Lee Morgan Documentary ‘I Called Him Morgan’ Bought by FilmRise

FilmRise has acquired worldwide distribution rights to Swedish director Kasper Collin’s Lee Morgan documentary “I Called Him Morgan.”

The documentary made its world premiere at the 2016 Venice International Film Festival, then screened at the Toronto, Telluride and New York film festivals. “I Called Him Morgan” will be released theatrically by FilmRise in partnership with Submarine Deluxe in March.

Guy Lodge said in his Venice review for Variety: “It’s fitting that Kasper Collin’s excellent documentary “I Called Him Morgan,” a sleek, sorrowful elegy for the prodigiously gifted, tragically slain bop trumpeter Lee Morgan, is as much a visual and textural triumph as it is a gripping feat of reportage.

The film chronicles the tragic life story of jazz musician Lee Morgan, who was shot and killed by his common-law wife Helen in 1972 while performing at a club in New York City. He began playing the trumpet alongside John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey as a teenager and scored a major hit in 1964 with “The Sidewinder.”

Two decades after Morgan’s death and shortly before her own, Helen Morgan gave an illuminating interview about the couple’s ill-fated relationship. That interview provides the foundation for Collin’s narrative, which also weaves together never-before-seen interviews with some of the men who shared the stage.

The film was presented to exhibitors at ArtHouse Convergence recently in Utah. Collin also produced; co-producers are Emelie Persson and Ami Ekström; and executive producers are Ron Mann, Nicole Stott, and Dan Braun.

The film’s cinematographer Bradford Young recently earned an Academy Award nomination for his work on “Arrival.”

The deal was negotiated by Danny Fisher and Max Einhorn with Dan Braun and Ben Braun of Submarine, representing the producers. Canadian rights were sold to Films We Like and Scandinavian/Baltics went to NonStop Entertainment.

The film is screening at the European Film Market in Berlin, where Submarine is selling the UK and other select territories.

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