Academy Award®-winning director Spike Lee is signed on to direct a filmed version of the acclaimed Broadway show, David Byrne’s American Utopia. Participant, the leading media company dedicated to impact media and engagement toward positive social change, announced today that it will be the lead financier and executive producer for the project, which River Road Entertainment and Warner Music Group will also co-finance. The film will be produced by RadicalMedia, as well as David Byrne’s Todomundo and Lee’s Forty Acres and a Mule Filmworks production companies. Byrne, Lee and Participant’s Jeff Skoll, David Linde, and Diane Weyermann will executive produce; along with Warner Music Group’s David Bither, Charlie Cohen, and Kurt Deutsch; Bill Pohlad of River Road; and RadicalMedia’s Jon Kamen, Dave Sirulnick and Meredith Bennett. Kristin Caskey, Mike Isaacson and Patrick Catullo, who lead produced the Broadway production, will also serve as executive producers.
David Byrne’s American Utopia opened October 2019 and runs through February 16, 2020, at the Hudson Theatre, where it has played to sold-out, record-breaking houses. Weyermann will oversee the production for Participant. The film is planned for a 2020 release.
“Pinch me. This couldn’t have worked out better for this project,” Byrne said. “Spike Lee directing and Participant producing — two socially engaged teams, well, three if you count us in the band, coming together in what I feel will be something moving, important, and unlike anything anyone has seen before.”
“American Utopia is a true celebration from a great artist and a beautiful reminder to our nation that we are all born barefoot and wearing the same suit,” said Participant CEO David Linde. “We are incredibly excited to work with Mr. Byrne and the incomparable Spike Lee, along with RadicalMedia, River Road and Warner Music Group in bringing this one-of-a-kind event out of the theater to audiences around the world.”
“Stop Making Sense is one of the greatest music performance films ever,” said Jon Kamen, RadicalMedia CEO. “To have the opportunity to revisit the genius of David Byrne with American Utopia and produce a bookend film with Spike Lee and Ellen Kuras is a dream.”
David Byrne’s American Utopia will be an integral part of Participant’s 2020 social impact work, including efforts dedicated to civic engagement and democracy, both major themes in the production.