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Baker's Dozen

"Shy People Telling Small Stories, Quietly": Jeanie Finlay's Favourite Films
Adrian Lobb , April 24th, 2014 10:40

Jeanie Finlay, director of Sound It Out and The Great Hip Hop Hoax picks her favourite films, and talks about the final days of fundraising on her next documentary, Orion


The Agony And Ecstasy Of Phil Spector (2009, Vikram Jayanti)
This is an amazing music film. A lot of the films I make have music in, but I don't call myself a music filmmaker. I ran a panel at Sheffield last year called 'Just Don't Call It A Music Doc'. It was something I was told by a senior commissioner at the BBC. I was told I would never win an award and would always be seen as a niche filmmaker. Music filmmakers are the horror films of the documentary world – you will always be shown at festivals, but you will never be in competition or never win an award. That is not so true now, because 20 Feet From Stardom and ...Sugarman both won Oscars. They are breaking the mould a bit. Any film I make, even if it has music in, needs another reason to be made. There has to be another story. And this film is fucking fantastic. It is part of the Arena strand, and I think Arena is the great unsung hero of the BBC. It has been a great pleasure to get to know Anthony Wall [producer], who is a really clever and brilliant man. This film is fantastic, it is not a boring late night doc about his songs – it interweaves the songs he created, the choices he made and his murder trial. So you see the work he made and the impact he had, but also this really compelling narrative about his murder trial. You hear and see the video for 'He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss)' intercut with his girlfriend miming the fact he used to put a gun in his mouth. It is amazing. It is slightly pretentious, but I will forgive it anything. It demonstrates the idea that in a music doc, the music is not enough, and old blokes in a well-lit room talking about how great music is? That is definitely not enough!