Tag Archives: Leon Russell

The Union – Press Release – HBO Debut January 2012!

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Great news today! Here’s the press release:

HBO Documentary Films Acquires Cameron’s Crowe’s The Union


NEW YORK, June 6, 2011 – HBO Documentary films has acquired the domestic TV rights to THE UNION from Vinyl Films, it was announced today.  Directed by Cameron Crowe (“Almost Famous,” “Jerry Maguire”), the film will debut on HBO in Jan. 2012.

THE UNION takes an unprecedented look at the creative life of Elton John and his remarkable collaborative album with his early-career idol, Leon Russell, produced by award-winning music producer T Bone Burnett.  Never before filmed in his composing process, John is captured by Crowe in this candid portrait of one of the world’s most treasured artists and performers.  Begun in Nov. 2009, THE UNION chronicles the entire writing and recording process of the heralded album John recorded with Russell.

“I’m a great fan of HBO and their extraordinary programming, so I’m particularly thrilled that they will be airing THE UNION,” commented Elton John.

The film had its world premiere as the opening night selection at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival.  Creative Artists Agency (CAA) represents Crowe and Burnett and negotiated the deal with HBO on behalf of the filmmakers.

THE UNION is directed by Cameron Crowe; produced by Cameron Crowe and Michelle Panek; executive producer, Johnny Barbis; editor, Kevin Long.

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Jun 6, 2011

The Union – Recap

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Elton John and Martin Scorsese

The Union debuted Wednesday night at the 10th annual Tribeca Film Festival. It sounds like the free, outdoor event went off without a hitch and the weather cooperated as well. More than 5,000 people watched the documentary which included opening comments from Elton John, Martin Scorsese and video messages from both Leon Russell and Cameron (along with the rest of the cast, crew and animals on the set of We Bought a Zoo).

Cast & Crew Video Intro

After the screening, Elton performed some of his biggest hits and a few songs from The Union as well. The entire set list was as follows: “Tiny Dancer”, “Rocket Man”, “Gone to Shiloh”, “You’re Never Too Old (To Hold Somebody)”, “I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues” and “Your Song”. Here’s a video snippet recapping the evening from Euro News:

Lastly, Here’s a few of the relevant quotes from the evening’s festivities. You can also read stories about the event over at the Hollywood Reporter or USA Today,

“For me, movies and music have been inseparable. They always have been and always will be,” said Scorsese. “And I know that the same holds true for Cameron Crowe. I have to say that I’ve always been kind of envious of Cameron’s teenage years. Because about a half a century ago when I was young. People always had a fantasy about running away with the circus or running away with the carnival. This was never seemed that appealing to me because I saw the film version of Nightmare Alley and it really wasn’t really my thing. But Cameron ran away with the band when he was a teenager. And his connection to the music is there in every frame of every film he has ever made. From Say Anything… to Almost Famous to the wonderful picture you are going to see here tonight, The Union – Martin Scorsese

“With Cameron (filming) was very uninvasive. You don’t notice him after awhile. He’s got a knack for appearing behind plants and things like that.” – Elton John

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Apr 22, 2011

The Union – Tribeca Premiere Tonight!

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Director of Photography, Nicola B. Marsh films Leon Russell and Elton John

Tonight is the big night for the debut of Cameron’s new documentary, The Union (along with a free concert from Elton John). If any readers of the site are able to attend tonight’s debut in New York at the Tribeca Film Festival, please let me know how the experience was.

Cameron sat down recently for a video interview with EltonJohn.com from the set of We Bought a Zoo. In the first clip, he talks a bit about the project’s origin, and in the 2nd clip, Cameron shares his favorite moments from the doc.

Lastly, We thought you’d like to see a couple of behind the scenes photos from the 1st day of shooting the documentary (which was a writing session). Enjoy!

The Control Room, looking out into the rehearsal space (L-R: Leon Russell, Elton John)

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Apr 20, 2011

Exclusive Debut: The Union Poster + Tribeca Screening Details

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With the Tribeca screening of The Union just days away, I’m very pleased that we are able to debut the poster for the documentary above (just click on the poster above to enlarge). As you can see, the credits for the film are on display as well. I can also report that the running time for the film is 90 minutes.  If you live in the New York area and are wondering how to attend the free screening of The Union on April 20th, here’s the details:

  • You must have a Tribeca Film Festival wristband to attend the screening.
  • Wristbands will be made available to the public on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 4 pm on Wednesday, April 20th, at the BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center.
  • Two wristband limit per person.
  • When you get your wristband, you will also get a list of details about how, when, and where to find your seat.
  • The screening will begin at 8:15 pm on April 20.
  • Details are still being firmed up, but programming at the Plaza may begin at approximately 7:30.
  • Note: Venue access and capacity are at the discretion of the NYPD.


