Doc ‘George Michael Freedom Uncut’ Available on Digital

The documentary George Michael Freedom Uncut is available now on digital from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

In the deeply autobiographical feature documentary narrated by the late Grammy Award winner, Michael reveals openly and honestly the two distinct sides of his life: his very public music career and his private personal life that cameras never truly saw. Michael was heavily involved in and dedicated to the making of this documentary before his passing in 2016.

The film delves into the turbulent period after “Faith” leading up to, during and after the making of his “Listen Without Prejudice: Vol 1” album in 1990. At this pivotal period of his life, Michael is able to fight for his artistic freedom and lead the way for others. He meets his first real love, Anselmo Feleppa, and navigates both the heartbreak of Anselmo’s early tragic passing from an AIDS-related illness and the devastating loss of his mother.

The film is also a reminder of Michael’s musical genius during the Wham! years and throughout his solo career. It features duets with Michael’s favorite artists and explores how he influenced the cultural landscape of his generation as one of the world’s best-selling artists of all time.

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Interwoven with exclusive, personal archival footage, the release includes never-seen-before footage from one of the most iconic videos in music history, “Freedom! ’90,” directed by Oscar-nominated David Fincher. 

The documentary will be available for the first time to audiences worldwide in 4K.

Music Doc ‘Where Are You, Jay Bennett?’ Due on Blu-ray April 19, DVD With Vinyl Albums April 23 From MVD

The feature-length documentary Where Are You, Jay Bennett?, on the renown multi-instrumentalist and recording studio savant, will have its Blu-ray Disc and pay-per-view release on April 19 from MVD Entertainment Group.

Four days later on April 23, it will have a “Record Store Day” release featuring the film on DVD along with Bennett’s last two albums Kicking at the Perfumed Air and Whatever Happened I Apologize available for the first time on vinyl.

As a member of Wilco, Bennett was a large part of the genius behind their three seminal albums. He joined the band prior to the recording of their second album Being There and subsequently co-wrote most of Summerteeth and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot with Jeff Tweedy (and has been called the sonic architect of both albums). Bennett was also instrumental in the recording of the Mermaid Avenue/Woody Guthrie sessions with Billy Bragg, and went on to a critically acclaimed solo career before dying tragically at the age of 45.

Directors Gorman Bechard and Fred Uhter use a mixture of audio interviews with Bennett, never-before-seen performance footage, animation, and extensive interviews with those who knew him best to give an account of the artist’s life. The offers a look at the other side of the narrative that had been created in the media once Bennett had been asked to leave the band.

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“At the time of his firing, Jay’s behavior was cast in a negative light. But there are always two sides to every story,” Bechard said in a statement. “In this film, we show just how instrumental Jay was to Wilco’s brilliance. How Bennett and Tweedy together truly were one of the greatest collaborative teams in rock history, but also how they were both perfectionists who needed to push boundaries. Ultimately, that was simply not sustainable in a band setting.”

The film, funded completely through KickStarter, is an insight into a piece of American musical history exploring Bennett’s life, his influences, his art, his obsessions, his vices, music, recording, and Wilco and their unfortunate split.

“The animation by Ed Gendron brings to life these amazing interviews with Jay,” Uhter said in a statement. “To be able to hear his voice, to have Jay himself tell his side of the story, talk about how records were made, and what role he played, it’s a priceless piece of music history.”

Bechard is the filmmaker behind 2011’s Color Me Obsessed, a Film About the Replacements.

Doc ‘Summer of Soul’ Available Digitally and on DVD Feb. 8

The documentary Summer of Soul will be released through digital retailers and on DVD Feb. 8 from Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution.

Summer of Soul premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award. The documentary also won the AFI Special Award, six awards at the Critics Choice Awards, and Best Documentary awards with NBR and LAFCA. The film is also nominated for the PGA and Spirit Awards.

It is streaming on Hulu in conjunction with Disney General Entertainment’s Onyx Collective; Searchlight Pictures released it theatrically.

