“Becoming Led Zeppelin”, the upcoming feature-length documentary about the origins of Led Zeppelin, was originally scheduled to be released in February.
A copyright record for the film filed with the US government last year shows that the filmmakers expected the documentary to be released in February 2022.
The filing, made by filmmakers Paradise Pictures on October 13, shows that work on “Becoming Led Zeppelin” began on August 10, 2018. The film was announced on May 9, 2019.
The copyright filing goes on to list a date of anticipated completion of December 2021 and then lists the film’s “projected date of publication” as February 2022.
The publication date field in copyright records is intended as a guide to suggest when the film or other work will be released. For example, the copyright record for Led Zeppelin DVD lists a publication date of May 27, 2003, the date it was released in the US.
Another listing for the film in a newer version of the US government copyright database lists the expected publication date as December 2021.
“Becoming Led Zeppelin” was premiered at the 2021 Venice International Film Festival on September 4 but no release date has been announced since then.
LedZepNews reported in July that an online promotional campaign for the film including a website and social media pages has been prepared but not launched.
US government copyright records also show that footage of Led Zeppelin performing in the US in 1970 has also been recently registered. 8mm footage of the band performing in Philadelphia on March 31, 1970 and in New York on September 19, 1970 was registered by Mark LoBianco. The filings indicate that the footage was filmed by his father, Nicholas LoBianco, who died last year.
‘Becoming Led Zeppelin’ has been completed
“Becoming Led Zeppelin” was included in a document titled “UK Films For Sale” produced by UK Film, the UK film industry umbrella group. The document was shared with film distributors at the Cannes Film Festival which took place on May 17-28 in Cannes, France.
The document was created on May 16, according to its metadata, meaning that “Becoming Led Zeppelin” remained up for sale and its producers likely used the gathering of film distributors at Cannes to hunt for a way to release it.
The status of “Becoming Led Zeppelin” is listed in the document as “completed,” dispelling speculation that the film may be re-edited following a mixed reception from critics last year.
Several reviews criticised the 137-minute film for being too long. The Hollywood Reporter called the film “an overlong but essential, joyous portrait”.
The Wrap said in its review that “if you’re a diehard fan, you’ll probably glory in what the film delivers and wish there were more of it; if you’re not, you may find yourself power-chorded into submission sometime before the 2-hour and 17-minute running time comes to an end”.
It has been more than 3 years since the film was announced
It was announced in May 2019 that the surviving members of Led Zeppelin had participated in a film about the origins of the band. At the time, the film was in “post-production” meaning filming had already been completed.
LedZepNews reported in April 2020 that the film had the working title of “Apollo” and revealed that it had a runtime of 147 minutes.
And LedZepNews also reported in December 2020 that the film likely uses footage of Jimmy Page performing with The Yardbirds at the Village Theater in New York on August 25, 1967.
In March 2021, LedZepNews reported that the film was also set to use footage of Led Zeppelin performing at the Laurel Pop Festival in Maryland on July 11, 1969.
The next official announcement fans had was in August 2021 when the official title “Becoming Led Zeppelin” was shared along with a brief teaser of the film and the news that it would have its premiere at the Venice film festival the following month. LedZepNews reported that month that the film had a final runtime of 137 minutes.
September 2021 saw the release of the sole official trailer of the film, as well as multiple screenings of the film in Venice and surprise screenings in Telluride also. Page attended the Venice film festival to promote the film.
Since then, there has been no news about the film and its eventual release.
However, Robert Plant distanced himself from the film in interviews published in November 2021. He told Vanity Fair that he was only “minorly” involved in its production. “I’m fully aware of all this, but it’s really hard to get romantic about it—despite the fact that it changed my life and allowed me to mature and to move through the sphere. I’m not very good at reminiscing,” he continued.
In a separate interview with Variety published around that time, Plant also said that it’s “very odd … to see a group of people try to bring some perspective to it now,” adding “I’m not sure it’s not just too vast to be solarized and polarized like that.”