Davis Guggenheim and the feathered fish

Film maker Davis Guggenheim says someone in his team told him just before his film “An Inconvenient Truth” went before an audience for the first time that his movie was “a feathered fish.”

“What’s that?” Guggenheim asked.

“It doesn’t swim and it doesn’t fly,” came the terse response.

“And this is someone who’s supposed to like the film,” Guggenheim says. Then a studio executive told them no-one would pay to see the film.

Of course it then went to the Sundance Film Festival, became a box office smash, and won the best documentary Oscar.

“And then going with (Al Gore) to get the Nobel Peace Prize, that was pretty cool,” he laughs.

Looking back though, he says they made the film in a vacuum, and that was ultimately a good thing. They were convinced that they had an important message to spread, and they were shielded from common wisdom which might have scuppered them.

Guggenheim was in the Twin Cities to talk about his new documentary “It Might Get Loud.” It is is built around the meeting of three rock guitar legends: Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, U2’s The Edge, and Jack White of the White Stripes.

He says he didn’t want to make a traditional rock film, and he has succeeded. He interviewed all three of his subjects separately on their home turf and then put them together on a giant soundset in Hollywood (he say’s it’s where they filmed “The Perfect Storm”) and made them talk to one another.

While nominally about the art and science of the electric guitar, the film delves into what it means to be an artist, and how each of these three musicians developed their own approach to what they do.

And then they jam together. It’s a fascinating piece of film as three icons from very different parts of the rock world watch and learn from one other.

The film opens in the Twin Cities in late August. We’ll have a piece closer to that time but in the meantime here is the trailer.

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