EXCLUSIVE: Abramorama has set worldwide release plans for Mr. Jimmy, a documentary it’s acquired on Japanese guitarist Akio Sakurai, who has dedicated his life to honoring the music of Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page. The film directed, produced and edited by Peter Michael Dowd will hit theaters globally on September 1st, opening in the U.S. against the Denzel Washington-led The Equalizer 3, Vertical’s thriller The Good Mother starring Hilary Swank and Olivia Cooke, and Strand Releasing’s French-language climbing drama The Mountain.
Mr. Jimmy explores Sakurai’s dedicated work to mirror Page’s fashion style, instruments, sound, movements, and live performances for an act he’d eventually take around the globe to festivals including SXSW, the Buenos Aires Film Festival, the São Paolo Film Festival, and the Rotterdam Film Festival.
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As a teenager in snowbound Tokamachi, Japan, Sakurai took refuge in his room, escaping to another world with a pair of headphones and a pile of Led Zeppelin records. When he moved to Tokyo, he worked by day as a “salary man,” and by night became “Mr. Jimmy,” meticulously replicating Page’s playing styles and persona. For 30 years, Sakurai recreated vintage Zeppelin concerts note-for-note in small Tokyo clubs, until the real Jimmy Page stopped by one night, and his life changed forever. Inspired by Mr. Page’s ovation, Sakurai quits his job, leaving behind his family to move to Los Angeles and join the tribute band Led Zepagain. Soon, though, cultures clash, and his idyllic vision of America meets with reality.
Led Zeppelin approved the use of their music in the film, which features an extensive list of their greatest hits.
“There is only one Mr. Jimmy Page: virtuoso musician, visionary producer, iconic onstage performer, and a composer whose works will last as long as those of Beethoven and Bach. Every rock & roll fan knows the feeling of ‘I want to be Jimmy Page!'” observed Dowd in a statement to Deadline. “Akio Sakurai has transformed that feeling into a lifelong homage to Mr. Page, and after forty years of performing as “Mr. Jimmy,” the world is finally witnessing the fruits of his hard work, while once again realizing the singularity of Mr. Jimmy Page. It’s been an eight-year journey making this film, made with blood, sweat, and credit card debt, and I couldn’t be more proud.”
Continued the filmmaker, “I’m so honored to have a film that features the music of Led Zeppelin performed so lovingly by Akio. Top that off with a soundtrack featuring Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Otis Rush, John Lee Hooker, and Elvis Presley—now that’s my kind of party. After such a long journey with this project, Abramorama is the perfect partner to share this rock n’ roll movie with the world.”
Added Abramorama’s Head of Music Strategy & International Distribution, Evan Saxon, “Mr. Jimmy is much more than a music film. It’s a story about a dream coming true. Truth can be stranger than fiction, and music works in magical ways. Mr. Jimmy documents both and shows that vision, passion and hard work can bring about more than one imagines. And who doesn’t love Led Zeppelin!”
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