Producers Edward R. Pressman (American Psycho, Wall Street) and Shep Gordon (Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Village of the Damned) announced today that they have partnered with award-winning director Keith Maitland on The Untitled Michael Brody Jr. Documentary. The film tells the story of Michael Brody Jr., a 21-year-old hippie millionaire who in 1970 promised to give away his $25M inheritance in an effort to usher in a new era of world peace. Pressman and Gordon initially developed a picture about Brody in the late 1970s.
Maitland’s latest documentary, TOWER, about the first mass school shooting in the U.S. at the University of Texas in 1966, has been chosen by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for their Best Documentary Feature shortlist, and has been nominated for a Producers Guild of America award. It also received the Most Innovative Documentary Award at the Critics Choice Documentary Awards, Best Animated Film at the Boston Society of Film Critics Awards, and both the Audience and Grand Jury Award at the 2016 SXSW Film Festival. In 2016,Variety named Maitland one of “10 Documakers to Watch.”
“Oftentimes in our industry projects take many years to find the right person to bring them to the screen. With his unique and powerful way of storytelling, Keith is the perfect filmmaker to bring the Michael Brody Jr. story to life,” says Pressman. “I’m thrilled to be partnering with Keith, Shep, and the rest of our team on a documentary that I’m confident will make a similar impact on audiences that TOWER has.”
“In the early 1970s, the story of Michael Brody Jr. rocked the headlines,” says Gordon. “I thought it was such a compelling tale of the times that I decided to acquire the rights for a narrative feature as the first project for Alive Films. Now decades later, brilliant filmmaker Keith Maitland is tackling a documentary about the heartbreaking story of a troubled young man who’s idealistic actions ended in tragedy.”
“It’s easy to see why Ed and Shep wanted to make a film about Michael Brody Jr. — it’s an incredible, untold story,” says Maitland. “And it’s an honor to work alongside these legendary producers on a project with as much urgency as ever.”
Maitland will produce the film under his Go-Valley banner along with cinematographer/producer Sarah Wilson (TOWER, The Eyes of Me) and Emmy-winning producer Megan Gilbride (TOWER, Where Soldiers Come From, Lovers of Hate), and producer Melissa Robyn Glassman (The Man Who Knew Infinity), who was Pressman Film’s Director of Development prior to forming Twelve21 Productions in 2016.
Pressman and Gordon will serve as Executive Producers along with Pressman Film’s Jon Katz (The Man Who Knew Infinity) and Alive Films’ Carolyn Pfeiffer (Elvis and Annabelle, PBS’ Children of Giant).
The Untitled Michael Brody Jr. Documentary was recently awarded a grant from the Austin Film Society.