.
“Andy’s film charts, with an insider’s eye, a very specific moment in pop music history whose ambition and joy still reverberates with contemporary musicians and audiences,” Greenwich co-managing director Ed Arent said. “Echo will be a richly nostalgic experience for some and an exciting discovery for others.”
Added producer-director Slater: “Jakob Dylan and I could not be more excited to be partnering with Ed Arentz and Greenwich Entertainment to bring this film to a theatrical audience. The story of the bands of Laurel Canyon — before the onset of psychedelia and the era of the singer-songwriter — is filled with some of the most influential music of our time. Bringing two generations of artists together to interpret that music and tell that story was a labor of love. We know that Ed and his team understand the spirit in which this film was made – and we know we have found the right partner for Echo in the Canyon.”
Submarine’s Braun negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers with Arentz.