DIO: Dreamers Never Die will screen on 17 March 2022 at the Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas, as part of the SXSW Film Festival’s 24 Beats Per Second lineup.
“This career-spanning documentary on Heavy Metal legend Ronnie James Dio,” BMG said in a news release, “delves deep into his incredible rise from ’50s doo-wop crooner, to his early classic rock days in Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, to replacing the iconic lead singer Ozzy Osborne in Black Sabbath, to finally cement his legend with DIO.
“Ronnie’s biography is completely unique to the tired sex, drugs and rock and roll cliches. The film is about perseverance, dreams and the power to believe in yourself.”
The documentary is set against Dio’s autobiography, edited by Mick Wall, which MetalTalk’s Mark Rotherham described as “an essential read, a unique insight into the mind of a true Heavy Metal hero.”
“Ronnie had done a great deal of the writing in draft form,” Mick Wall told MetalTalk editor Steve Ritchie in July 2021. “He had worked on it for quite a while. He wrote longhand, so he would give the handwritten notes to Wendy, who would get the office to put them on the computer.”
Before he could finish the book, Ronnie became ill, but he made even more detailed notes about how he wanted the final three chapters to go. “He wrote a lot of notes, very extensive notes,” Mick says.
The book is mostly Ronnie’s words and was certainly delivered according to his plan. “So, from Madison Square to Madison Square is very neat, and it is exactly how he planned it,” Mick said. “The last two or three chapters were from Ronnie’s extensive notes. I’m bad at many things, but one thing I am good at is capturing voices on a page, and Ronnies voice is more distinctive than anybody’s. No one could talk like Ronnie.”
Ronnie’s work on the book was to a high level of detail, making Mick’s job ‘only’ an editor. “The book Ronnie wrote was a draft,” Mick says, “and it is normal to punch it up to get it to a level of literary biography.”
DIO: Dreamers Never Die, the definitive Ronnie James Dio documentary, was financed solely by BMG and was directed by Don Argott and Demian Fenton. Production is by Don Argott and Sheena Joyce for 9.14 Pictures, with Wendy Dio, wife and longtime manager of Ronnie James Dio, for Niji Productions and Kathy Rivkin Daum for BMG as executive producers.
Alongside archive interviews with Ronnie James Dio, the film features contributions from Wendy Dio, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Bill Ward, Vinny Appice, Lita Ford, Rob Halford, Sebastian Bach and Eddie Trunk.
The film was first officially announced in February 2020. “We are incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to partner with artists to tell their stories on the big screen,” executive producer Kathy Rivkin Daum from BMG said. “Dio, a larger than life rock hero, whose music means so much to millions of fans worldwide, deserves nothing less.
“The story behind his passion, ambition, and the highs and lows of success, in the rock and Metal worlds, is something audiences have never seen before and won’t soon forget. We are honoured to partner with Wendy on this incredible journey celebrating Ronnie’s life and work.”
“I am very excited to be working with BMG on Ronnie’s long-awaited documentary,” Wendy Dio said. “Ronnie loved his fans, and I hope they will enjoy this trip through Ronnie’s life.”
A UK release has yet to be confirmed.
Online viewing will be available in the United States on 18 March and 20 March at 9:00 am CDT. Details from https://schedule.sxsw.com/2022/films/2054176
Ronnie James Dio died from stomach cancer in May 2010. He was 67 years old.