Apple Buys Ed Sheeran 'Songwriter' Documentary

Ed Sheeran - Getty - H 2018
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The film made its North American debut Monday at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City.

Apple has purchased worldwide screen rights to the Ed Sheeran documentary Songwriter, Billboard has confirmed.

The film screened Monday at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, making its North American debut. The deal is for low- to mid-seven figures, and the pic will be released in theaters as well as on Apple's platforms, sources tell Billboard. 

The Murray Cummings-directed documentary chronicles the development of Sheeran's career and his creative process, crafting and performing his own hit songs and those for others. 

Songwriter, produced by Kimmie Kim and executive produced by Stuart Camp and Stefan Demetriou, premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in February.

Cummings is Sheeran's cousin and, as he told Billboard ahead of Monday's premiere, he grew up watching the now-superstar chasing his dream and just so happened to catch a good deal of it on video — ranging from Sheeran's opening gigs for Taylor Swift to his sold-out performance at the 90,000-capacity Wembley Stadium in London. 

"I wanted to focus on him being a songwriter rather than 'Ed Sheeran the superstar'-type thing. It's like, this is a guy that's really good at his job, and writes songs all the time — if his brain's on, he wants to write," Cummings said. "It takes a lot to write a song; you go down a lot of different channels and not all of them are great. To have a camera on that while that's happening, I'd imagine it's quite difficult. I was really lucky to have that happen, and I felt very privileged to be in that situation where [Ed] doesn't mind that I'm filming while he's being that vulnerable. So I felt, I've got to make something out of this, because who else can?"

The film deal was brokered by 30WEST, with Marc H. Simon of Fox Rothschild negotiating for the filmmakers and Larry Jackson for Apple. 

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