Average White Band: Sky, Warner Music Entertainment and Screen Scotland team up on Anthony Baxter’s feature documentary

A new feature documentary delving into the unique legacy of the Scottish funk and R&B sensation Average White Band, has commenced filming. As the current version of the band continues its farewell tour, the documentary will uncover the remarkable story of how six young Scottish musicians left such a lasting and indelible mark on the American Black music scene. 

Directed by Scottish BAFTA winner Anthony Baxter, the new feature, with a working title of Average White Band: Soul Searching, has received the backing of Sky Originals and Screen Scotland. Warner Music Entertainment has acquired the North American distribution right​s​ to the film.  

With exclusive access, the film is scheduled for release in 2025, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Average White Band’s breakthrough single “Pick Up the Pieces" and their album "AWB" - both of which reached Number 1 on the Billboard charts in 1975.  

Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Ben E. King and a young Barack Obama were amongst the group’s early admirers, and Average White Band’s legendary appearances on Soul Train were followed by a string of R&B hits and Grammy nominations. And they continue to have an enduring influence on hip hop, as one of the most sampled bands in music history. 

Clapper board showing details for feature documentary Average White Band: Soul Searching

The documentary announcement comes as the current version of Average White Band continues its farewell tour, which has already included landmark venues such as the Royal Albert Hall in London, Edinburgh’s Usher Hall, and the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow. 

​​Jack Oliver, Head of Co-Production at Sky said: “Sky Arts audiences love great music docs with a layered story; the opportunity to board this feature doc on the funkadelic Average White Band was simply too good to be true. Director Anthony Baxter has an ambitious vision for the piece and assembled great co-production partners to ​the​​ ​project. We look forward to sharing with our audience in 2025.”​​​ 

Mark Thomas from Screen Scotland said: “It’s fantastic to be able to support Anthony Baxter’s latest feature documentary about the seminal Scottish Average White Band, ​​whose​​​ enduring legacy and international reach ​​exemplify​​ the rich creative energy of Scotland. Working with Sky, Altitude and Warner Brothers, Anthony has gathered a fantastic team of partners with whom we are excited to join.”​ 

​​​Stacy Robinson, Artistic Director at Kartemquin Films said: “We are thrilled to collaborate with Director, Anthony Baxter on this film. Average White Band isn't just a band, it's a testament to the cultural crossroads where soul, funk, and rhythm resonate across generations, continents, and race.​ ​​​We have great respect for Anthony’s documentary film work. This project is a perfect alignment for Kartemquin Films, which looks to foster understanding and unity among diverse communities.”​​  

Black and white image of the Scottish band, Average White Band, who sit in a row smiling at the camera

The film will blend rare archival footage with fresh interviews to chronicle the band's extraordinary trajectory.    

Award winning filmmaker Anthony Baxter’s previous credits include the documentaries Eye of the Storm, You’ve Been Trumped, Flint: Who Can You Trust? and A Dangerous Game. His 2011 feature, You’ve Been Trumped won awards at the Sheffield, Hamptons, Denver and Sedona International Film Festivals among others  

Baxter said: “I could not be more excited to be embarking on this film.  When the Average White Band set out to make amazing music together down the road from me, little did they know they would soon be signed to Atlantic Records and recording in the same Miami studio as Aretha Franklin.  This film has AWB’s incredible passion for music at its very heart.” 

Produced by acclaimed Scottish independent production company Montrose Pictures, in collaboration with London-based Vertigo Films and four-time Oscar-nominated Kartemquin Films, the documentary’s executive producers include TV veteran and Soul Trilogy writer Stuart Cosgrove; and Mark Thomas and Dani Carlaw for Screen Scotland. The production team also includes Allan Niblo for Vertigo Films and award-winning Birth of Gospel Music Producer Stacy Robinson

More information

​​Montrose Pictures​     ​ ​​​ 

Based in Angus, Scotland, Montrose Pictures is a leading independent production company dedicated to crafting compelling narratives across film, television, and podcasts.  Its feature documentaries include "You’ve Been Trumped," "Flint: Who Can You Trust?" and "Eye of the Storm”.  With a commitment to excellence, Montrose Pictures brings together talented creatives to produce captivating content that resonates with audiences worldwide. 

​​Warner Music Entertainment    ​​​​ 

​​​Warner Music Entertainment (WME), the television and film division of Warner Music Group (WMG), is passionately devoted to music-driven storytelling through the creation, development, and acquisition of compelling original visual content. Since its inception in 2017, WME has produced a variety of acclaimed long-form television series, films, and documentaries, including David Byrne’s 6x Emmy-nominated HBO special, American Utopia; National Geographic’s 3x Emmy-nominated Genius: Aretha; the 3x Emmy-nominated Epix two-part docuseries, Laurel Canyon: A Place in Time; and many others. With deep connections across the entertainment industry, WME also partners with leading production companies, such as Imagine Entertainment, Lightbox and SK Global, to co-produce, co-develop, and co-finance various film and television projects, both long and short-form.​ 

​​Sky Originals​

​​Sky Originals ​​ Is a​t the forefront of innovative storytelling, delivering premium entertainment across multiple platforms. As a key collaborator on the Average White Band documentary project, Sky Originals continues its mission to support ground-breaking filmmaking and bring unique stories to audiences everywhere. 

​​Vertigo Films​  ​ ​​​ 

Renowned for its diverse portfolio of critically acclaimed films, Vertigo Films is a powerhouse in the entertainment industry. With a passion for pushing boundaries and championing original voices, Vertigo Films adds its expertise and vision to the Average White Band documentary, promising an unforgettable cinematic experience. 

​​Kartemquin Films​ ​ ​​​ 

​​With a legacy of award-winning documentaries (“Hoop Dreams”, “The Interrupters”, “Life Itself” etc.) spanning over five decades, Kartemquin Films is a revered name in non-fiction filmmaking.  The company produces documentaries on a wide range of issues, championing filmmakers in developing their craft, and aligning with partners who understand that documentaries are powerful vehicles for truth that can transform the world around us.​​​

​​​​Screen Scotland​

Drives development of all aspects of Scotland’s film and TV industry, through funding and strategic support.​ Screen Scotland is part of Creative Scotland and delivers these services and support with funding from Scottish Government and The National Lottery.

Image credits

All images courtesy of Montrose Pictures