CIRQUE DU SOLEIL GRANTS EXCLUSIVE ACCESS TO MGM FOR
FEATURE DOCUMENTARY CHRONICLING THEIR GREATEST PERFORMANCE YET AS THEY MAKE A TRIUMPHANT RETURN TO THE VEGAS STAGE
Inside Cirque du Soleil’s Struggle to Reunite the Best Performers from Around the World Following the Unprecedented Shutdown of its Global Productions
Award-Winning Documentary Filmmaker Dawn Porter
Directing & Executive Producing
MGM, a leading entertainment company focused on the production and global distribution of film and television content across all platforms, and Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group (“Cirque du Soleil”), the world’s leading producer of high-quality live entertainment, today announce an unprecedented feature documentary telling the inside story of Cirque du Soleil’s resurgence after the most difficult period in its incredible history. Currently in production, filming on the project commenced in early April and will continue through opening night on July 1, when Cirque du Soleil’s most famous show “O” will make its spectacular return to the stage at Bellagio Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. At the helm of the project as director and executive producer is award-winning documentary filmmaker Dawn Porter (Trapped, The Way I See It, John Lewis: Good Trouble). Porter’s Trilogy Films, a production company specializing in creating feature-length documentaries and non-fiction series, and her new partners at Industrial Media are providing production services.
For the first time in its 37-year history, Cirque du Soleil is granting exclusive access to MGM and Porter, drawing back the curtain on the greatest circus on earth; from the ringmasters in the boardroom to the world-class acrobats and divers that grace the legendary water stage of “O”. It’s been over a year since the “O” ensemble performed together, now they have just weeks to achieve peak fitness and perfect, magical, synchronization for their waiting public.
“We are thrilled to have MGM on board to capture this once-in-a lifetime moment in Cirque du Soleil’s history,” said Daniel Lamarre, President and CEO of Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group. “The return of ‘O’ is marking the long-awaited return of live entertainment and solidifies the future of our company.”
Before 2020, Cirque du Soleil had performed 52,000 shows for more than 70 million people in Vegas alone. Worldwide, Cirque du Soleil’s touring shows played to 365 million people in 1,450 cities in 90 countries. Lockdown changed everything. Hardest hit were the artists themselves and their personal stories are at the heart of Porter’s extraordinary film. No opening night has been as hotly, or anxiously, anticipated.
Mark Burnett, MGM’s Chairman of Worldwide Television said, “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to document this incredible chapter in Cirque du Soleil’s story. Chronicling the re-opening of the aquatic ‘O’ show brings MGM back to its roots, as it was 75 years ago that the studio produced the first ‘Aqua Musicals’ with Ester Williams.” Barry Poznick, MGM’s President of MGM Television and Orion Television added, “This film is a collaboration of incredible talent. Cirque du Soleil are the masters of theatrics and acrobatics, and Dawn Porter is a gifted director who brings the personal stories and struggles of these performers to center stage. Intermission is definitely over!”
Porter shares, “Like so many people, I have always been enthralled with the beauty and mystery of Cirque du Soleil and fascinated with the extraordinarily talented people who make the seemingly impossible come to life. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to document Cirque’s biggest challenge, a return to the stage after one of the world’s greatest crises. The performers, cast, company, and crew are giving their all to make this the biggest premiere of their careers. This is a magnificent story and I’m so grateful to be able to tell it.”
About Dawn Porter
Dawn Porter emerged in the entertainment industry as a leader in the art of storytelling; directing and producing critically acclaimed projects, including a newly released multi-part documentary series for Apple TV+ alongside Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry. The series titled “The Me You Can’t See,” premiered on May 21, 2021 and features a variety of high-profile guests including Lady Gaga, Glenn Close, athletes and more. Dawn serves as a lead Director and Executive Producer on the project. In 2020 Porter’s two poignant documentaries, “The Way I See It” (Focus Features) which is a look into two American presidencies, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama from the lens of official White House photographer Pete Souza, and “John Lewis: Good Trouble” (Magnolia Pictures / Participant), the story of the congressman and civil rights icon, have been praised by critics and audiences alike. As a two-time Sundance film festival director, Porter discovered her passion for filmmaking following her time as an attorney. She made her feature directorial debut in 2013 with “Gideon’s Army,” which premiered on HBO, was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and an Emmy, won Best Editing at Sundance, and is now part of the U.S. Department of State’s American Film Showcase. Her 2016 film “Trapped,” which explores laws regulating abortion clinics in the South, won the Special Jury Social-Impact Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, and a Peabody Award (to name a few). Additional film directing credits for Porter include National Geographic’s upcoming feature “Rise Again: Tulsa and the Red Summer,” PBS’ “Spies of Mississippi” and The Discovery Channel’s “Rise: The Promise of My Brother’s Keeper.” On the television front, Porter directed Netflix’s 2018 four-part series “Bobby Kennedy for President” and Lifetime’s recent special “Women Making History” featuring an exclusive interview with Vice President Kamala Harris. In April of this year, Industrial Media announced an exclusive partnership in an overall deal with Trilogy Films making Trilogy the sixth company backed by the independent production group. Porter is represented by ICM Partners.
About Industrial Media
Industrial Media is an independent production group launched with the acquisition of The Intellectual Property Corporation (IPC) by the reorganized companies of CORE Media Group. Through its work with well-established industry leaders, including ownership interests and partnerships in Sharp Entertainment, IPC, B17 Entertainment, 19 Entertainment, This Machine, This Radicle Act, and Trilogy Films, the Company creates and produces multi-platform programming of various genres for audiences worldwide. Industrial Media companies currently produces more than 60 series across 30 networks. Key programs include the global hit “American Idol” co-produced by 19 Entertainment for ABC, Sharp Entertainment’s “90 Day Fiancé” franchise for TLC; IPC’s Emmy®-winning hit documentary series “Leah Remini: Scientology & the Aftermath” for A&E, “Indian Matchmaking” and “Night Stalker” for Netflix and “Selena+Chef” for HBO Max; and B17 Entertainment’s “History of Swear Words for Netflix and “Chasing the Cure” for TNT/TBS. Additionally, Industrial Media’s 19 Recordings has launched the music careers of platinum artists including Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Daughtry, Phillip Phillips, Lauren Alaina; and more recently, “American Idol” winner Laine Hardy along with prior contestants such as Gabby Barrett, Laci Kaye Booth, Francisco Martin, and Julia Gargano. Industrial Media is backed by the private equity firm Crestview Partners, BlackRock Asset Management, and the United Talent Agency. For more details, visit www.industrial-media.com.
Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) is a leading entertainment company focused on the production and global distribution of film and television content across all platforms. The company owns one of the world’s deepest libraries of premium film and television content as well as the premium pay television network EPIX, which is available throughout the U.S. via cable, satellite, telco, and digital distributors. In addition, MGM has investments in numerous other television channels, digital platforms, interactive ventures, and is producing premium short-form content for distribution. For more information, visit www.mgm.com.
About Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group
Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group is a world leader in live entertainment. On top of producing world-renowned circus arts shows, the Canadian organization brings its creative approach to a large variety of entertainment forms such as multimedia productions, immersive experiences, theme parks and special events. Going beyond its various creations, Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group aims to make a positive impact on people, communities and the planet with its most important tools: creativity and art. For more information about Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group, please visit CDSentertainmentgroup.com.