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Apr 17, 2011

San Diego Door Reviews: Leon Russell, Humble Pie & more

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We reach back into the archives again today for five brand spankin’ new album reviews that Cameron did for the San Diego Door circa Spring/early Summer of 1972! First up is a timely look (with Cameron’s The Union Tribeca debut right around the corner) at Leon Russell’s Carney. Cameron has very nice things to say about it and Humble Pie’s Smokin’. Also included are his very brief looks at Cold Blood’s First Taste of Sin, Buffy Sainte Marie’s Moonshot and Lindy Stevens’ Devotion.

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Mar 29, 2011

Crowe’s Nest: Singles, Leon Russell, Vinyl Appreciation

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The Crowe’s Nest is a  new feature that will collect random tidbits, etc. in one blog post. So without further adieu, let’s get started:

  • Time magazine shares their Top 25 Movie Soundtracks of All Time and Singles has made their list (not sure how Rushmore made the cut over The Royal Tenenbaums). Here’s what they said Singles: In 1992, a year that saw Nirvana outsell U2 and knock Michael Jackson out of the top spot on the Billboard 200, the definitive grunge sound track Singles arrived. Just as Nirvana was the right band at the right time, Singles was the right movie. The film’s score features a virtual checklist of bands from the then exploding Seattle music scene, including Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Mudhoney, and it helped cement grunge as the dominant sound of the decade. (Further bridging art and life, Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell and the members of Pearl Jam made cameos in director Cameron Crowe’s homage to his hometown.) Sure, at its core Singles is a fairly typical movie about 20-somethings dating and mating (occasionally both, often neither), but it’s also a perfect snapshot of grunge’s day in the (black hole) sun.
  • Leon Russell was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Great news indeed. The ceremony will air at 8 p.m. March 20 on the cable music channel Fuse. Don’t forget that Cameron’s The Union documentary will open the Tribeca Film Festival on April 20th.
  • Lastly, there’s an interesting article by Philadelphia Inquirer writer Michael Smerconish about digital music, the fidelity inferiority compared to Vinyl and how this generation is missing out on the experience of listening to an album as a whole. There’s some nice personal experiences shared and he even discusses Cameron’s liner notes from Lynyrd Skynyrd’s One More From the Road.


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Mar 19, 2011

The Union Documentary To Debut at Tribeca

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Great news today as Cameron’s documentary The Union about Elton John and Leon Russell’s recently collaboration will open the 10th annual Tribeca Film Festival on April 20th. It will be a free, outdoor screening at the World Financial Plaza, along with a live performance by Elton John. I expect Cameron will be in attendance as well. Here’s the relevant quotes announcing the world premiere:

“It’s a special opportunity to open our 10th festival in this distinct and unique way,” said festival co-founder Jane Rosenthal. “Not only are we inviting the community to join us for the world premiere of Cameron Crowe’s film The Union, but to have Elton, whose music transcends generations, perform after is an extraordinary gift to our festival and more specifically the downtown community.”

Crowe’s film entails a rare look at the writing and recording of John’s most recent album last year with collaborator Leon Russell and producer T Bone Burnett. Bernie Taupin, Neil Young, Brian Wilson, Booker T. Jones, Stevie Nicks and Don Was appear in the documentary.

“As a longtime fan of both artists, it was a pleasure to spend a year filming their collaboration,” said Crowe. “We can’t wait to show it to one of the greatest audiences in the world, the Tribeca Film Festival.”


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Mar 2, 2011

Making of The Union – A Cameron Crowe Documentary

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Just in case you missed it, Cameron created a documentary on the recent collaboration between Elton John and Leon Russell. This album is their first work together since 1970 and was produced by Oscar and Grammy winning producer T Bone Burnett. Cameron was present during the recording sessions and the resulting studio footage and interviews comprises the Making of the Union mini documentary available exclusively on the deluxe edition of the CD. There are plans for a full length version at some point in the near future.

As you recall, Cameron’s relationship with Sir Elton goes back many years to his days with Rolling Stone. Take a look:

Lastly, in another Crowe connection, the album cover was shot by esteemed photographer Annie Leibovitz. The 6 minute mini-documentary is also on YouTube, but I would seek out the DVD version for the best quality.

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Feb 14, 2011

David Crosby: Remember My Name-Out Now on DVD/Blu-ray & Digital!

  • Almost Famous- Paramount+, FUBO
  • Aloha- Starz
  • David Crosby- Starz
  • E-Town- MAX, FUBO
  • Jerry Maguire- Apple TV+
  • Say Anything...- Showtime
  • Vanilla Sky- Paramount+,Showtime
  • We Bought A Zoo- Disney+