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To begin with, we went to the edit suite where they made AMY, which was really interesting because I absolutely loved the film, and it was really quite strange to be where they made it and put it together. That was with Chris, the editor and James, the producer. I thought Chris was really, really interesting because he was the one that had to piece all the material together, which was so many different things and he'd worked for hours and hours and hours to put it all together.
Meanwhile James had a run on the whole process and had asked the interviewees to get involved. We also looked at a clip from the film in detail and how they layered lots of different levels with it, so they had the music from Amy, they had lyrics, and they had photographs and home videos of her, and it was really fascinating to see how that all played out.
Then after that we zipped off to meet Asif Kapadia, the director, who is one of my all-time favourite filmmakers, so that was really fantastic to see him and he spoke a lot about Amy herself, and what responsibility he had to portray her, and also what his inspirations were - and he talked about one of his teachers from school which was really nice to hear.
I absolutely love Senna, which all three of them had worked on before. Its about a racing driver and I have absolutely no interest in racing but I loved that. I'd seen it before, but I went to see a Q&A screening at the cinema about a year and half ago with Asif Kapadia attending. When I was there he mentioned he was making this film with Amy Winehouse and I was really, really excited for it because Amy is one of my favourite artists and I really wanted to know more about her so I was really intrigued by it.
After that, Asif actually invited me to a very early screening of AMY six months later, to see an early cut of the film, which I fell in love with instantly, and we talked about it afterwards and I couldn't stop thinking about it, and thinking about her, and listening to her music. It was really nice today to come full circle and speak to Asif again after it's been completed and after it's had such a good response.
I think it's really fascinating because even though I obviously didn't have much of a role in it at all, just to be able to see the film from really early on was really fantastic, and I spoke to the editor today and he said he remembered the sheet I'd written my first responses on when I saw the early cut, which was really amazing to hear. He said that all of those responses were taken into account when they reedited it.
I think what I'll take away from this experience is how much time went into this film. Even though you might think "oh, they didn't have to actually produce any material", they had to really work with and fine-tune everything they did have, which causes a whole load of problems itself. So I think the process of making an archive documentary is very, very different from fiction feature films, and other documentaries where they have talking head shots.
I think for me the best thing was that the editor remembered my responses to the first screening and that, in a way, I had my own say over the film. Also I just absolutely adored the film and talking about Amy Winehouse and seeing what it was like when she was around, and seeing what all her friends had to say about her.
REVIEW - PERHAPS TO INTEGRATE ABOVE?
Directed by one of my all-time favourite filmmakers, Asif Kapadia (Senna, The Warrior), AMY is a feature-length documentary film charting the tumultuous career and tragic passing of late jazz singer, Amy Winehouse.
The film begins with her childhood, using a blend of archive materials (including old home videos, personal photographs and performance footage) and interviews (with her closest friends, family and colleagues), to paint a portrait of the troubled, yet immensely talented artist. The footage witnesses Winehouse at her highest and at her lowest, the filmmakers beautifully weaving together both momentous and banal moments from her life, inviting the audience to join the young North London musician on her journey.
This is a story about addiction, fame, fear, music, pain and love, a mirror to her music. Kapadia's choice to have her songs the backbone to the film is genius, her lyrics becoming more poignant, touching and haunting as the story unfolds.
AMY will rip your heart in two and sew it back up again; I cannot stop thinking about this film and would recommend it to anybody.