Bert Jansch – Dreamweaver

Way back in 1999 I shot and directed a documentary about Bert Jansch called Dreamweaver. It was made with no money, shot on borrowed cameras, and took a year to make. Late in the production we managed to get a meeting with the head of 4Music. On the back of that meeting, we were given enough money to pay the cost of post-production, and a slot on Channel 4. Dreamweaver aired 28 June 2000. Yesterday I was trawling YouTube, and came across Dreamweaver in its entirety.

I can only think Bert’s recent death prompted its appearance. In many ways it’s a film for his fans. There are full performances from Bert, no talking heads getting in the way of his playing. Not my choice. Personally I think that was a mistake, I think it detracts from what could have been a more fluid telling of his story, but that was the agreement the producer made with Bert, and those were the parameters I had to work within. That’s why, every so often you get those textured wipes. It was my attempt to differentiate elements of the story that would normally have been defined by music. I have to say I was a little surprised to see it there on YouTube. I’ve seen clips, one or two songs here and there, but not the whole thing. Truthfully I don’t know how I feel about its appearance. Ideas about copyright, ownership, and getting paid, all come to mind. Some fairly primal emotions are dragged up when I think about the production, especially the latter stages. Suffice it to say, the producer and I went our separate ways, and I haven’t seen him since. All I can do now is tell myself what I told myself back then, I didn’t do it for the money, I did it for the experience, for the credit. At least the YouTube uploader was kind enough to list me as the director.


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