After receiving widespread critical acclaim following its debut at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival, Willie Nelson & Family will now premiere as a four-part documentary series exclusively on Paramount+ on Thursday, Dec. 21.
Presented by MTV Entertainment Studios, in association with 101 Studios, Blackbird Presents Films and Sight Unseen, the series explores Nelson’s seven-decade career and underscores both his personal and professional highs and lows. At turns spiritual, dramatic and playful, the film spotlights the beloved music icon who has carved his rightful place among the greatest singer-songwriter and guitar players of all time, while speaking volumes through his lyrics and melodies, philanthropy, marijuana advocacy and activism on behalf of the American farmer.
Willie Nelson & Family was directed by award-winning filmmakers Thom Zimny and Oren Moverman. They also served as executive producers alongside award-winning storyteller Taylor Sheridan. The series blends their unique styles to build an intimate and cinematic memoir of the Red Headed Stranger, told in Nelson’s own voice. Filmed throughout the country, it traces back through time to weave perspectives from the artist’s actual and figurative families, including his children, sister Bobbie Nelson, fellow musicians, lifelong friends, producers, lawyers, booking agent, tour manager, driver, several Willie-ologists, concertgoers and anyone who shaped or was shaped by Nelson.
“It’s been an honor of a lifetime to live in Willie World and travel this long road with the great man and his family. Willie is the last of the consensus artists in America, bringing together people from across every divide: age, class, race, orientation, political affiliation and more. And so this series, like Willie’s music, is about healing. Let there be more of it. Let it be as deeply felt as Willie Nelson. We couldn’t be more grateful,” shares Zimny and Moverman.
“Willie’s music formed the soundtrack of my youth. His songwriting helped shape me as a storyteller,” says Sheridan. “Willie is a national treasure and his story will serve as inspiration for all those seeking their own path that leads away from the clouds of compromise. Willie has opened his life to us—warts and all—to serve as a beacon to overcoming failure, realizing dreams and keeping your compass once the dream is achieved.”
Keith Wortman, Mark Rothbaum, Julia Lebedev, Eddie Vaisman, Annie D’Angelo-Nelson, Leonid Lebedev, Mark Ankner and Sean Stuart also executive produced Willie Nelson & Family along with 101 Studios executive producers David C. Glasser, David Hutkin, Ron Burkle and Bob Yari.
Rothbaum, Nelson’s longtime manager, developed the project Wortman, Founder & Chief Creative Officer of Blackbird Presents.
“Telling Willie’s story has been a lifelong dream of ours, and we feel privileged to partner with Paramount+, Taylor Sheridan, David Glasser and their teams in bringing his story to the world,” state Wortman and Rothbaum.
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