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Magnolia Buys Toronto Festival Opener ‘Once Were Brothers’

Magnolia Pictures has bought worldwide rights to “Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band” ahead of its world premiere at the Toronto Intl. Film Festival.

The film also marks the first time a Canadian-made documentary will open the festival. Directed by Daniel Roher and executive produced by Martin Scorsese and Ron Howard, the documentary tells the story of a band that went from backing up Bob Dylan to becoming one of the most influential groups of its era.

Magnolia is planning a theatrical release for early next year. The film is inspired by Robertson’s 2017 bestselling memoir “Testimony.” The film explores Robertson’s young life and the creation of The Band, which performed between 1968 and 1976. It includes archival footage and interviews with many of Robertson’s friends and collaborators, including Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Scorsese, 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,” said Magnolia president Eamonn Bowles. “Daniel Roher has fashioned a stirring tribute to a great American ensemble.”

The film is a co-production between Imagine Documentaries, White Pine Pictures, Bell Media Studios and Universal Music Canada’s Shed Creative. Magnolia will launch international sales at the Toronto festival.

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