'CBGB' Filmmakers to Tell Story of Famed Caribou Records (Exclusive)

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After wrapping their rock feature CBGB, Randall Miller and Jody Savin are hoping to keep the music going with a new music-themed project, this one on famed recording studio Caribou Records.

Miller and Savin will write the script with Miller directing the project. It will produce via their Unclaimed Freight banner along with Brad Rosenberger, their music business partner.

Titled Caribou Records, the movie will aim to tell the story of the music studio run by James William Guercio in Colorado's Rocky Mountains.

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Guercio was a record producer who also managed Chicago. From around 1971 to 1985, when a fire destroyed the studio, Caribou was the site of recordings by Paul McCartney, Elton John -- who titled his chart-topping 1974 album Caribou after the studio -- Chicago, Joe Walsh and Amy Grant, among others.

The filmmakers will work with Guercio on the film, mining his stories, and the music man will serve in a producer capacity. 

Miller said they gravitated to Guercio because of his maverick personality.

“He left Hollywood to go to the wilds of Colorado and put everything on the line,” said Miller. “Everyone thought he was nuts. But all these artists -- from John Lennon, Michael Jackson, Elton John, the Beach Boys -- came out there. He’s basically this young guy who had a crazy dream.”

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Music will be integral to the project, and while music rights normally are expensive, Rosenberger is hoping the special nature of the project will give the filmmakers some leeway.

For example, CBGB, which is in post and stars Alan Rickman, Malin Ackerman, Ashley Greene and Johnny Galecki, tells the story of Hilly Kristal and the creation of his famed NYC bar, which ended up being at the epicenter of the punk rock movement in the late 1970s. The movie, according to the producers, has 50 songs and 16 on-camera performances, yet still was made on a low indie budget.

“If it’s about something, and the music is integral into the story and not exploitative, people get it and want to be involved,” said Rosenberger, while admitting nailing down the rights still will be tricky.

The filmmakers are eyeing a summer shoot in real-life Colorado locations.  

“The locale will definitely be a character,” said Miller. “The ranch and this wilderness has a tapestry of its own. Album after album came out of that place, and you have to ask yourself, 'What was the secret ingredient?' ”

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