Cinema Retro columnist Todd Garbarini (L) with directors Scot McFayden and Sam Dunn at the Tribeca Film Festival.
By Todd Garbarini
RUSH: BEYOND THE LIGHTED STAGE is a documentary about Canada’s holy rock trio, Rush, which is comprised of Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart.The film, which runs a few minutes shy of two hours and is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray, chronicles the friendship and working relationship of these three highly-talented musicians which date back to 1974.
Winning the Tribeca Film Festival Audience Award, the film will also be in competition at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards in February 2011.Could an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary be far behind?
I had the opportunity to speak with the film’s directors, Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen, at the Tribeca Film Festival in April several hours prior to the film’s premiere there.
Todd Garbarini: Sam, how did you and Scot meet?
Sam Dunn: Well, we first met in Victoria, British Columbia in 1993.I grew up there, and Scot had moved out there.We met in the music scene.I was playing in a band, and Scot was promoting shows.Then, Scot moved to Toronto, and I subsequently moved to Toronto to go to the university, and we were friends.I wanted to write a book about heavy metal, and Scot asked me, “What about a documentary?”And the rest, as they say, is history.We made our first movie together, METAL: A HEADBANGER’S JOURNEY.Then we did GLOBAL METAL, followed by IRON MAIDEN: FLIGHT 666.So, RUSH: BEYOND THE LIGHTED STAGE is our fourth movie together.
Scot McFadyen: I've always been involved in film and theater.I used to direct theater, and I've also done a lot of writing.When I moved to Toronto, I worked in film for quite a few years.When I met Sam, he was a student and didn't have the goal to work in film.He was leaning more towards going for academics or writing, and we had many discussions about it and that's what led to us making films together.
Todd Garbarini: How long has the idea of actually making a film about Rush been with you?Was it something that you had thought about for a long time or did it come up on a spur-of-the- moment?
Scot McFadyen:We were in the midst of making GLOBAL METAL, and I had just gone off to Mexico.While I was there, I started thinking about it.You know, in this business you always have to be thinking about the future and pretty much what your next project is going to be.And I started thinking about Rush, and we had actually interviewed Geddy for METAL: A HEADBANGER’S JOURNEY.And I just really felt at that time that Rush was a band that was deserving of their own documentary.This was around Christmas 2006.In January 2007, I e-mailed the management at Anthem-SRO about setting up a meeting with Rush, but it wasn't until mid-August 2007 while they were on the SNAKES & ARROWS tour that we met with them in a room while they were in Dallas.We were nervous, and they wanted to ask us some questions before they fully agreed to us doing the documentary.Geddy first said that he didn't believe that they were interesting enough.And we told them that we disagreed, and Neil asked me what our angle was going to be, and how would we tell their story.And I told him that we didn't really know yet, actually.I told him that I knew that it would take a lot of research as well as a lot of interviewing all of them before we would decide which way to go.Sam and I didn't really know ourselves how it was going to end up, honestly.It turned out to be a weird clincher in a way, because Neil appreciated that.He liked the fact that we weren’t just there to feed him some line.
Sam Dunn: I think a lot of people want to know your angle from the outset.They want to know what you're doing, and what your intentions are.And I think that it was pretty refreshing for Scot and I to know that Geddy, Alex, and Neil were sort of comforted by the fact that we weren’t really sure what the direction was going to be yet.I think that’s a testament to the fact that they trusted us on some level, and also they understand the creative process.They understand that it takes time to put something together because they spend a lot of time putting their albums together, and they know that it probably takes about two years to put something together if it's going to be a product of really good quality.
Scot McFadyen:Especially Neil, because he's a writer.He understands the writing process, of having an idea and not knowing what the story is going to be.
With only a short time to go until Christmas, some of you may still be looking for ideas for the perfect gift. Well look no further. Here is a small list of suggested goodies from our own Christmas list, and any of these will bring a smile to the face of your classic movie lover when they find them under the tree.
Psycho: 50th Anniversary Edition
It is difficult to believe that this film is now fifty years old. Seen here in a pristine transfer, it seems just as fresh, original and shocking as it must have been to those first cinema audiences in 1960. Much has been written about Psycho, not least within the pages of this magazine, so there is no need for me to sing its praises here. This is one of the best Blu-ray releases of 2010 and should be in every home. Alongside the film itself you can enjoy a huge amount of extra features, many of which are exclusive to this release and include a feature-length documentary, archive material, a full commentary and 20 page booklet.
Billy Wilder's Some Like It Hot Commemorative Book with DVD
Alison Castle, Dan Auiler
Hardcover + DVD, 36 x 22.5 cm (14.2 x 8.9 in.), 384 pages
Some Like It Hot is one of the greatest comedy films ever made, and this book serves as a celebration and tribute to the stars and Billy Wilder himself. You'll find the original first draft of the script with annotations and photos, as well as in-depth interviews and archival material. There are some excellent candid photos and the truth of Marilyn Monroe's problems on and off set are laid bare. The book even comes with a DVD of the movie, so you can imagine that you bought the film and got the best DVD extra ever.