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BB King doc lands UK deal; Brewer readies Nat King Cole, Slash films

EXCLUSIVE: GFM Films has sold UK rights to G2 Pictures for BB King: The Life of Riley.

The deal was signed after a market screening on Friday evening. G2 plans an autumn theatrical release.

Jon Brewer, the director and producer of the King feature documentary, is planning two new music-themed projects about Nat King Cole and Slash.

The first is Magic Window, a feature-length documentary about Nat King Cole, which is already at a rough edit stage and being readied for a 2013 launch.

The film will include two songs recently discovered in EMI’s vaults. There was a mislabelled tape found that included two songs that have never been released – one called Magic Window and the other of Cole signing with his then-six-year-old daughter Natalie. Brewer, who interviewed Natalie and Cole’s 92-year-old widow, said: “They were one of the most important black families in America. He was a beacon.”

He is also making Slash, about the Guns N’ Roses guitarist, which will start shooting in the US in July. It is an unusual project that he describes as “a rock-and-roll film based on Alice in Wonderland…it’s a very off-the-wall movie.”

Slash will appear in the film, as well as sharing footage from his childhood, interweaved witha storyline an aspiring journalist finds Slash’s missing, treasured hat.

For BB King: The Life of Riley, Morgan Freeman narrates and interviewees include Bono, Bruce Willis, and Eric Clapton. The film even includes King jamming with President Obama just eight weeks ago. Brewer shot more than 200 hours of footage for the project. It covers not only King’s musical career but also the racist times he lived through in America.

Theatrical launches are planned in sold territories, with the director calling his film “very cinematic.”

Brewer and Laura Royko are the founders of UK-based media sales company Cardinal and production company Emperor, and he also used to run UK independent film distributor Avatar.

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