Feist doc turns amp to intimate

It’s not about what you know, but the people you surround yourself with that make you a better person, according to a new documentary detailing the making of Leslie Feist’s The Reminder.

The film, Look at What the Light Did Now (LAWTLDN), details her creative process, and shows the people she chooses to surround herself with.

Feist describes these people as amplifiers. Her collaborators and friends all brought their own flavours to the mix to make a sound that is distinctly hers.

“Play through the wrong amp, and you end up sounding like Dire Straits,” she said in her opening interview of the film.

Director and producer Anthony Seck shot LAWTLDN on Super 8 and HDSR over a four-year period, but the doc wasn’t meant to be a feature film.

“When the Reminder started up, Leslie called on me to help her do some promo stuff:
webisodes, behind the scenes of her videos, or intimate stuff of her playing in a field.
“But they became a little bit more,” said Seck.

Seck interviewed about 50 people, and shot over 700 hours worth of film.

“I really took steps to capture more than just the video, but something that showed the process and mechanics,” said Seck.
“There was something quite special going on there, especially with the video 1,2,3,4. It felt like an art piece.”

As a result, the film has an intimate feel where people’s personalities shine through. Mixing interviews, concerts and studio recordings, without filtering out any of the background noises, puts the viewer in the room, the crowd, or the house in France where the album was made.

“I want to hear mistakes. I want to have a margin for error,” said Feist in the film.

More than that, Feist wanted to extend her story-telling ideas out of the audio world and into the visual.

Clea Minaker, a shadow puppeteer, and the newest member of the band took on the role of visual storytelling to expand the music.

Using three different types of projectors, mixing old technology with new, Minaker amplified the audience experience with live art shows for each song.

“Leslie was really fascinated with how the visual story was being told behind her with the music, and thought it would be good to capture,” said Seck.

LAWTLDN is screening at Cantos Music Foundation on Nov. 24.

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