Published Nov 29, 2010You won't find out about the impact an iPod commercial had on the career of Canadian chanteuse Feist in artful documentary Look At What the Light Did Now (out on DVD Dec. 7). Instead, this is an unusual peek into the collaborative process and team of artists required to put her name on the marquee. From the Paris recordings that resulted in The Reminder to the delicate detailing of Clea Minaker's shadow puppet show, rarely has an artist been so willing to deflect the spotlight away from themselves. "For me, it was so compelling to look at how beautifully Leslie, with a curator's hand, chose the artists she worked with to 'amplify' her music," offers producer Jannie McInnis. "For example, why she chose a shadow puppeteer over pyrotechnics for her arena tours."
Whether its musical collaborators Afie Jurvanen (aka Bahamas) or longtime co-conspirator Chilly Gonzales, visual artists like Minaker or "1234" video director Patrick Daughters, What the Light Did ventures deep inside the artistic process without being precious or pretentious. Instead of hammering home Feist's history of teamwork (sometime member of Broken Social Scene, her time as Peaches' hype-woman Bitch Lap Lap, even co-writing "1234" with Australian songwriter Sally Seltmann), those narrative links are only hinted at. "It was more interesting to document how the '1234' video was conceived from the points of view of Leslie, the director and choreographer, rather than just re-tell how the trajectory of Feist's career changed once it became an iPod commercial," McInnis offers. "I think the film offers up different ways of experiencing the music people know ―seeing the environment in which it was recorded or listening to it live from a video camera mic, i.e., how a concert would sound to one person standing in one place." