In celebration of the Grateful Dead’s 50th anniversary—the group first formed in 1965 in Palo Alto, California—the seminal band will be the subject of an authorized feature documentary. The currently untitled feature boasts a hell of a pedigree, as Amir Bar-Lev (this month’s Happy Valley, The Tillman Story) will direct the film, with Martin Scorsese on board to executive produce.
Deadline reports that the “film will include never-before-seen footage of performances and backstage stuff involving the band, as well as new interviews with surviving members Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh, and Bob Weir, as well as many other characters and pranksters from the Dead universe.” The film promises to provide a comprehensive look at the band and its story, starting with its ’60s formation in Northern California. The feature will reportedly chronicle the band’s later years, even after the death of Jerry Garcia in 1995. *Eats Cherry Garcia ice cream in remembrance.*
The film will doubtless be filled with lots of (totally authorized) jams, and the news that longtime audiovisual archivist David Lemieux (he’s worked in that capacity for the band since 1999) will be the feature’s music supervisor is quite heartening. The band seems pretty stoked about the film, and has already released a statement:
“Millions of stories have been told about the Grateful Dead over the years. With our 50th Anniversary coming up, we thought it might just be time to tell one ourselves and Amir is the perfect guy to help us do it. Needless to say, we are humbled to be collaborating with Martin Scorsese. From The Last Waltz to George Harrison: Living In The Material World, from Bob Dylan to the Rolling Stones, he has made some of the greatest music documentaries ever with some of our favorite artists and we are honored to have him involved. The 50th will be another monumental milestone to celebrate with our fans and we cannot wait to share this film with them.”
Hey, they’ve got a point.
The Dead have been the subject of numerous rock docs and concert videos over the years, including 1977’s The Grateful Dead Movie, 1980’s Grateful Dead: Dead Ahead, and 1990’s Grateful Dead: View From The Vault. This year’s Tribeca Film Festival featured a different kind of Dead doc, hosting the world premiere of Mike Fleiss’ Other One: The Long, Strange Trip of Bob Weir, which focused on the band’s youngest member. Bar-Lev’s film, however, will be the first to focus on the similarly long, strange trip of the entire merry band of pranksters. Rock on, everyone.