When news of an authorized Grateful Dead documentary first surfaced in October 2014, the hope was that it would debut in time for the legendary San Francisco band’s 50th anniversary celebration last year. Three months into the next year, not even a trailer of the Martin Scorsese produced film has been released, but some recent buzz makes it seem that the feature date is drawing nearer: the film will be previewed at April’s Asbury Park Music in Film Festival.
Although actual footage will not be shown, the film is to be previewed through a panel discussion including producers Eric Eisner and Justin Kreutzmann. As told to the Press Democrat last May, Kreutzmann said of the film’s release, “It will come out when it’s ready. It would be nice to hit the 50th anniversary, but making a better film is more important than trying to capitalize on the hype around that. We’re still editing. There’s so much great material, as you can imagine, to go through.” Co-producer Eisner added that the movie is meant to be a legacy piece that celebrates the band as a whole.
All remaining members of the Grateful Dead were interviewed for the documentary, along with lyricist Robert Hunter, frontman Jerry Garcia’s daughter Trixie Garcia, band manager Dennis McNally and longtime fan Sen. Al Franken, and the band’s archivist David Lemieux will supervise the film’s music. The second annual Asbury Park Music in Film Festival will take place April 8 to 10 in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Gillian Grisman’s Grateful Dawg (2000) documentary about pals David Grisman and Jerry Garcia will be screened at Asbury Park’s Paramount Theatre on Saturday, April 9.
In the meantime, check out The Other One: The Long Strange Trip of Bob Weir, a 2015 film that highlights his life and success as a band member, and the Dead and Company’s latest appearance on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon shown below.