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AN INTERVIEW WITH “THE OTHERSIDE OF THE MIRROR: BOB DYLAN LIVE AT THE NEWPORT FOLK FESTIVAL 1963-1965” FILMMAKER MURRAY LERNER

AN INTERVIEW WITH "THE OTHERSIDE OF THE MIRROR: BOB DYLAN LIVE AT THE NEWPORT FOLK FESTIVAL 1963-1965" FILMMAKER MURRAY LERNER

By Maria Esteves - November 12, 2007

 

The CMJ Music Marathon & Film Festival 2007 (CMJ07), Premiere film of THE OTHERSIDE OF THE MIRROR: BOB DYLAN LIVE AT THE NEWPORT FOLK FESTIVAL 1963-1965, directed by Murray Lerner, was held at the IFC Center, Thursday, October 18, 11:15 A.M. A special Q&A immediately followed with Director Murray Lerner moderated by Independent Documentary Producer Robert Frye. Academy Award winner, Director Murray Lerner was interviewed on Thursday, October 18, 2:00 P.M.

 

ME: What inspired you to release the film footage of Bob Dylan live at the Newport Folk Festival during 1963-1965?

ML: I always thought it's a remarkable development to see his music at Newport. I was inspired by the subject matter and by my understanding of it. I wanted to release it many years ago, but couldn't get the rights. There's a concatenation of interest in Dylan in this period. It makes it more than a coincidental that it's released now.

In 1974, my footage came to the attention of Dylan's executive producer Jeff Rosen. Jeff made an agreement to purchase the film footage and allow me to make the film THE OTHERSIDE OF THE MIRROR after Martin Scorsese film NO DIRECTION HOME was released so it wouldn't conflict. He got the rights to use some of this material in NO DIRECTION HOME however, 70% isn't. The timing to allow my film to be released now is perfect.

 

ME: How long did it take to make the film?

ML: The footage was shot in 1963 through 1965. The early phase of the edit was done in 1973, six years after I released my film on the Newport Folk Festival called FESTIVAL. The final phase of the edit was done in 2006. We had four hours of Dylan footage imbedded in 102 hours of material. We had to segregate the material.

ME: What has been the audience reaction?

ML: The audience reaction has been incredible. I'm really pleased and startled because it struck a nerve no question about it, both on the inspiration that Dylan supplied in his imaginative use of lyrics in his music as well as the change in Dylan. To see him going from a young nervous callow youth to a rock star is quiet startling and amazes people.

The idea of calling the film THE OTHERSIDE OF THE MIRROR was more than a reflection of a generation at the time. Dylan led them into his world and gave them new insight that they didn't have not just reflecting what they were thinking.

ME: What film festival was THE OTHERSIDE OF THE MIRROR introduced?

ML: In 2007, the film premiered to a sold out audience at The 45th New York Film Festival thanks to Richard Pena who has fantastic insight to good films.

ME: What films have you directed?

ML: In 2007, AMAZING JOURNEY: THE STORY OF THE WHO. In 2004, MILES ELECTRIC: A DIFFERENT KIND OF BLUE. In 1997, MESSAGE OF LOVE: THE ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL. In 1981, FROM MAO TO MOZART - ISAAC STERN IN CHINA was an Academy Award winner for Best Documentary. In 1967, the Newport film called FESTIVAL was an Academy Award nominee.

I was very big in the 3d film industry. In 1982, I did a film for EPCOT Center called MAGIC JOURNEYS. In 1978, SEA DREAM premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, and many others.

ME: Will THE OTHERSIDE OF THE MIRROR be released theatrically?

ML: In October, it was released at the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center in Mill Valley, north of San Francisco; in Hartford, CT; The BBC Arena and it premiered at the BFI National Film Theatre in England. In November, at The Egyptian Theatre together with the film FESTIVAL in Hollywood, CA; at the Walter Reade Theater and the Village Cinema in New York. In December, at The Belcourt Theatre in Nashville, TN. The DVD is available in England and in the United States.

ME: Any new projects in the works?

ML: I have a lot of new projects in the works. I'm doing a film in India about ecstatic mysticism that goes back 400 years called GOD IS MAD: INTOXICATED WITH LOVE. I'm about to do a film on Joni Mitchell, The Moody Blues, and others.

ME: Thank you, Murray.

For more information contact: mlerner@mlffilms.com

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