BMG, Fremantle Documentaries, and Warner Music Entertainment (WME) are working on their first collaborative feature film DEVO.
Currently in production, DEVO chronicles the story of the band Devo, from their formation in the aftermath of the Kent State massacre, through their years as politically driven outsiders, into their surprising turn to the top of the charts with their breakout hit, “Whip It.”
The upcoming full-length documentary will also be the first-ever fully authorised film on the New Wave/Rock group.
Produced by Vice Studios and Library Films in association with Mutato Entertainment, DEVO is directed by Chris Smith (“Sr.”, American Movie, Fyre, Tiger King, 100 Foot Wave) and produced by Anita Greenspan and Chris Holmes for Mutato Entertainment.
Executive producers are William Kennedy, Stuart Souter, and Kathy Rivkin Daum for BMG, Mandy Chang (Mystify: Michael Hutchence, Writing With Fire, The Fourth Estate, Welcome to Chechnya) for Fremantle Documentaries, and at Warner Music Group, Charlie Cohen for WME and Mark Pinkus for Rhino Entertainment.
Forming in 1973, Devo banded together initially as performance artists, disillusioned and radicalized by the shooting at Kent State where they were students. Their artistry was a commentary on corruption in the United States, the perceived “dumbing down” of an entire generation by mass media, and the commodification of a poisoned society.
With a mixture of archival footage, interviews from other characters in their orbit, and a range of storytelling techniques the film’s inventive narrative will parallel the revolutionary creativity the band is known for. Ultimately, DEVO explores Devo’s evolution from hippie artistes to art-rockers with a message, to their unexpected mainstream success as a hit rock band and the pioneers of the MTV age.
Director Chris Smith comments, “DEVO was a huge influence on me. Their approach to music, film, video, and art was something I had never seen before and was one of the truly formative artistic influences that showed me there were entirely new ways to look at things.”
Bertelsmann companies BMG and Fremantle Documentaries, and WME are executive producers and financiers of the film, with all rights available worldwide.
BMG’s recent films include the highest grossing documentary film of 2022, Moonage Daydream (HBO Max); DIO: Dreamers Never Die (Showtime), and two upcoming feature length documentaries including one on award-winning singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi: How I’m Feeling Now (Netflix); and Sundance selection Squaring the Circle (The Story of Hipgnosis), distributed by Utopia and helmed by acclaimed filmmaker Anton Corbijn.
Fremantle Documentaries is behind premium feature documentaries Mrs. America (Fremantle, Anonymous Content, Spinning Nancy), Kim’s Video (Fremantle, Carnivalesque Films) which had its world premiere at Sundance Film Festival in January, and fashion series Kingdom of Dreams from Misfits Entertainment, the team behind McQueen.
Warner Music Entertainment’s latest projects include Love, Lizzo (HBO Max), American Masters: Roberta Flack (PBS), and Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free: The Making of Wildflowers (YouTube Originals).
Photo credit: Robert Matheu, September 1981
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