Berlin: Sony Pictures Classics Buys Worldwide Rights to John Prine Documentary

John Prine - H 2019
Courtesy of Getty Images

'John Prine: Hello in There' tells the artist's story, from his start as a Chicago mailman writing tunes on the side to becoming one of America's most iconic singer-songwriters.

Sony Pictures Classics has picked up worldwide rights to an upcoming documentary on the life of singer-songwriter John Prine ("Angel From Montgomery").

Tentatively titled John Prine: Hello in There, the documentary, from director Zachary Fuhrer, tells Prine's plucked from obscurity tale. Working as a mailman in the Chicago suburbs, he was discovered by film critic and Chicago Sun-Times columnist Roger Ebert, who heard Prine sing at an open-mic gig and wrote about him in the paper. The article landed Prine a record deal and he was off on a decades-long career that has taken him from Radio City Music Hall to the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

John Prine: Hello in There follows the singer as he prepares to release his first album of new songs in 13 years. Fuhrer and Patrick Doyle co-wrote the film, which Doyle produced with the full support of the Prine family and young songwriters inspired by Prine, including Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell and Margo Price. RadicalMedia is a production partner on the film.

Sony Pictures Classics is planning a theatrical bow for the doc, which is currently in postproduction.

“Spending time with John Prine over the last year, we’ve learned that he is just as insightful — and hilarious — in everyday life as he is in his songs,” Doyle said in a statement. “From playing at pubs in western Ireland to the Ryman Auditorium, there is nobody better at spellbinding a room. For the last 50 years, he's been a voice for the overworked, underpaid and forgotten, and our current political times have made his songs even more relevant."

The deal for John Prine: Hello in There was negotiated directly between the filmmakers and Sony Pictures Classics. The filmmakers are repped by Bianca Grimshaw of Gray Krauss Sandler Des Rochers LLP.