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Coming Soon: The Ballad of Don Lewis

Pioneering Electronics Engineer’s Story Hits Screens this February

A documentary on the life and career of one of the music industry’s most influential players and innovators is coming to screens large and small. Bruder Releasing, Inc (BRI) has announced an agreement with producer and filmmaker Ned Augustenborg to distribute The Ballad of Don Lewis. Augustenborg’s intimate look into Lewis’ innovative and extraordinary work as a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and pioneering electronics engineer was produced in cooperation with NAMM’s Museum of Making Music.

BRI will be delivering The Ballad of Don Lewis to U.S. broadcast audiences beginning February 1, 2020 on inDEMAND pay-per-view, making the film available to over 75 million viewers in the United States. In April, BRI will release the retail DVD of the movie through Music Video Distributors (MVD).

In the 1970s and 1980s, Don Lewis gained iconic status throughout the San Francisco live music scene while performing with a revolutionary instrument of his own design—LEO (Live Electronic Orchestra)—an innovative cohesion of synthesizers and sound modules that proved to be a decade ahead of its time.

In addition to performing, Lewis worked as a sound designer/musician for the likes of Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones and the Beach Boys. But while his popularity continued to grow, the Musicians Union publicly protested his performances—claiming that Don Lewis was a threat to the future of the Musicians Union because of the technology he so passionately embraced and developed; bringing an end to his career and the instrument he was so inextricably tied to.

In order to support his family, Lewis concentrated on an alternative career path, using his skills as a concert artist and voicing programmer for Yamaha and Roland, and eventually contributing to the success of such groundbreaking music products as the Yamaha DX-7 synthesizer and the Roland TR-808 drum machine.

Filmmaker Ned Augustenborg (left) and Don Lewis.

Twenty years after Lewis left the limelight, and placed LEO in storage, the two would be reunited and recognized for their historical contributions by The Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad, CA – now home to LEO.

The Ballad of Don Lewis is the story of an American pioneer as he battled technological and social challenges, while attaining creative fulfillment during one of music’s most exciting and inspiring eras.

Augustenborg is an award-winning filmmaker and recipient of multiple Emmy and CableACE Awards in the categories of Entertainment, Documentary, News, and Sports. BRI is a leading distributor of programming to Pay Per View (PPV), Pay Cable and Basic Cable systems worldwide. Founded by Marc Bruder in 1984, BRI represents over 120 production and releasing companies, and is active in placing their product in the domestic, and International Video/DVD, Internet, Pay Per View, Pay Cable, Basic Cable, Free TV, Lodging, and ancillary markets.

BRI’s Marc Bruder remarked, “In my 38 years as a global film distributor, The Ballad of Don Lewis is the greatest film documentary that I’ve had the privilege to represent.”

“Finding just the right distributor for my film has been a challenge,” added Augustenborg. “But the time and effort paid off in finding BRI. They’re a company that understands that anyone who has ever heard one note of music needs to see this film. It’s been more than a partnership—it’s been a friendship.”

For more information on The Ballad of Don Lewis, visit