Max Richter’s Sleep – a new movie which tells the story behind the composer’s landmark nocturnal work – will premiere at the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam on Friday 21 November.
Eagle Rock Films in association with Deutsche Grammophon present the JA Films and Globe Productions documentary which was produced by Julie Jakobek, Yulia Mahr, Oualid Mouaness and Stefan Demetriou.
The film follows composer and performer Max Richter as he consolidates an ambitious performance of his critically acclaimed 8 hour opus, Sleep. Centring around the open air concert in Los Angeles, and featuring footage from Berlin, Sydney, New York and Paris, the Sleep documentary explores the artist’s life and process, transcending the work to explore his legacy.
This intimate portrait includes personal reflections and visual archive material from Max Richter and long-time creative partner, film-maker Yulia Mahr – the co-architect of Sleep – illuminating the story and the science behind the work.
The Sleep documentary, directed by Emmy-nominated and award-winning film-maker Natalie Johns, echoes the contemplative essence of Max Richter’s work, depicting the ‘liminal state’ audiences experience when they slumber through the overnight concert in beds, not seats.
Performances of Sleep require unprecedented endurance from Max Richter and his musicians. Experiencing Sleep requires an open vulnerability from audiences – strangers drift in and out of consciousness amongst hundreds of others.
Sleep is a meditative respite from the rush and chaos of the modern world. Max Richter describes Sleep as, “My personal lullaby for a frenetic world. A manifesto for a slower pace of existence.” In his unguarded account he describes, “writing the music I needed to hear” as an antidote to the ‘always-on’ world we inhabit. He explained, “I think many of us feel the need for a place to rest, a point of repose. That’s what this piece is – an 8 hour place to rest.”
Max Richter’s eight-hour Sleep concert is the live incarnation of his 2015 album of the same name, which has been hugely successful worldwide – praised by critics and garnering roughly 350 million streams. The landmark piece was premiered in London four years ago (becoming the longest single continuous piece of music ever broadcast live on the radio) and has since been performed around the world in a variety of stunning venues including the Sydney Opera House, Grand Park in Los Angeles, Kraftwerk Berlin, the Philharmonie de Paris and most recently at the Great Wall of China.
Max Richter is one of the most influential figures on the contemporary music scene, producing ground-breaking work as a composer, pianist, recording artist and collaborator. He is best-known for his genre-defying solo albums, including Sleep, and he has also written extensively for film and television.
Peter Worsley, MD Eagle Rock Films said, “We are delighted that Natalie Johns’s ground-breaking new work is premiering at IDFA, the world’s largest documentary film festival. As Sleep was previously performed in Amsterdam, there’s a sense of bringing it home, as well as sharing this innovative, immersive film with a wider audience.”
Marc Robinson, President of Globe added, “We’re proud to have partnered with JA Films and Yulia Mahr to produce this film about Max Richter’s incredible project, Sleep. Never-before has there been a concert experience of this magnitude, and audiences around the world have been captivated by Max’s and Yulia’s creation. This beautiful documentary captures the essence of their artistic process and gives a fascinating insight into the innovative musical phenomenon that is Sleep.”