HBO is streaming the first ever fully authorized documentary on Kurt Cobain.
To this day, the lead singer of Nirvana, Kurt Cobain, is an ultimate music legend. He is one of the most famous musicians to have lived, and his legendary achievements in music continue to inspire musicians around the world.
HBO Documentary Films and Universal Pictures International Entertainment Content Group are co-producing a first ever authorized documentary on Kurt Cobain’s life. It will debut May 4 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.
Behind the project is Oscar nominated filmmaker, Brett Morgen. He will write, direct and produce Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck.
This documentary will follow Cobain’s extensive and thrilling life. It will explore the depth between his madness and genius like never before. Fans all over the world will see this icon of a musician come to life as the documentary is presented through Cobain himself. The documentary will use Cobain’s words and images to truly reveal the wisdom of this brilliant musician. This is the first documentary released on Cobain with the consent and cooperation of his family.
As writer and director, Morgen is attempting to weave stories of his life together through first-person testimony’s from Cobain’s mother and sister; his widow, Courtney Love; former girlfriend Tracy Marander; ex-bandmate Krist Novoselic among others. This documentary will rightfully give tribute to a man who is still admired by millions even after his tragic death 20 years ago.
Morgen has uncovered a mass variety of new material never before revealed. He hopes to justifiably document Cobain’s tragic roller coaster of a life in a tributing way. Among the unveiled material, Morgen found inspiration for the film’s title, a circa-1988 “sound collage” he titled “Montage of Heck.” This sound collage was recorded by Cobain himself on a four-track cassette recorder. It’s a free-form mash-up of song bites, manipulated radio recordings, elements of demos and disparate sounds created or recorded by Cobain.
The Brettfilmmakers of this documentary have used Cobain’s personal artwork, journal entries, and photographs to illustrate unforgettable moments in his life. The film will feature dozens of Nirvana songs and performances, as well as previously unheard Cobain originals.
“I’m extremely grateful to Courtney Love and Frances Bean Cobain for granting me unfettered access to Kurt’s possessions,” says Morgen. “There were over 200 hours of unreleased music and audio, a vast array of art projects, countless hours of home movies and over 4,000 pages of writings, which together provided a new perspective on an influential and prolific artist who rarely revealed himself to the media.”
In 1991, Seattle-based rockers Nirvana released their breakout hit, “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” taking the music world by storm with a sound that came to represent the youth of the decade. Kurt Cobain became one of the dominant voices of the era, producing songs that were an unlikely combination of nihilism and jubilation. In April 1994, Nirvana fans around the world were devastated by the news of Cobain’s suicide at age 27.
This documentary will dive deep into the backstory of Cobain’s life and how he became a music legend. Eight years in the making, this film will rightfully give tribute to Kurt Cobain. Even at a young age, it was obvious to anyone who knew him that he was incredibly creative. He had a drive within him that allowed him to begin writing, drawing and creating music at a very young age.
Cobain’s mother glorified him while his father often demoted him. As a result of his family life, Cobain discovered punk rock as a troubled teen. “A friend of mine…made me a couple of compilation tapes,” he remembers in an audiotaped interview. “I was completely blown away. They expressed the way I felt socially and politically. It was the anger that I felt, the alienation. And I realized that this is what I’ve always wanted to do.”
Eventually Cobain dropped out of high school and worked as a janitor as he tried to find his niche. He truly needed an outlet for his creative drive and emotional turmoil. “He was searching for whatever made him feel like he wasn’t alone and that he wasn’t so different,” remembers his sister, Kim Cobain.
In his life, Cobain created work that was both poetic and disturbing. Often times, he manifested his violent dreams and fantasies to share with the world through music. “You see his art,” says Novoselic. “A lot of those messages are as plain as day.”
Dealing with addiction, Cobain was also tormented with his unquiet mind. Eventually, after a life of being unable to deal with the troubles he faced, he took his own life.
Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck had its original premiere at the 2015 Sundance Festival.
Producers on this project include Brett Morgen and Danielle Renfrew Behrens. Executive producers are Frances Bean Cobain, Larry Mestel and David Byrnes. The co-executive producer for this documentary is Dave Morrison. Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck will be edited by Joe Beshenkovsky and Brett Morgen, while sound design is by Cameron Frankley and Kurt Cobain. For HBO, the project’s senior producer is Sara Bernstein and the executive producer is Sheila Nevins.
Other HBO playdates: May 7 (4:45 p.m., 1:00 a.m.), 10 (3:00 p.m.), 11 (10:00 a.m.), 15 (1:00 p.m.) and 30 (noon)
Other HBO2 playdates: May 8 (9:00 a.m., 8:00 p.m.), 13 (2:00 p.m.), 16 (3:45 p.m.), 21 (2:15 p.m., 12:45 a.m.), 24 (10:30 a.m.) and 27 (10:00 p.m.)