Southern California’s reggae-punk pioneers Sublime have tapped two-time Academy Award-winning director Bill Guttentag (You Don’t Have to Die, Twin Towers) to write and direct a full-length documentary on the iconic band.
The band’s incredible story will be told in a dynamic way, weaving multiple story strands together from their humble beginnings and friendship to the journey that rocketed them into mainstream success. The film will focus on the story of the music, their dedicated fans, the battle with personal demons, the tragic loss of lead singer Bradley Nowell and the path to healing. It will aim to connect to the devoted fans while simultaneously being a way in for the newly initiated, bringing the music and their story alive.
Targeted for a theatrical release in 2018, the documentary will be written and directed by Guttentag and created with the full cooperation of the Sublime members and the Nowell Estate. The film is set to begin production immediately. Guttentag will produce, along with Peter Paterno, Sublime managers Dave Kaplan and Scott Seine (DKM/Surfdog), and Nayeema Raza.
The filmmakers will be granted unprecedented access to Sublime’s archives including rare music and never-before-seen footage. The film’s soundtrack will include cuts from the band’s catalog and feature rare, unreleased gems, as well as music from the era and songs that were influential in molding the band’s sound.
Sublime, who are currently celebrating the 25th anniversary of their seminal album 40oz. to Freedom, decided it was the right time to tell the real story behind the music, the band and the lore.
Bud Gaugh from Sublime says, “I can’t wait to hand deliver our story to our fans. It has been a long-time coming and now there are literally two more generations of fans who never had the opportunity to see us perform, or don’t know the whole story. I am excited to work with Bill Guttentag, as I am a big fan of his work as well.”
“Most legendary bands have an intriguing history, but few have a story equal to Sublime’s mix of struggle, daring, musical pioneering, love, triumph, intense tragedy, and cultural impact,” says Sublime’s manager Dave Kaplan. “We searched long and hard for the right person to tell this story, and we were very lucky that someone as fiercely talented and credentialed as Bill Guttentag was passionate to come on board to captain the ship for the first official Sublime documentary.”
Bill Guttentag (writer/director):
“Sublime is an iconic band — and I feel honored to be directing this film. Few bands have had the enduring, electrifying appeal of Sublime. With our film we hope to bring Sublime’s amazing story and incredible music to their long-time devoted fans, and also connect to a new generation — who have also embraced their singular, powerful sound.”
Sublime, the Long Beach, CA, reggae-punk/alternative rock trio, was founded in 1988 by Eric Wilson, Bud Gaugh and Bradley Nowell. Their first self-produced album, 40oz. to Freedom, was released in1992 via the band’s label Skunk Records. The success of that album and heavy radio exposure by Southern California’s KROQ (two years after its initial release) secured Sublime signing to MCA Records in time for the band’s 1994 sophomore album, Robbin’ the Hood, which revealed an experimental ethic more in keeping with cut-and-paste dub than the well-tuned rage of the Cali punk revival. The album performed well at college radio and set the stage for the breakout success of their self-titled third album. On May 25, 1996, however, lead vocalist and guitarist Nowell tragically passed away and the band collapsed, but the eponymous SUBLIME was still slated for a July1996 release. On the strength of the chart-topping alternative radio hit “What I Got,” the album was certified gold by the end of 1996. “Santeria” and “Wrong Way” followed and enjoyed heavy airplay, and their self-titled album eventually sold more than seven million copies, making it one of the most popular reggae-punk albums in history. Such success spread to the band’s earlier albums too, leading 40oz.to Freedom to double-platinum sales and Robbin’ the Hood to gold certification. Sublime has gone on to sell 17 million records in the US, and their genre-defining music and their cultural influence is stronger today than ever before.
About Bill Guttentag
Bill Guttentag is a double Oscar-winning documentary and dramatic film writer-producer-director. His films include the theatrical documentaries Nanking (THINKFilm/Fortissimo), which premiered at Sundance and was shortlisted for an Oscar, and Soundtrack for a Revolution (Wild Bunch), which premiered at Cannes and was also shortlisted for an Oscar. His film Only the Dead See the End of War premiered at Telluride and then on HBO last year. His dramatic features include LIVE! starring Eva Mendes and Andre Braugher and Knife Fight starring Rob Lowe and Julie Bowen.
He won an Oscar for the documentary Twin Towers (Universal). He has received a second Oscar, three additional Oscar nominations, a Peabody Award, three Emmys, two WGA Award nominations, a PGA Award nomination, and a Robert Kennedy Journalism Award. His films have been selected for Sundance three times, Tribeca four times, and have won awards at numerous American and international film festivals. He created and executive produced (along with Dick Wolf) the NBC series Law and Order: Crime & Punishment, which ran for three seasons. Bill Guttentag has been a lecturer at Stanford University since 2001.