2018 Sundance Docs in Focus: THE KING

Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by David Kuhn

THE KING
Eugene Jarecki reflects on the rise and fall of America through the story of Elvis Presley.

Festival Section:
Special Events

Sundance Program Description:

Forty years after the death of Elvis Presley, the new film from two-time Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize winner Eugene Jarecki takes the King’s 1963 Rolls-Royce on a musical road trip across the country Presley left behind. From the deep south to New York, Las Vegas, and beyond, a tapestry of luminaries and unknown Americans join the journey, expressing themselves in words and song.

With his singular cinematic brilliance, Jarecki paints a penetrating portrait of a nation in crisis and a metaphoric connection between Elvis and America. For just as a country boy lost his authenticity and became a king, so too his country lost her democracy and became an empire. One died on the toilet; the other now faces an uncertain future under the closest thing she’s ever had to a monarch.

The Sundance Film Festival is proud to be presenting THE KING’s North American premiere. An earlier version of the film premiered internationally at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival [under the title PROMISED LAND]. Following the screening, executive producer Steven Soderbergh will join Jarecki to discuss innovative strategies for the film’s 2018 release.

Some Background:
Director:

  • Eugene Jarecki
    Past Sundance docs:

    (T)ERROR (2015, executive producer)
    THE HOUSE I LIVE IN (2012, US Documentary Grand Jury Prize)
    REAGAN (2011)
    WHY WE FIGHT (2005, US Documentary Grand Jury Prize)

    In addition to his Emmy- and Peabody-winning film work, Jarecki is a Soros Justice Fellow at the Open Society Institute, a Senior Fellow at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies, and the author of THE AMERICAN WAY OF WAR: GUIDED MISSILES, MISGUIDED MEN, AND A REPUBLIC IN PERIL.

Producers:

  • Christopher St John
    Past Sundance docs:

    (T)ERROR
    THE HOUSE I LIVE IN
    REAGAN

    The Emmy-winning St John is a longtime producer at Jarecki’s Charlotte Street Films.

  • David Kuhn
    Past Sundance docs:

    Kuhn is a former public defender. In addition to producing, he serves as general counsel for Charlotte Street Films.

  • Christopher Frierson

    Frierson worked on the camera crew for previous films by Jarecki, including THE HOUSE I LIVE IN and the short THE CYCLIST.

  • Georgina Hill

    Hill has a background in PR with a focus on arts, culture, and societal impact. She has previously worked on campaigns for Jarecki’s THE HOUSE I LIVE IN and co-produced THE CYCLIST.

Co-Producers:

  • Manuel Chiche

    The co-founder of French genre distributor Wild Side was an executive producer of Sundance narrative feature alumni COLD IN JULY.

  • Shirel Kozak
    Past Sundance docs:

    (T)ERROR
    THE HOUSE I LIVE IN
    REAGAN (associate producer)

    Kozak is also a co-producer of 2018 Doc Premieres title ROBIN WILLIAMS: COME INSIDE MY MIND.

  • Andrew McLain

    Charlotte Street Films’ McLain previously associate produced THE CYCLIST.

Consulting Producers:

  • Peter Guralnick

    Guralnick is a music critic and author who has written extensively on the history of early rock ‘n’ roll, including several books on Elvis. This is his first Sundance credit.

  • Ethan Hawke

    The Oscar-nominated Hawke also wrote, directed, and produced the 2018 Sundance Premieres title BLAZE, and has appeared in numerous past Sundance films.

  • James Jaworowicz:

    The Memphis Memorabilia owner is a curator and appraiser with a speciality in rock music collectibles and artwork. This is his first Sundance project.

  • John Battsek
    Recent past Sundance docs:

    LEGION OF BROTHERS (2017)
    WE ARE X (2016)
    DRUNK STONED BRILLIANT DEAD (2015, executive producer)
    CHUCK NORRIS VS COMMUNISM (2015, executive producer)
    LISTEN TO ME MARLON (2015)

    Passion Pictures’ John Battsek also produced 2018 Sundance World Cinema Documentary Competition title WESTWOOD: PUNK, ICON, ACTIVIST and Doc Premieres title STUDIO 54.

Supervising Producer:

  • Melinda Shopsin
    Past Sundance docs:

    THE HOUSE I LIVE IN (producer)
    REAGAN (co-producer)

    The Emmy and Peabody-winning Shopsin is Charlotte Street Films’ VP of production.

Executive Producer:

  • Steven Soderbergh
    Past Sundance docs:

    ROMAN POLANSKI: WANTED AND DESIRED (2008)
    SYMBIOPSYCHOTAXIPLASM: TAKE 2 1/2 (2005)

    The Oscar-winning director has brought several of his past fiction films to Sundance, including most notably SEX, LIES, AND VIDEOTAPE (1989), as well as KAFKA (1992), and THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE (2009).

Editors:

  • Simon Barker
    Past Sundance docs:

    GOOGLE AND THE WORLD BRAIN (2013)
    PUSSY RIOT: A PUNK PRAYER (2013)
    THE HOUSE I LIVE IN (additional editing)
    REAGAN

  • Èlia Gasull Balada

    This marks Balada’s first Sundance credit.

  • Alex Bingham

    Bingham most recently edited the NYFF-debuting DON’T BLINK – ROBERT FRANK. This too marks her first Sundance project.

  • Laura Israel

    Israel has an extensive background in editing and directed DON’T BLINK – ROBERT FRANK and WINDFALL. This is the first Sundance project she has cut.

Why You Should Watch:
Jarecki puts a new spin on the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and his meaning for America – past, present, and future – in this unique and thought-provoking road trip across the country.

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

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

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