‘Becoming Led Zeppelin’ is being re-edited a year after its premiere

Becoming Led Zeppelin

“Becoming Led Zeppelin,” the feature length documentary about the origins of Led Zeppelin, is currently being re-edited a year after it was supposedly completed and premiered in Venice.

The administrator of Led Zeppelin’s official forum, Sam Rapallo, posted an update on the film’s progress in the forum on September 3, saying the film is “nearing the end of the edit” and revealing that the filmmakers are still looking for footage of the band to include.

“Regarding ‘Becoming Led Zeppelin’, I understand they are nearing the end of the edit and have been taking advantage of the time to make the film as good as possible. I have seen the film in several stages and think it is an extraordinary piece of work that I hope we all get to share in soon,” Rapallo wrote.

“As the filmmakers have told me, they’ll continue to be on the search for unseen archive from the period the film covers all the way until the film is released, so if anyone has anything they would like to send their way, please reach out to me. A few new gems have been added since its public screening last year,” he added.

The post included a photograph of Dan Gitlin, the film’s editor, working on the film.

Rapallo’s post confirms speculation published in Hollywood Elsewhere in November that the film may not have been acquired or may have been “withdrawn for further editing”.

The decision to re-edit the film and add new footage may be a response to mixed reviews that the film received following its premiere at the 2021 Venice International Film Festival on September 4, 2021.

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”.

Rapallo’s post contrasts with multiple websites listing the film’s status as “completed” as the filmmakers hunt for a buyer.

“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 and the film’s status was listed as “completed”.

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 film is also listed as “completed” on the website of Altitude, the film sales company hunting for a distributor for it.

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.

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.”

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