Ani DiFranco Doc ‘Righteous Babe’ Backed by Wavelength, Rolling Stone Films (EXCLUSIVE)
Wavelength and Rolling Stone Films are teaming up to exec produce a documentary celebrating a punk-folk icon: “Righteous Babe: The Ani DiFranco Story.”
The film from director Dana Flor interweaves two distinct story arcs. One chronicles the rise, fall and resurrection of feminist singer/songwriter DiFranco, including the trailblazing indie label she founded in 1990 at age 19, Righteous Babe Records, with never-before-seen archival footage from her tours and work. The other, filmed over the past two years, follows the star as she juggles an uncertain career, reproductive rights activism, a rocky marriage and two kids.
Wavelength founder/CEO Jenifer Westphal, president Joe Plummer and Rolling Stone editor Jason Fine are exec producing the film. DiFranco’s agent Peter Casperson negotiated the deal with Hobby Films’ Amy Hobby (“What Happened, Miss Simone?”), who is producing alongside Wren Arthur. Hobby and Casperson took the project to CAA-repped Rolling Stone, then together brought it to Wavelength. Range Media Partners’ Jessica Lacy will rep sales on this project through their new Range Select division, which is also handling Wavelength’s upcoming Dan Rather doc from director Frank Marshall.
“This film not only embodies what we’ve always strived to become, it’s also representative of who we are as a company now,” Westphal stated. “I am honored to work with Rolling Stoneto tell Ani DiFranco’s story — because what better way to have a woman’s story told than through her fellow women?” she adds, noting the project’s female director and producers.
“Rolling Stone is thrilled to partner with such a talented team to tell the incredible story of Ani DiFranco through unprecedented access,” Fine said. “It’s rare to get such a candid look at the real life of a working artist, especially one like Ani who has done it all herself with humor, persistence and total commitment to her craft. We are excited to bring this project to music fans all over the world.”
Next up, Rolling Stone — a sister publication with Variety’s parent company, Penske Media Corp., and negotiated the DiFranco deal internally — is producing Lisa Cortes’ doc “Little Richard: I am Everything” with Bungalow Media + Entertainment, due on CNN in early 2023.
It’s been a breakthrough year for New York City-based Wavelength, where Westphal and Plummer oversee 16 staffers. In addition to the Dan Rather project, the company is exec producing a documentary about Andy Kaufman with Morgan Neville, Josh and Ben Safdie and Rick Rubin, and backing a scripted narrative film with Steve Zahn. Its youth martial arts doc “The Cave of Adullam,” from director Laura Checkoway and exec producer Laurence Fishburne, won best doc feature at the Tribeca Festival and debuted on ESPN last month.
“I founded Wavelength seven years ago because I wanted to tell great f**king stories,” Westphal says. “It’s since transformed from a boutique production company to the full-service film studio that will get your project made right.” Their dozens of projects include Westphal’s directorial debut, the 2019 Philadelphia Eagles doc “Maybe This Year,” and exec producer credits on Neville’s doc feature “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” and Sundance Film Festival prizewinners “Knock Down the House,” “Feels Good Man” and “Cusp.”
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