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Hot Docs 2024: Qs à la mode with… Michael Mabbott & Lucah Rosenberg-Lee (Any Other Way: The Jackie Shane Story)

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Co-directors Michael Mabbott and Lucah Rosenberg-Lee craft a loving tribute to the life, career and legacy of a trailblazing performer in their film Any Other Way: The Jackie Shane Story. We posed our Qs à la mode to the directing duo, and here’s what they shared!

 

If we had to describe our film using only three adjectives, they would be: Redemptive, surprising, inspiring.

We decided to make this film because: Jackie’s story was all but erased and at risk of being forgotten. And it was an incredible story of courage, integrity and joy. We felt that the world needed to hear it now more than ever. And it was a story that personally we needed to hear, to give us courage to live our own lives with the aspiration to have even a little bit of the strength and integrity that Jackie had. 

The thing that surprised us most about our film’s subject/topic was: Jackie’s joy. Despite everything that Jackie went through, despite all the hate and evil she encountered, she never succumbed to it. She rose above. She led with her talent, her truth and her joy.

The toughest part of the shoot was: Moving all of Jackie’s belongings out of a storage locker, where the family had hidden them immediately after Jackie passed away. Jackie had kept everything: all her stage outfits, all her jewellery, hundreds and hundreds of photos, journals, press clippings, a handwritten autobiography, hundreds of 45s and reel-to-reel tapes, including unreleased recordings she’d made. She also had artwork and an amazing old and very heavy bicycle.

When our very small crew arrived in Nashville in the middle of a southern heat wave, our first task was moving her entire archive from the locker to a stunning white studio space and unpacking it all. This was not just physically tough; it also created a really wonderful but kinda tough creative problem to solve. How do we make sense of everything Jackie left, and how do we incorporate it and articulate it into a film? And on an emotional level, being in that space, surrounded by all of Jackie’s things, reading her autobiography and hearing the pain that she was in at certain parts of her life — that was tough. We all loved Jackie so much and were all a bit overwhelmed by her presence, which we were feeling through the treasures she left behind. There were tears, sweat and more tears. 

Our favorite moment/scene/sequence in our film is: Any of the scenes where Jackie is talking to us. Her voice was the guiding light of this film. And the rotoscope animation that we use to bring these scenes to life is stunning. These scenes are intimate, and it feels like Jackie is speaking right to you. 

Our most invaluable piece of doc-making equipment was/is: Tissues. It was an emotional shoot for everyone involved. 

One piece of documentary-filmmaking advice we’d like to share with aspiring documentarians is: This sounds trite but: only work on films that you are beyond passionate about. A film takes so much work, so much time, so much heartache and stress that to work on something you don’t love seems not worth it and, moreover, unsustainable. 

 

Want to check out their film, or just learn more about it?
Get the scoop, and your tickets, here!

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