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Director Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson presents a documentary that is part music film, part historical record created around an event that celebrated Black history, culture and fashion. Over the course of six weeks in the summer of 1969, just 100 miles south of Woodstock, The Harlem Cultural Festival was filmed in Mount Morris Park (now Marcus Garvey Park). The footage was largely forgotten until now. The feature includes concert performances by Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sly & the Family Stone, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Mahalia Jackson, B.B. King, The 5th Dimension and more.

Bonus features include audio commentary with Thompson, a making-of featurette, and “Harlem: Then & Now,” in which viewers revisit Mount Morris Park, location of the Harlem Cultural Festival.

‘Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends’ Available for Digital Rental and Purchase From Sony Music and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends, a new two-hour film composed of archival interviews, promotional videos and documentary shorts on the legendary artist’s career, is available now for digital purchase and rental from Sony Music Entertainment and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Five other film titles from the Bob Dylan catalog also are available for digital download and rental, including Bob Dylan: Trouble No More — A Musical Film, The Other Side of the Mirror: Bob Dylan Live at the Newport Folk Festival 1963-1965, Bob Dylan: The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration, Bob Dylan: MTV Unplugged, and the comedy/drama Masked and Anonymous, in which Dylan stars as Jack Fate, a singer coerced into making a comeback performance at a shady benefit concert event.

The new compilation tells the stories of some of the most important moments in Dylan’s career, featuring rare promotional films, videos and behind-the-scenes footage.

The release highlights a distribution collaboration between the Sony companies for long-form content, documentaries and concert films from artists in the Sony Music catalog across multiple digital platforms.

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“Bob Dylan has one of the most iconic catalogs in music history and we are honored to bring it to life,” Tom Mackay, president, premium of content A&R for Sony Music Entertainment said in a statement. “With Sony Pictures, we are giving fans an exclusive inside look at rare, revealing moments from his career. Because of our collaboration, this sort of creative achievement was made easier by combining the unique talent and resources of our two global companies. That partnership offers all of our artists the ideal platform to tell their stories and reach their fans around the world.”

“We are thrilled to team up with Sony Music on this distribution collaboration to bring music fans worldwide great video experiences from some of the most renowned artists in SME’s catalog,” said Jason Spivak, EVP of distribution for North America television and home entertainment at Sony Pictures Entertainment. “Bob Dylan is one of the most influential musicians of our time with a global fanbase. We could not be more excited to give his fans an inside look at his career through Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends.”

‘Khalid: Free Spirit’ Album Companion Film Due on Digital April 6 From Sony

Khalid: Free Spirit, a companion film to the multi-platinum recording artist’s album, will be available for digital purchase and rental April 6 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

In this creative parallel to Khalid’s platinum album Free Spirit, Khalid and award-winning music video director Emil Nava expand on Khalid’s lyrics and artistry on the album to create a visual story of love, loss and the pain of growing up.

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The cast includes Khalid Robinson, Dizzy Fae, Judah Lang, Jahking Guillory, Estefania Preciado, Bianca Leonor Quinones, Maverick McConnell, Diamond White and Ed Gathegi.

The film also includes never-before-seen outtakes.

Doc ‘Buster Williams Bass to Infinity’ Due on Digital March 16 From Virgil

The documentary Buster Williams Bass to Infinity will come out on digital March 16 from Virgil Films.

Jazz musician Buster Williams has played with everyone, from Sarah Vaughan to Miles Davis, Nancy Wilson, Art Blakey, Rahsaan Roland Kirk and others. In this documentary, viewers join Williams as he tells stories about his life and the lives of other great jazz musicians, and is joined by, and plays with, some of the greatest living contributors to this music — Benny Golson, Herbie Hancock, Rufus Reid, Christian McBride, Larry Willis, Carmen Lundy, Kenny Barron and Lenny White.

Buster Williams Bass to Infinity is a film about a great contributor to America’s greatest art form, and many other greats — those mentioned above, as well as Monk, Trane and Paul Chambers.

The trailer is here.

