Documentary on reggae legend set for April release

Magnolia Pictures has acquired U.S. rights to “Marley,” director Kevin Macdonald’s documentary about musician Bob Marley.

“Marley” will have its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival and its North American premiere at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas, in March.

Pic’s produced by Steve Bing via Shangri-La Entertainment and Charles Steel and exec produced by Bob’s son Ziggy Marley and Island Records founder Chris Blackwell. Marley recorded most of his music on Island from 1972 until his death in 1981.

The film will open in theaters on April 20, launching day and date with all VOD and digital platforms.

VH1 has come onboard to license the first TV window for the film as part of its VH1 Rock Doc franchise.

“Marley” is touted as the first film for which the reggae music pioneer’s family has authorized the use of their own private archives. Macdonald came on to the project a year ago. His credits include docus “One Day in September” and “Touching the Void.”

The authorized docu has been in the works since early 2008, when Martin Scorsese announced he’d direct it as a follow-up to his Rolling Stones concert pic “Shine a Light,” but he subsequently dropped out due to scheduling. Jonathan Demme took over the project but also dropped out.

“This documentary is the ultimate revelation of my father’s life,” said Ziggy Marley. “The family is proud to be able to have the world finally experience this emotional journey.”

The deal was negotiated for Magnolia by senior VP of acquisitions Dori Begley and head of business affairs Chris Matson and for VH1 by Ben Zurier and Brad Abramson with Liesl Copland of WME Global on behalf of the filmmakers.

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