Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band

Audacious Choice:

Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band, the highly anticipated music documentary, will be the opening-night at the 2019 Toronto Film Fest.

The film will premiere on Thursday, September 5 at Roy Thomson Hall, kicking off the annual 11-day showcase for more than 200 films.

It will be the first Canadian-made docu to open the festival, and the first music-related film since Davis Guggenheim’s U2 doc “From the Sky Down” had premiered on opening night in 2011.

The executive producers of the high-profile docu are Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, and Scorsese, who previously directed the beloved Band concert doc “The Last Waltz” in 1978.

Inspired by Robertson’s 2016 memoir, “Testimony,” the film tells the story of Robertson’s personal journey as he overcame adversity and found camaraderie alongside the four other men who would become his brothers in music, and who together made their mark on music history.

“Once Were Brothers” will feature rare archival footage, photography, iconic songs, and interviews with many of Robertson’s friends and collaborators, including Scorsese, Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Peter Gabriel, Taj Mahal, Dominique Robertson, and Ronnie Hawkins.

Robertson first gained acclaim when he backed Bob Dylan during his 1966 electric world tour, later collaborating with the singer and songwriter on his groundbreaking ​Basement Tapes​.

He then joined The Band, best known for the hits “The Weight,” “Up on Cripple Creek,”​ ​and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.”

“This is one of Toronto’s great stories of a hometown hero,” said Bailey, Artistic Director & Co-Head, in an official statement. “From his early years in this city, to the inspiration he took from life on the Six Nations reserve, to the impact he’s had on generations of music lovers, Robertson emerges in Roher’s film as a truly Canadian-made superstar.”