Joan Jett

BMG's debut documentary Bad Reputation to premiere at Sundance

BMG’s first feature-length documentary, Bad Reputation, a film on Joan Jett, has been confirmed to make its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January.

BMG is both financier and executive producer of the film, the first feature-length documentary project in a strategic move of the integrated record label and music publishing company into music-related films and TV production.

Bad Reputation explores the life of rock ‘n’ roll legend Joan Jett from her early days as founder of The Runaways and first meeting with collaborator Kenny Laguna to her enduring presence in pop culture as a rock ‘n’ roll pioneer.

Director is Kevin Kerslake (As I AM: The Life and Times of DJ AM, Nirvana Live! Tonight! Sold Out!), Editor – Joel Marcus, Producers – Peter Afterman and Carianne Brinkman, Film Sales – Dan Braun, Submarine Entertainment, who also executive produced Bad Reputation.

BMG SVP, Justus Haerder, spearheading BMG’s move into film and TV, said, “We have been pretty successful so far in keeping BMG’s strategic move into audiovisual production under wraps. Bad Reputation being selected for Sundance kind of blows the lid on that, but we are incredibly excited and proud. Joan Jett is an American icon and Kevin Kerslake has created a superb documentary which really captures her story.”

Haerder leads a four-person team. Based in BMG’s Los Angeles office it includes Director, Audiovisual, Kathy Rivkin-Daum, also serving as Executive Producer of Bad Reputation; Senior Manager, Audiovisual, William Kennedy and SVP, Audiovisual, Joe Thomas based in Chicago. The team is also supported by longtime industry veteran Bob Frank. Haerder has been working since 2014 to advance BMG’s move into developing and financing music-related film and TV content.

BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch said, “Be in no doubt: this is a strategic move. From YouTube to the rise of the music documentary to the increasing emphasis of Spotify and Apple Music on video content, technology is transforming music into a visual medium. These are early days, but increasingly we expect video content to develop into a formidable addition to BMG’s strategic offering to artists and songwriters alongside music publishing and recordings.”

The scope of the new business unit includes everything from feature-length documentaries to narrative features, concerts, scripted and unscripted series, both long and short-form.

The company has revealed three feature-length music documentaries in production in addition to Bad Reputation, all three represented by Submarine:

  • The Show’s The Thing (working title) - A documentary about the legendary promoters and agents who built the rock concert touring business. From a “wild west” culture in the ‘60s to a corporate take-over in the ‘90s, this story celebrates a little-known chapter of rock history. Executive Producers David Simone, Steve Martin and Winston Simone. Directed by Molly Bernstein and Philip Dolin.
  • The Children of The Revolution - A documentary film celebrating the music of T. Rex with a behind-the-scenes immersion into the making of a new album featuring Marc Bolan's songs. Produced by Bill Curbishley and Ethan Silverman.
  • Rudeboy: The Story of Trojan Records(working title) - Produced by Pulse Films, directed by Nicolas Jack Davies – a celebration of the music, history and cultural legacy of the pioneering British record label instrumental in introducing ska, rocksteady and reggae to a global audience (Jimmy Cliff, Toots And The Maytals, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry’s The Upsetters) to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of Trojan Records, whose catalogue is owned by BMG.

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