INTERVIEW: David Julian Leonard on Big Star: Live In Memphis

Big Star: Live In Memphis is screening at GFT on Thursday 07/08. Filmmaker and photographer David Julian Leonard edited the concert film from footage that had been left in a cupboard for almost 20 years. Filmed in 1994 at one of Big Star’s first reunion tours, it’s the result of a rare concession to cameras on the part of Alex Chilton and a “seat-of-their-pants” effort to put together a four-man film crew at the last minute. As they rarely performed live in their early 70s heyday and were even more rarely recorded, the film is the only professionally-filmed record of a whole Big Star show.

I spoke to Leonard about his experiences approaching the raw footage after all this time and his friendship with the sadly departed singer Chilton. He told me, “The GFT asked who should be credited as the director, and I said, ‘Well, I don’t know. I don’t think it has a director.’ They said, ‘No, that can’t be! How about we just credit all three of you as the director?’ The three of us who are the producers, and I’m the editor. So I said, ‘OK, fine.’ Then we were figuring out, ‘How do we list the credits here?’ Officially, it’s going to say, ‘Directed without a net.’ It was like a high-wire act, and these guys did it.”

You can read the full interview over at GFT’s website, here.

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