Elder gets global distribution deal
for $700,000 Piaf concert doc

Producer George Elder and Piaf singer Raquel Bitton during filming of her concert in Toronto.

A worldwide distribution deal was inked with Modern Entertainment, an international company, for George Elder/Luminaire’s Edith Piaf concert documentary.

The deal provides for theatrical, television, DVD and ancillary representation of “Piaf: Her Story…Her Songs Starring Raquel Bitton.”

Modern has begun lining up important festivals for “Piaf: Her Story.” It plays Oct. 9-19 at the Denver International Festival, “with a request that Raquel appears and sings after the screening,” said Elder.

Montreal’s French Cinemania Festival Nov. 6-16 (where the hit “Amilee” was launched) will make “Piaf” its signature film and Bitton will appear there for three days.

With a preproduction agreement in his pocket from Modern, Elder proceeded with the production of the 95-minute concert. The initial budget of $500,000 ultimately swelled to $700,000 from the cost of music rights acquisitions “from many, many different publishers” of the 20 Piaf songs in the concert, he said.

The 95-minute concert was captured in one take by four HD cameras at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto Sept. 19, 2001.

Elder was first informed about Bitton by his L.A. partner and saw her show when she performed at Orchestra Hall “to see if it was worth doing,” he said. He felt it was. Going backstage that night, Elder left with Bitton’s agreement to film her concert. They took the proposal to Modern’s L.A. office and had a preliminary deal.

Bitton is internationally considered the greatest interpreter of timeless songs from the repertoire of Edith Piaf (1915-1963), who rose from street singer to the highest paid singer of her time. She was most famous for her signature song, “La Vie En Rose.”

Elder and Luminair are at 1376 W. Carooll, phone, 312/491-8380.