The intimate and invigorating atmosphere of the documentary Billie Eilish: The world is a bit hazy emerged because the pop singer at her center grew up trusting the filmmakers enough to reveal her private pain on her own terms, the film’s director revealed.
“We achieved intimacy because Billie and her family were open and available and wanted to tell their story,” RJ Cutler said at the Deadline’s Contenders Film documentary awards season event. He said he spent a year and a half building a relationship with Eilish’s inner circle. “We develop trust and engage with them in the process of truth, and the process of truth fundamentally understands that the story belongs to the subject. Our only desire is to see what happens, to experience Billie’s life, and to be able to tell this story when it’s over.
“Over time, trust grows, you connect with your subjects in deeper and deeper ways. Said Cutler, who perfected his craft early on working with “master” documentary filmmakers DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus on The war room. “In my experience… the topic opens up and if you do your job right, you are really going to get to the heart of some real truths.
Cutler noted that the teenage musician’s notebook, in which she wrote the lyrics for her debut album and developed other creative endeavors, became “a character in the film” after Eilish revealed that she ‘had also used to record darker personal experiences.
“It was also a diary, and this diary reflected a very difficult time in her life, where she was, she was struggling,” he explained, noting that it was only after his team had gained his confidence that Eilish revealed his difficulties.
“It’s not like we’re saying ‘We want to see the notebook, we want to see the notebook,” Cutler said. “There was a day towards the end of the process where Billie said to us, ‘I want to show you this,’ and she opened up the part of the notebook that she had never revealed to anyone before. the part of the notebook that really reflected her most difficult days – it cut in. It was very difficult and painful.
“But that was really part of who she was, who she became, who she is, and it was important for her to tell that part of her story,” he added.
The film’s cinematographer, Jenna Rosher, said she was deeply moved by the intense connection Eilish inspired in her young fans. “I would literally cry crying during the meeting and the greetings… because they are so intense and so moving,” Rosher revealed. “They’re like hugging her and saying, ‘You saved my life. Billie. You don’t understand: I wouldn’t be here without you. There was a moment like a mother and a daughter that I remember filming – it stayed with me for weeks – and it was a mother saying, “You saved my daughter’s life.
Check back Tuesday for the panel video.