2017 Sundance Docs in Focus: LONG STRANGE TRIP

long strange tripLONG STRANGE TRIP
Amir Bar-Lev offers a history of the legendary counterculture band the Grateful Dead.

Festival Section:
Documentary Premieres

Sundance Program Description:

The tale of the Grateful Dead is inspiring, complicated, and downright messy. A tribe of contrarians, they made art out of open-ended chaos and inadvertently achieved success on their own terms. Never-before-seen footage and interviews offer this unprecedented and unvarnished look at the life of the Dead.

Some Background:

  • Amir Bar-Lev
    Past Sundance docs:

    HAPPY VALLEY (2014)
    TROUBLE THE WATER (2008, co-producer)

    The Emmy Award-winning Bar-Lev has had a long association with Sundance, having also received Institute support for his directorial debut, FIGHTER.


  • Eric Eisner
    This is the Double E Pictures first Sundance documentary credit, but he previously produced the Sundance narrative feature alum HAMLET 2 (2008). The son of former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, he is also on the board of the philanthropic Eisner Foundation.

  • Alex Blavatnik
    This is the Warner Music Group director’s first Sundance credit, via his AOMA Sunshine Films.

  • Nick Koskoff
    This is also Koskoff’s first film at the festival. The television producer is the son of legendary television producer and talent agent Bernie Brillstein.

  • Justin Kreutzmann
    This is Kreutzmann’s first Sundance project. The son of Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann, he has had a long career as a filmmaker, often focusing on music subjects.

  • Ken Dornstein
    Past Sundance docs:


    Dornstein is an Emmy Award-winner with a long affiliation with PBS’s Frontline series.

Executive Producers:

  • Martin Scorsese
    Past Sundance docs:

    LIFE ITSELF (2014)
    THE BLUES (2003, director/executive producer)

    The acclaimed director has also made several music documentaries on other legendary musicians, including George Harrison, Bob Dylan, The Band, and the Rolling Stones, via his Sikelia Productions banner.

  • Emma Tillinger Koskoff
    Past Sundance docs:

    THE BETRAYAL: NERAKHOON (2008, associate producer)

    The Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning Sikelia Productions exec has produced several of Scorsese’s films, fiction and nonfiction alike, including his most recent, SILENCE. Producer Nick Koskoff is her husband.

  • Tom Mangan
    This is Mangan’s first Sundance credit.

  • Alicia Sams
    This is Emmy Award-winner Sams’ first Sundance documentary credit, but she previously executive produced narrative feature alum AMREEKA (2009).

  • Rick Yorn
    This is the first Sundance credit for the noted talent agent and co-founder of Artists Management Group. He has executive produced several of Scorsese’s recent films.

  • Andy Heller and Sandy Heller
    This is the Heller brothers first Sundance film. Andrew has been a hedge fund executive, while Sanford, an art consultant.

  • Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, and Bill Kreutzmann
    The Grateful Dead musicians take their first Sundance credit with this doc.


  • Keith Fraase
    This is Fraase’s first Sundance credit. He has cut several of Terrence Malik’s recent films.

  • John Walter
    Past Sundance docs:

    HOW TO DRAW A BUNNY (2002, director/editor, Documentary Special Jury Prize winner)

Why You Should Watch:
Bar-Lev has been angling to make this film for over a decade, and the passion comes through in his epic, nearly four-hour-long chronicle featuring rare performance, behind-the-scenes, and interview footage; a consideration of the Deadhead fan subculture; and the unforgettable personalities that made up the Grateful Dead.

More Info:
For Sundance screening dates and times, click the film title in the first paragraph.

To experience the festival through the eyes of this year’s filmmakers, follow my Sundance 2017 Twitter list.


Leave a comment

Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.