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Meet the 2015 Tribeca Filmmakers #11: Kevin Kerlake Gets Behind the DJ Booth and Behind the Headlines for ‘As I AM’

Meet the 2015 Tribeca Filmmakers #11: Kevin Kerlake Gets Behind the DJ Booth and Behind the Headlines for 'As I AM'

READ MORE: Meet the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival Filmmakers

Adam Goldstein made a name for himself, most notably as DJ AM but not least for his celebrity connections. He was the first million-dollar deejay in the United States, but his incredibly complex personal life included a long battle with drug addiction. Director Kevin Kerslake tackles Goldstein’s story in documentary “As I AM: the Life And Times of DJ AM.”

What’s your film about in 140 characters or less?

“As I AM: the Life and Times of DJ AM” covers the mash-up pioneer’s meteoric rise to superstardom, a long-running struggle with drug addiction, titanic efforts to help others in recovery, and miraculously surviving a fiery plane crash a little less than a year before his controversial and untimely death in 2009.

Now what’s it REALLY about?

Portrait of an artist and all his many dark and luminous complexities.

Tell us briefly about yourself.

I hijacked the family’s Super-8 camera in grade school, and it never let me go. Enchanted early on by the work of independent filmmakers and various independent film movements throughout the world, the predicament of living in a town built on tent-poles and blockbusters is always good for a laugh.

Biggest challenge in completing this film?

The process of making this film reinforced some very negative stereotypes about unsavory characters operating within the music industry, however, it also reinforced my faith in the artist’s capacity to move people towards a higher consciousness.

What do you want the Tribeca audience to take away from your film?

In addition to a deeper appreciation of AM’s incredible talents, I trust the film will familiarize audiences with some of the dark and dangerous undercurrents of addiction and PTSD, and help foster more compassion for those under their spell.

Any films inspire you?

Moving pictures are mother’s milk. I can find inspiration in a ten second commercial and a nine hour movie. It’s a troubling affliction that I have no interest in curing.

What’s next?

I’m developing a digital project based on “The Wizard Of Oz” with Warner Bros’ new digital unit, Blue Ribbon.

What cameras did you shoot on?

Mainly Canon 5D, but “As I AM” also includes cell phone footage, Super 8, Hi-8, RED, etc.

Did you crowdfund?
If so, via what platform. If not, why?

No, but the fat lady hasn’t sung yet. Stay tuned.

Did you go to film school? If so, which one? 

Yes, I studied film at Loyola Marymount University.

Indiewire invited Tribeca Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they’re doing next. We’ll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2015 festival. For profiles go HERE.

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