It’s been just a few weeks that the documentary “Changing time” has been released online and I’m amazed by the attention and outpour of positive feedback it has gotten so quickly. So, I thought I’d write a few lines to comment on how it all came to be as additional footage that has not made the final cut of the documentary is being released now.
About four years ago my friend and drummer Alexis Amitrigala approached me with the idea to make a documentary about me and my work with Nerve for Swiss national television station SRF. He suggested this to me not just as a reportage but he wanted my input in shaping the narrative of the film.
Although flattered, I wasn’t sure how to handle this proposition at first. While i’m a big fan of movies and specifically documentaries, I had difficulties to envision putting the frame of a biographical film around myself.
What was this going to be and what is the necessity for it?
I’ve seen many documentaries about bands and musicians and while there are many great films among them, I often I feel disenchanted by the promotional nature of some documentaries. Especially if the artist had a hand in the production.
Sometimes their resemblance to Spinal Tap is just uncanny.
Scenes where the artist gets up in the morning and eats breakfast before his daily meditation, then montages of him behind a grand piano with a pencil, covered in music charts. Then we also have the scene at the airport with the lost luggage, the backstage fight with the manager (or the director himself) and also the testimonials of famous people going on what a badd ass or crazy mother the artist is. There’s also the exploitive situation when a directors puts the spotlight on a cheap thrill at the expense of the artist like the popular hollywood ruse to issue a warning that genius always comes with the price tag of a fucked up personality and unhappy life.
So having a movie made about oneself can be a minefield of cheese and other pitfalls.
But over a span of two years, Alexis and I had many philosophical discussions, most of them leading up into the wee hours of daybreak.
And at some point i realized that my own story and his concern had a common thread.
The state of culture in the early 21st century. The entrapment in 20th century protocol, the confusion, the loss of integrity and excellence: The apparent stagnation of mainstream culture despite thousands of microscopic cells of forward thinking artists.
So the underlying question of why to make a movie was articulated.
What does a forward thinking artist do in a climate of cultural regression? How can we move forward when everything moves backwards?
It was at that point where I decided to collaborate in order to put that claim forward in showing how I and NERVE approach these challenges and navigate through times that are not conducive to new and authentic artistic expression.
In the process Alexis put together an amazing team to follow me and NERVE around the world for 18 month.
Immediately, the team realized that they had to learn a new language to capture the highly improvisational nature of my modus operandi. Nothing could be pre planed or scripted. Many great moments were captured by chance and many got lost because the opportunity passed too fast to get the cameras ready.
Many standard approaches or editing concepts had to be thrown overboard, often to the dismay of the producing entities.
Many beautiful scenes ended up on the cutting room floor due to network protocol and format, but we will now be able to show them to you as SRF has granted us permission to produce and release a number of separate clips and deleted scenes over the next couple of weeks.
It has to be mentioned that this was Alexis’ directional debut. And he has not only made a visually beautiful movie (with the help of cameraman Sergio Cassini), but accomplished the difficult task to capture much of the essence of my viewpoints and crafted a sensitive and honest portrait which hopefully will inspire others to take the road less travelled.
For this I am extremely thankful to him and I feel honored to have been a part of it.
Thanks for watching!
Jojo Mayer

“CHANGING TIME” DOCUMENTARY: DELETED SCENES! was last modified: June 29th, 2017 by Nerve

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