While in Austin last month, we caught up with Michael Bonfiglio, co-director of May It Last: A Portrait of The Avett Brothers (the much loved US band) with Judd Apatow. We spoke about premiering the film at the iconic SXSW festival and working with (and discovering) the band across the album three years it took to bring this project to the screen.
What does it mean to be premiering this film today at SXSW? Is there a better place to premiere a music documentary?
There is no better place as far as I’m concerned. I mean when we realised we had a movie and were closing in on a rough cut, we kind of dreamed about premiering it here. There couldn’t be a more natural place. So when they saw it and accepted it, we were just completed floored and super excited.
There was a two year process being making this movie.
Almost three, over three even.
What were the biggest challenges in delivering this final product?
Using the making of the album as our basic narrative structure, we knew that there would be an endpoint. So that was helpful. It was more about when we knew we had a story that went beyond just “this is the making of an album”. That would only be of interest to hardcore fans and those who are really interested in the creative musical process.
While I hope this film satisfies those people as well, I hope we succeeded in making a film which will appeal to people who aren’t interested in the making of an album. That the film goes beyond that.
How did you initially discover the band?
Judd (Apatow) introduced me to them. I recall hearing them in the end credits of his movie This is 40, but then he called me about making the film, and I immediately downloaded everything and became a fan pretty quickly!
And now you’re a fan whether you like it or not! All those edits…
A proud fan! I just listened to them yesterday. I honestly don’t get bored of them. They’re just that great.
May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers will screen on HBO in the US later this year. Australian release details are to be confirmed. The latest Avett Brothers record True Sadness is out now. You can read our interview with the band about the film over on our music sister site the AU review HERE.