Long Strange Trip Grateful Dead Peter Simon

  • It took 14 years for Amir Bar-Lev to make the Grateful Dead documentary, “Long Strange Trip,” 10 of which was spent just trying to convince the band to let him make it.
  • What was intended to be a 90-minute doc that would be released for the band’s 50th anniversary in 2015 led to a 4-hour, 6-part doc that’s now available on Amazon Prime.

Documentary filmmaker Amir Bar-Lev is no stranger to ambitious projects.

He’s given us a look inside the complexities behind a 4-year-old painting savant (“My Kid Could Paint That”), explored the hero complex bestowed on an NFL star who went to fight for his country after 9/11 (“The Tillman Story“), and was front-and-center while the legacy of Joe Paterno and his beloved Penn State football program crumbled before our eyes (“Happy Valley”).

However, none of those compare to taking on the Grateful Dead, and its lead guitarist and figurehead Jerry Garcia, in his latest movie, “Long Strange Trip.”

Amir Bar Lev Tibrina Hobson Getty final“This is the film I’m most proud of,” Bar-Lev told Business Insider. “On some level, this is my life’s work.”

For over a decade, Bar-Lev, an admitted “Dead Head,” tried to convince the band that he was the director worthy of making the definitive film on the legendary band. It finally happened, but there were many twists in the tale of how “Long Strange Trip” was made, including how Bar-Lev landed the job at long last.

Other directors failed

The Grateful Dead’s original plan was to have a 90-minute documentary to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the band (which would have been released in 2015). But like the unconventional way the Grateful Dead operates, “Long Strange Trip” became a daunting task to accomplish from its inception.

Before Bar-Lev came on, Read More Here