UPDATED: “Moonage Daydream,” a David Bowie historical film featuring a bounty of previously unreleased footage and helmed by Brett Morgen, the director behind “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck,” “Jane” and “The Kid Stays in the Picture,” will be distributed in the U.S. by Neon and internationally by Universal Pictures Content Group, with a streaming premiere on HBO and HBO Max in the spring of 2023. Variety broke the news of the project, which was financed by Live Nation and BMG, last November.
While no theatrical release date has been announced for the film — the first to be officially sanctioned by Bowie’s estate — sources tell Variety that it is likely to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival next month, the lineup for which is scheduled to be announced Thursday. (UPDATE: Confirmed, it will have a midnight screening at Cannes.)
While the announcement sheds little light on what the film will actually be, it does note that Morgen was given “unfiltered access to Bowie’s personal archives and … unearthed hundreds of hours of never-before seen 35mm and 16mm footage, and was able to assemble the performances from these original camera masters. Accordingly, all of the performances presented in the film will appear for the first time.” It adds that some 48 Bowie compositions appear in the film. A rep for BMG, which has a 25% stake in Bowie’s song catalog from 1970 through 1977, confirms that songs cleared for the film include ‘Changes’, ‘Starman’, ‘Ziggy Stardust’, ‘The Jean Genie’, ‘All The Young Dudes’, ‘Life on Mars’, ‘Rebel Rebel’, ‘Fame’, ‘Young Americans’ and ‘Golden Years.’
In November, a source close to the production described the film to Variety as “neither documentary nor biography, but an immersive cinematic experience built, in part, upon thousands of hours of never before seen material.”
How that material will be presented is less clear. Some five years in the making, it is described as a “feature-length experiential cinematic odyssey that explores Bowie’s creative, musical and spiritual journey. Told through sublime, kaleidoscopic, never-before-seen footage, performances, and music, the film is guided by Bowie’s narration.” It adds that in 2017, Bowie’s estate granted Morgen “unfiltered access to Bowie’s personal archives, including all master recordings, to create an artful and life-affirming film that takes the audience on a journey through Bowie’s creative life. Morgen has constructed a sublime cinematic experience that will provide audiences with unrestricted access to Bowie’s personal archives.”
“Moonage Daydream” was written, directed, edited, and produced by Morgen. Executive producers are Hartwig Masuch, Kathy Rivkin-Daum, and Justus Haerder for BMG; Michael Rapino, Heather Parry, and Ryan Kroft for Live Nation Productions; Bill Zysblat, Tom Cyrana, Aisha Cohen, and Eileen D’Arcy from RZO; Billy Gerber, and Debra Eisenstadt. BMG and Live Nation Productions financed the film.
The music team includes Bowie’s long-time collaborator, friend and music producer Tony Visconti; Academy Award-winning sound mixer Paul Massey and David Giammarco; the sound design team of John Warhurst and Nina Hartstone; and VFX Producer Stefan Nadelman.
“Moonage Daydream” is the first film in a multi-picture deal between Brett Morgen and BMG for IMAX productions.