After directing the very significant and highly successful feature documentaries “My Kid Could Paint That” and “The Tillman Story,” as well as serving as a co-producer on the Oscar-nominated “Trouble the Water,” the very talented Amir Bar-Lev found himself being recruited for and hired on to helm an interesting new doc called “Re:Generation Music Project,” which I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys music of any kind.
This film, which follows five separate pairings of DJs (Premier, Skrillex, Pretty Lights, Mark Ronson and The Chemical Brothers) with traditional music genres (classical, rock, country, jazz and soul) for mash-ups featuring the likes of The Doors, LeAnn Rimes, Erykah Badu and Martha Reeves, is in theaters nationwide only tonight and February 23 (it will also screen at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin next month).
I talked briefly with Bar-Lev about the experience of being brought on as a director-for-hire, what it was like to shoot these amazing collaborations and how he crafted such an enjoyable feature film that shows absolutely no sign of having been a sponsored effort under the partnership of a car company and the Grammys.
Check out our conversation below:
This is a different kind of documentary in more ways than one. How were you brought on to this project, and what’s it like to be hired for a film as opposed to coming up with the idea yourself?
It’s quite a different experience being hired rather than being part of a documentary project at the inception. I like to flex different filmmaking muscles, and I think it’s a very worthwhile challenge learning to listen to other people’s ideas and figuring out how you can manifest or express them. The filmmaker/editor relationship is such a fruitful and dynamic relationship, and I thought about that relationship a lot as I was directing this film. There’s a sweet spot where you’re bringing a lot of different ideas to the table and not attaching yourself necessarily too much to any one and being very receptive to what the mandate for the project is. And in this case the mandate was a complex one. They wanted it to function as a feature documentary. It’s also a marketing tool. And therefore it had to check a lot of different boxes. I found it a really useful challenge trying to check those boxes.
Continue reading this interview at the Documentary Channel Blog.