Richard Guardian's new international sales outfit Lightning Entertainment has acquired international distribution rights in all media for the new music documentary Standing In The Shadows Of Motown to which Artisan Entertainment recently bought domestic distribution rights.
Based upon the 1989 book of the same title by Allan Slutsky, the film chronicles the reunion of the Funk Brothers, a group of jazz and blues musicians recruited by Berry Gordy in the early years of Motown. The Funk Brothers invented the distinctive 'Motown sound' and played with Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations and Stevie Wonder.
The documentary will open in North America in late summer and Artisan is currently in negotiations for a soundtrack album deal. Artisan is hoping to repeat the success of its 2000 documentary and soundtrack Buena Vista Social Club.
The film is directed by veteran rock video director Paul Justman and narrated by Andre Braugher. It tells the story of the Funk Brothers through interviews, still photos, vintage and recent footage with 20 Motown master tracks. It also includes 12 new live performances of Motown classics by artists such as Chaka Khan, Joan Osborne, Ben Harper, Meshell Ndegeocello, Bootsy Collins, Montel Jordan and Gerald Levert.
The deal for Lightning was negotiated by Guardian and the film's producers' rep Jonathan Dana who also served as consulting producer on the film, which ius produced by Sandy Passman, Slutsky and Justman. Executive producers are Paul Elliott and David Scott.
Standing In The Shadows Of Motown is the second film to be announced prior to Cannes by Lightning after James Coburn-starrer American Gun.