The 2 1/2-hour film, part of the Marley family’s contribution to Jamaica’s 50 anniversary of Independence celebration, will be shown a day before its international release, giving Jamaicans the opportunity to see one of the most definitive authorised film on his life, legacy and global impact.
The Marleys and co-executive producer, Chris Blackwell, are expecting a record turnout for the event, as Marley marks the first time the family has authorised the use of images and film footage from their personal archives. It will be released in the United States by Magnolia Pictures and will also be available on Video OnDemand.
Director Kevin MacDonald said he had just 13 months to work on the project and interviewed family members, friends, lovers and musicians. Concert footage, rare recordings, as well as 50 of Marley’s songs and 10 from other artistes are also included in the docu-film.
MacDonald, a Scottish director, is best known for One Day in September , the 1999 documentary about the murder of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. He is also responsible for The Last King of Scotland , the 2006 British drama based on Giles Foden’s novel of the same name. Forest Whitaker won a Best Actor Oscar for the film.
The cast includes Bob, his son, Ziggy, daughter, Cedella, and widow, Rita, as well as Bunny Wailer, Lee Perry, Jimmy Cliff, Cindy Breakspeare, Chris Blackwell and Dr Carlton ‘Pee Wee’ Fraser. The film is credited with documenting Marley’s life, from cradle to grave.
Highlights of Marley include footage from the famous One Love Peace Concert at the National Stadium in 1978 in which the reggae superstar invited Jamaica’s political leaders, Edward Seaga and Michael Manley on stage to shake hands as a symbolic gesture of peace during one of the most turbulent period of Jamaica’s history.
The interviews feature widow, Rita, declaring her role in Bob’s life as being “beyond wife” .
“I was the one he would call to get women out of his dressing room. I became his guardian angel,” she said.
Ziggy (David), eldest son of Bob Marley, recalled that his father was so attached to Trench Town, he would often take the children with him on his visits.
Daughter Cedella, resented people saying “all your parents do is smoke weed and play music” .
“Nobody wanted their children around us!,” she exclaimed. However, after Bob’s fortunes turned into millions, after his death in 1981, that sentiment drifted into a distant past.
Asked about his millions in one interview, Bob reacts: “My life is only important if me can help plenty people… my riches is my life .”