Joe Berlinger joins BYOD to discuss his wide-ranging output over two decades of landmark documentary filmmaking. We go from the legal battles of “Brother’s Keeper,” to “Paradise Lost,” before going into the studio with Metallica and Paul Simon with “Some Kind of Monster,” and “Under African Skies.”
Joe also opens up about “Crude,” and the legal struggles that go along with making a film about the environmental havoc wrought by the oil industry.
Watch new episodes of BYOD live each week on Tuesdays at noon on TheLip.TV, or tune in for the archived replay starting here on the following Thursday.
BYOD is hosted by Ondi Timoner, director of “DIG!,” “JOIN US” and “WE LIVE IN PUBLIC,” and has the rare distinction of winning the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance twice. Each week the show explores a different documentary filmmaker or aspect of filmmaking, with special guests and a live Q&A– diving deep into creative process and the business realities of producing and distributing films. Ondi shares her insider views, opinions, and personal stories, welcoming audience participation. BYOD aims to entertain, inform, and elevate documentaries in general by bringing attention to films and film makers that deserve exposure.
Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker Joe Berlinger has been a leading voice in nonfiction film and television for two decades. Berlinger’s films include the landmark documentaries BROTHER’S KEEPER, PARADISE LOST, and METALLICA: SOME KIND OF MONSTER, a film that re-defined the rockumentary genre. CRUDE, about oil pollution in the Amazon Rainforest, won 22 human rights, environmental and film festival awards and recently triggered a high-profile First Amendment battle with oil-giant Chevron.
Five of Berlinger’s documentary features, including his 2012 Paul Simon documentary UNDER AFRICAN SKIES, have premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, earning three Grand Jury Prize nominations. He has also received multiple awards from the Directors Guild of America, the National Board of Review and the Independent Spirit Awards. Berlinger’s UNDER AFRICAN SKIES was just nominated for three primetime Emmy awards, including Outstanding Nonfiction Special.
00:01 Welcome to BYOD
00:30 Introducing Joe Berlinger.
01:51 “Some Kind of Monster,” and “DIG!” tour the world.
04:00 The uniting theme of Joe’s work.
04:26 “Brother’s Keeper,” Clip.
07:18 Arriving at the story of “Brother’s Keeper,” and exploding stereotypes.
11:17 Allowing the audience to come to their own conclusion.
14:15 The use of music to enhance a documentary and finding the emotional truth of the subject.
17:10 Different motivations for making films: Advocacy, Journalism and Storytelling.
19:35 “Brother’s Keeper,” Clip.
21:27 Creating a debate among the audience.
25:25 “Brother’s Keeper,” Clip. Community party.
28:51 The shoot on Paradise Lost.
30:30 “Paradise Lost,” Clip. “
30:58 From serving life without parole to the red carpet. The media arc and discarded theories on the case.
39:02 “Paradise Lost 3,” Clip. Visiting Damian 10 years later.
40:58 Telling the story of the West Memphis Three for nearly 20 years.
42:12 The connection to Metallica and working with the band.
46:35 “Some Kind of Monster,” Clip. Jason Newstead on therapy.
47:00 The cameras forcing the band to take therapy seriously.
49:26 “Some Kind of Monster,” Clip. Creative tension.
49:51 Working on “Under African Skies.”
50:56 “Under African Skies,” Dali Tambo meeting.
51:08 Revisiting the controversy and backlash against Graceland.
55:14 “Under African Skies,” Clip. Studio footage.
55:30 Brilliant (and forgotten) archival footage from the studio, and the lightning fast shoot.
56:30 Paul Simon and Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s working relationship.
59:11 Legal battles at the hand of Chevron and the fallout from “Crude.”
1:01:14 “Crude,” Clip. A mother’s story from the Amazon.
1:03:36 Reluctance to making the film in the first place, and confronting the deeper issues.
1:05:20 The first amendment battle against Chevron.
1:06:24 Reaching out to high-profile friends and getting support.
1:07:37 “Crude,” Clip. Trudie Styler’s visit.
1:09:19 Thanks and Goodbye.