Sony Pictures Classics Picks Up Frank Marshall & Ryan Suffern Documentary ‘Jazz Fest: A New Orleans Story’

EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures Classics has taken all global rights to the documentary Jazz Fest: A New Orleans Story co-directed by five-time Oscar nominee Frank Marshall and Ryan Suffern (Finding Oscar). Marshall recently directed the HBO documentary The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart which is in consideration for this Emmy season.

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell, aka “Jazz Fest,” is the signature annual music and cultural event of the Louisiana city and has been called America’s greatest festival. Celebrating the music, food, and arts and crafts of all of Louisiana since 1970, Jazz Fest is an essential showcase of the rich heritage of the region, and hundreds of thousands attend the event each year. Local music heroes are joined on 14 stages by some of the most important figures in entertainment, highlighting the connections between Louisiana culture and the world.

The docu weaves together live performances and interviews from the 50th anniversary of the iconic festival, featuring some of the biggest names in the music industry, along with a wealth of archival documentary footage from the past half century. This film also delves into the rich culture of The Big Easy.

Jazz Fest: A New Orleans Story is produced by Marshall, Suffern and Sean Stuart (The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash), executive produced by Quint Davis and Jimmy Buffett and features artists Bruce Springsteen, Jimmy Buffett, Katy Perry, Earth, Wind & Fire, and many others.

Marshall said, “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Sony Pictures Classics to bring Jazz Fest to the big screen. With everything we’ve gone through this past year, our hope is that this documentary, celebrating one of the greatest music festivals in the world, will bring some much-needed joy and happiness to audiences everywhere.”

Marshall teamed with Sony Pictures Classics on the 2013 Alex Gibney documentary, The Armstrong Lie, which was nominated for a BAFTA. He received the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award from the Oscars in 2019, and he was nominated for five Best Picture Academy Awards for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Seabiscuit, The Sixth Sense, The Color Purple and Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Jazz Fest: A New Orleans Story is a masterpiece of storytelling, and joy. The Kennedy Marshall team has captured—as never seen before—the spirit, passion, and fun of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, while documenting the creation of the Festival with founder George Wein,” said Davis.

The deal was negotiated with ICM Partners on behalf of the filmmakers.

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation, Inc., is the nonprofit organization that owns the Festival. The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell is a co-production of Festival Productions, Inc.-New Orleans and AEG Presents.


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