Shot over four years, 'Look At What The Light Did Now', directed by Anthony Seck, is an intimate document of the transition Feist underwent from resolutely underground arty compatriot of Canadian rapper, Chilly Gonzales to the Sesame-Street cameo-ing pop star of million-selling album, 'The Reminder'. More than anything, this film serves as proof that the bottled lightning that goes into making a career-defining album is often more than the work of just the artist, highlighting the alchemical relationships Feist formed with her collaborators (or “amplifiers” as she refers to them) from shadow puppeteer, Clea Minaker to video director, Patrick Daughters who directed her Busby Berkeley style in the award-winning video for “1-2-3-4”. As Dazed exclusively preview a clip from the documentary, featuring Feist and Gonzales, we also chatted to Anthony Seck.
Dazed Digital: How did you get involved in making the movie?
Anthony Seck: I’m good friends with Kevin and Brendan from Broken Social Scene (of which Feist is an occasional member) and I got to play on the first record. Through that I became friends with Leslie. Leslie hired me because I would disappear and make something interesting. I knew there were intimate moments happening, excitement and colour. I knew there was a potential for it being used one day. The film was like a tiny piece of a puzzle that grew to become a film.
DD: What struck me about the film is that trying to make a successful album is like trying to bottle lightning.
Anthony Seck: That’s a lovely impression, we should have called the movie “Bottled Lightning”! There’s something about Leslie that she thinks about memory. Making the movie was the intention to record for the sake of memory and reflection. She likes to look at things from different perspectives and take it to a new place. But magic happens when you allow magic to happen. There’s a lot of trust with her “amplifiers” and when you have that, you can take it to another level.
DD: What’s missing is the sturm und drang of other rock and roll documentaries and it’s interesting how it instead focuses on the creative process.
Anthony Seck: I think that kind of stuff is always there. I think it’s easy to film it to create drama. There was a conscious effort to not go to that place because it becomes gossip almost. The film is a lot about what it is to create. The movie was more about what is creativity? That alone is enough of personal drama.
DD: What’s apparent is how uncomfortable Feist is with the concept of fame. So I imagine that watching herself on screen for 90 minutes must have been hard.
Anthony Seck: I think it’s hard for anyone who’s trying to maintain a sense of privacy, truth and integrity to what they do. In the film, someone says, “It’s really weird to watch one person for an hour.” Well it’s even weirder to watch yourself for an hour. Film is so definite – it’s not like playing a gig or in the theatre where you get to do it over again. But Leslie is getting more comfortable with that.
Look At What The Light Did Now was produced by Jannie McInnes. Read the Feist interview in the current Dazed & Confused issue. It's out on DVD with a bonus CD on December 6 and the ICA screening with a Q&A by Skype with Feist and Anthony Seck is on December 3 at 6:30pm