Toronto Opening-Night Film ‘Once Were Brothers’ Acquired By Magnolia Pictures

Once Were Brothers
Elliott Landy

Magnolia Pictures has acquired worldwide rights to Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band, Daniel Roher’s documentary that is set to launch the Toronto Film Festival tonight. Magnolia is planning a theatrical release for early in 2020.

Executive produced by Martin Scorsese, Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, the documentary tells the story of the seminal rock group that went from backing up Bob Dylan to becoming one of the most influential of its era.

Based mostly on Robertson’s 2017 memoir Testimony, the pic is being billed as a part-confessional, cautionary, and sometimes humorous tale of the lead singer’s young life and the evolution of the band. It featured rare archival footage and interviews with friends and collaborators including Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Taj Mahal, Peter Gabriel, David Geffen and Ronnie Hawkins.

“Being a longtime fan of The Band, Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band still held many surprises and information I didn’t know,” Magnolia president Eamonn Bowles said in a release Thursday announcing the deal. “Daniel Roher has fashioned a stirring tribute to a great American ensemble.”

Magnolia’s head of international sales Lorna Lee Torres and international sales manager Marie Zeniter will now launch international sales at TIFF, with all overseas rights available excluding Canada, where it will premiere as a Crave Original. The deal was negotiated by Magnolia’s Dori Begley and  John Von Thaden with Endeavor Content on behalf of the filmmakers.

TIFF runs through September 15.

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