“Linda and the Mockingbirds,” a documentary about Linda Ronstadt making a journey to Mexico to explore her musical roots there, has been picked up for worldwide rights by Shout! Studios, the distribution and production division of the Shout! Factory home video company.
The film was originally slated to premiere at the Telluride Film Festival over Labor Day weekend. Shout! is promising that the doc will be out later in 2020 via various distribution platforms.
In a follow-up to last year’s Ronstadt documentary “The Sound of My Voice,” “Linda and the Mockingbirds” narrows in on a road trip undertaken by Ronstadt, Jackson Browne and a group of younger musicians made to the Mexican town of Banámichi in the state of Sonora, the birthplace of Ronstadt’s beloved grandfather.
It’s said to deal with border politics, racism and other personal or hot-buttontopics affecting Ronstadt’s and Browne’s companions on the trip: the instructors and students of Los Cenzontles, a school and studio based in San Pablo, California dedicated to the promotion of Mexican roots music.
“Mockingbirds” was directed as well as produced by actor-turned-filmmaker James Keach, who also produced the earlier “Sound of My Voice.”
“It has been an honor to create a second documentary with Linda Ronstadt, whom I love and admire,” Keach said in a statement. “Crossing the border on this musical journey to Mexico with Linda, Jackson Browne and the young musicians of Los Cenzontles opened the minds and hearts of all of us working on the film. I hope it will open the minds and hearts of everyone who sees it.”
Keach’s other music-doc credits including executive-producing the recent “David Crosby: Remember My Name” and directing and producing 2014’s “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me.” As a producer he was instrumental in getting the Johnny Cash biopic “Walk the Line” made as well.
In announcing the film, Shout! said that it was at Ronstadt’s request that Keach embarked on making a second film that would focus on her relationship with the Los Cenzontles Cultural Arts Academy. Ronstadt has been known for her associations with Mexican music ever since she interrupted her pop career in 1987 to release “Canciones De Mi Padre,” a labor of love that unexpectedly became a commercial success and was certified double-platinum.
The announcement was made by Shout! founder-CEOs Bob Emmer and Garson Foos. Alex Exline is a producer on the project along with Keach; Nion McEvoy, Alexandra Komisaruk and Michele Farinola are executive producers. Keach’s PCH Films spearheaded the project.
Shout!’s Jeffrey Peisch (who negotiated the deal along with the company’s business affairs VP Steven Katz and the filmmakers’ rep, Julie Dansker) said that “the film beautifully blends multiple stories, focusing on Linda Ronstadt’s Mexican-American roots, celebrating the music and culture of Mexico and offering a passionate and personal story about immigration.”