Earlier today, the Toronto International Film Festival announced the line-up for its Mavericks program, and our eye went immediately to THE LOVE WE MAKE, a decade-in-the-making look at Paul McCartney's organizing of The Concert for New York, a charity response to 9/11, directed by Albert Maysles and Bradley Kaplan.
The film is set to air on Showtime on September 10 (TIFF opens on the 8th), and McCartney showed up via satellite recently at the Television Critics Association summer press tour to talk about the film - and about his history with the Maysles:
"I first met Albert and his brother David," McCartney recalled, "when we came to America, came to New York, and they were filming us." Their manager, Brian Epstein, had been approached by the Maysles brothers with a pitch to film them in a new way: cinema verite.
"Well, we were very big fans of that," McCartney continued. "That was kind of happening in Europe at the same time it was happening in America. So we loved the idea." And when the quartet met the duo, the Maysles brothers sealed the deal when the Beatles asked what the filmmakers wanted them to do. The reply: "We want you to just ignore us."
McCartney smiled widely. "We thought that was the best piece of direction we'd ever received. 'Oh, ignore you? Yeah, we can do that. I can ignore anyone.' So we did, and we just had a great time. And they were right to direct us in that way, because we completely forget they were there. And so the film is very natural. We'd be in our hotel rooms, talking to deejays, talking to each other. And they would just be behind the couch, filming very quietly."
We talked with Mavericks Programmer (as well as the Documentary Programmer at TIFF) Thom Powers about the new Maysles film, plus the latest collaboration between Jonathan Demme and Neil Young, as well as some of the major titles in the previously announced TIFF documentary line-up, including the very current - and apparently in furious re-edit mode - PARADISE LOST 3.
All these wonderful things: The thing that jumped out at me immediately in the things that you are announcing (today) is, of course, the Maysles/Paul McCartney film. Do you have any more to say about that?
Thom Powers: Well, you know, it's not often that I see a 16mm, black and white film these days that's brand new. It's kind of exciting and even more exciting when Al Maysles is behind it. I really think one of the things that stands out in this film is that quality of Maysles' camera work. It's shot just a few weeks after September 11, and everyone is a little dazed. One of the most memorable moments of the film to me is the scene where Bill Clinton comes backstage to say hello to McCartney. And you have to remember that Clinton has only been out of office for 8 or 9 months and Maysles has a way of capturing that moment that feels very loaded with subtext.