BMG has announced its next feature-length film will be the first-ever, career-spanning documentary on the life and times of legendary rock icon Ronnie James Dio. It is the first documentary about Dio to be fully authorized by the artist’s estate. BMG is both financier and executive producer of the film, with all rights available worldwide.
The upcoming documentary is the latest project in BMG’s fast-growing line of music-related films and television projects including the critically acclaimed Sundance Film Festival selections “David Crosby: Remember My Name” — recently Grammy-nominated for “Best Music Film” — and the Joan Jett documentary “Bad Reputation”; “The Show’s The Thing”, a film about legendary concert promoters and the early days of the live music business; “Rudeboy: The Story Of Trojan Records”; and “Echo In The Canyon”, one of the top-grossing documentaries of 2019.
Currently in production, the as-yet-untitled film will be the definitive Ronnie James Dio documentary, incorporating never-before-seen archival footage and photos from his personal archives. The film will offer intimate scenes with his closest peers, friends and family as they bring us inside the life of one of rock and roll’s true heroes. The film is financed solely by BMG and will be helmed by Don Argott and Demian Fenton (“Framing John DeLorean”, “Believer”, “Last Days Here”), produced by Don Argott and Sheena Joyce for 9.14 Pictures, and executive produced by Wendy Dio, wife and longtime manager of Ronnie James Dio, for Niji Productions and Kathy Rivkin Daum for BMG.
Ronnie James Dio’s story transcends the standard rock documentary. Set against the backdrop of Dio’s unfinished autobiography — half-finished by Ronnie before his untimely death from stomach cancer in 2010 — the film will chronicle the inspiring journey of his life, love, and storied career. Whether playing sold-out stadiums or battling illness, his powerful voice and gentle heart have had a profound influence on his family, friends, and fans around the world.
Wendy Dio said: “I am very excited to be working with BMG on Ronnie’s long-awaited documentary. Ronnie loved his fans and I hope they will enjoy this trip through Ronnie’s life.”
Kathy Rivkin Daum, executive producer, BMG, said: “We are incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to partner with artists to tell their stories on the big screen. Dio, a larger-than-life rock hero, whose music means so much to millions of fans worldwide, deserves nothing less. The story behind his passion, ambition, and the highs and lows of success, in the rock and metal worlds, is something audiences have never seen before and won’t soon forget. We are honored to partner with Wendy on this incredible journey celebrating Ronnie’s life and work.”
Last year, Wendy Dio told The Metal Voice that the upcoming documentary will feature interviews with “all the people close to Ronnie, people that played with Ronnie or were influenced by Ronnie and also his childhood years and going all the way through his time with ELF, with RAINBOW, with BLACK SABBATH.” She went on to say that she had “so much footage — stuff that people have never seen. I’ve got some Super 8 stuff. I found a whole huge box of stuff — stuff from his childhood, stuff from the RAINBOW days, behind-the-scenes stuff.
“A lot of these Super 8s were at Ronnie’s parents’ house, and when they passed away, Ronnie and I went there and took a bunch of stuff — we found a bunch of Super 8s — but we haven’t looked at them yet, so we don’t know what’s on them,” she laughed. “Hopefully some surprises…”
Wendy went on to say that she is hoping that the documentary will receive a theatrical release before being made available on various streaming platforms.
Asked about the possibility of a Ronnie James Dio biopic seeing the light of day at some point, Wendy told The Metal Voice: “No, I don’t wanna do a biopic. Nobody could play Ronnie, I don’t think. I don’t think so. I’d like to do a straightforward documentary of Ronnie’s life, with lots of footage of Ronnie. I’ve got so many interviews that Ronnie did and so much stuff that I’d really like to just keep it very, very natural.”
Best known for his work with BLACK SABBATH, RAINBOW and DIO, Ronnie James Dio passed away of stomach cancer on May 16, 2010 at the age of 67. A few months after his death, MTV Books announced plans to release his memoir, which at the time was going to be called “Rainbow In The Dark: The Autobiography Of Ronnie James Dio”.
Wendy is currently working with legendary rock journalist Mick Wall on the long-awaited autobiography of the heavy metal master.