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Music Doc ‘Mean Man: The Story of Chris Holmes’ Due on Disc Jan. 15 From MVD

The music documentary Mean Man: The Story of Chris Holmes will come out on Blu-ray and DVD Jan. 15 from MVD Entertainment Group and Cleopatra Entertainment.

It’s the story of an iconic guitar player who has lived a life of extreme highs and lows. After losing the publishing rights to his own songs and combatting dangerous addictions, the legendary W.A.S.P. guitarist is shown starting over from scratch while living at his mother-in-law’s in Cannes, France. He is now ready to take on Europe with his new band. As the documentary follows him, he meets many fans, proving he still is the showman he was as a young and famous rockstar. This musical journey chronicles the rise, fall and rebirth of Holmes with archives, live performances and interviews.

Bonus features include behind-the-scenes extras and a slide show.

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‘Garth Brooks: The Road I’m On’ Travels to DVD May 5 from Lionsgate

Garth Brooks: The Road I’m On arrives on DVD May 5 from Lionsgate.

The documentary offers an intimate look at the moments that have defined the country star’s life and career. Following the Grammy Award winner both in his hometown and on tour, Garth Brooks: The Road I’m On explores his rise to fame and some of his personal struggles along the way. It also features in-depth interviews with Brooks, singers Trisha Yearwood and Keith Urban, as well as commentary from artists George Strait, Billy Joel and James Taylor, among others.

The documentary comes from the A&E Biography franchise.

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Remembering ‘We Are the World’

Participants, family and fans gathered Jan. 28 at Studio “A” at Henson Studios (formerly A&M Records and the original Charlie Chaplin Studios) on La Brea Avenue in Hollywood, Calif., to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the recording of the song “We Are the World,” which over the years has raised millions to feed the hungry. The event will be commemorated by a plaque to be placed at the studio. The plaque reads, “In January 28, 1985, 45 superstar recording artists checked their egos at this door and joined together as one to record ‘We Are the World.’ 35 years later, the people’s anthem they created has raised over $100 million for USA for Africa. The song still lends a helping hand.” (L-R) “We Are the World” producer Ken Kragen, Gina Belafonte (daughter of “We Are the World” organizer/artist Harry Belafonte), singer Dionne Warwick, and USA for Africa’s Lloyd Greig.

Music Films ‘Martin Barre’ and ‘Bluebird,’ Biopic ‘Mrs. Lowry & Son’ Available on Disc From MVD and Cleopatra

Two music films, Martin Barre — Live in NYC and Bluebird, and a biopic on artist L.S. Lowry are just out on disc from MVD Entertainment Group and Cleopatra Entertainment.

Martin Barre, best-known as the guitarist in Jethro Tull, one of the biggest selling bands of all time, brings his famous guitar chops to the Big Apple in this rare concert in Martin Barre — Live in NYC. Available on DVD with two audio CDs of the entire concert, the deluxe collector’s edition comes in an eight-panel digipak. The titles covers his solo band live as they rock through the classic hits that earned him a reputation as one of the signature axemen of his era.

Bluebird, available on Blu-ray and DVD, chronicles the origins of megastars such as Garth Brooks and Taylor Swift while following emerging singer-songwriters as they chase their dreams inside The Bluebird Cafe, Nashville’s accidental landmark that has altered the course of music history. Its 35-year history is revealed through never-before-told stories from those that have worked, played, been discovered and helped preserve this unassuming strip-mall haunt. The film, an official selection at SXSW (2019), the Nashville Film Festival (2019) and the Newport Beach Film Festival (2019),  features interviews with Swift, Sam Hunt, Maren Morris, Faith Hill, Brooks, Trisha Yearwood and Vince Gill along with the stars of the hit TV series “Nashville.”

Mrs. Lowry & Son, available on DVD, chronicles the life of British artist L.S. Lowry (Timothy Spall), who lived all his life with his overbearing mother Elizabeth (Vanessa Redgrave). Bed-ridden and bitter, Elizabeth actively tried to dissuade her bachelor son from pursuing his artistic ambitions, whilst never failing to voice her opinion at what a disappointment he was to her.