'Max Richter's Sleep' Premieres at Sundance 2020

‘Max Richter’s Sleep will have its North American premiere at Sundance Film Festival 2020 accompanied by a special evening concert performance of ‘From Sleep’ performed by Max Richter and the ACME Quintet.

Watch the official trailer for Max Richter’s Sleep HERE.

Telling the story behind the landmark nocturnal work, Max Richter’s Sleep’ follows trail-blazing composer and performer as he consolidates an ambitious performance of his critically acclaimed eight-hour opus, SLEEP.

The film plunges deeply into the artist’s life and process, transcending the work to explore his legacy. Personal reflections from Max Richter, and visual archive from his long-term creative partner, the BAFTA winning filmmaker, Yulia Mahr – the co-architect of SLEEP – help build this intimate portrait – along with contributions that illuminate both the science and story behind the work.

Max Richter Sleep Poster

Natalie Johns’ ground-breaking visual portrait echoes the contemplative essence of Richter’s work, offering a poetic depiction of the ‘liminal state’ audiences experience when attending a live performance – where fans slumber through the overnight concert in beds, not seats. In his unguarded account, Richter describes the extraordinary composition as ‘writing the music I needed to hear’ – an antidote to the always-on world we inhabit.

Centered around the open-air concert in Los Angeles, as well as footage from Berlin, Sydney and Paris, the film examines the artist’s life and process. Performances of SLEEP require unprecedented endurance from Richter and his small ensemble of musicians and open vulnerability from audiences; strangers drifting in and out of consciousness among hundreds of others.

Max Richter’s eight-hour SLEEP concert is the live incarnation of his 2015 Deutsche Grammophon album of the same name, which has been hugely successful worldwide – praised by critics and garnering roughly 350 million streams. The landmark piece was premiered in London four years ago (becoming the longest single continuous piece of music ever broadcast live on the radio) and has since been performed around the world in a variety of stunning venues including the Sydney Opera House, Grand Park in Los Angeles, Kraftwerk Berlin, the Philharmonie de Paris and most recently at the Great Wall of China.

Natalie Johns says “The creative intent of Sleep afforded me rare freedom in developing the film’s approach and narrative; an experience that I found truly liberating. I’m thrilled to bring this immersive film to a true film lovers audience at Sundance 2020.” 

Photo of composer Max Richter
Max Richter, composer of SLEEP

Producers Julie Jakobek and Stefan Demetriou say: “For Natalie and ourselves to collaborate with Yulia Mahr and Max Richter to realise their unique project Sleep on screen has been an incredibly fulfilling artistic process for all involved. Natalie Johns’ beautiful film manages to somehow convey Yulia and Max’s creative vision, and process, whilst never losing sight of the work’s quiet wonder and global impact. We’re all very honoured to be a part of Sundance 2020 – it feels like a wonderful home for the film.”