Jay Z’s Made in America Festival Gets a Documentary

Released in limited theaters this past week and coming to DVD on July 22, producer-director Ron Howard’s Made in America tells the story of the music festival of the same name founded by Jay Z and Steve Stoute. First screened in 2013 at the Toronto International Film Festival, Howard described the documentary at the time as “a reflection of the fabric of what it means to be ‘Made in America’ — what the festival represents, why Jay is doing it, and how he relates to each artist.”

The documentary, which follows Jay Z throughout the process of the first Made in America festival, gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at what spurred the rapper mogul to form the festival along with insight into the bands playing, which includes Pearl Jam, Run-DMC, Skrillex, and Odd Future. While the film has divided critics, the ambitiousness of Howard’s documentary has been hailed as being one of its strengths.

Now in it’s third year, the Budweiser Made in America Festival has now expanded from it’s original location at the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to include a simultaneous festival in Los Angeles at the L.A. Grand Park. Headliners at the Pennsylvania location this year include The Kings of Leon, Chromeo, The National, and Pharrell Williams while the Los Angeles counterpart features Kendrick Lamar, Imagine Dragons, John Mayer, and Weezer. Additionally, Kanye West is scheduled to perform in Pennsylvania on Saturday before flying out to perform on Sunday in Los Angeles.

But for Howard, the film is likely an important test run for his next recently announced film – a documentary about the Beatles. Certain to be one of the most high-profile documentaries ever made, the documentary will revolve around the Beatles as a touring act starting with their days in Liverpool, England up until their final 1966 concert in San Francisco. Not only is the documentary being produced by Apple Corps Ltd., which gives Howard access to all of the Beatles’ catalogue, but it is also being made with cooperation from Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono Lennon, and Olivia Harrison.

“I am excited and honored to be working with Apple and the White Horse team on this astounding story of these four young men who stormed the world in 1964,” Howard said. “Their impact on popular culture and the human experience cannot be exaggerated.”

According to the filmmakers, the documentary should be in theaters by the end of 2015.

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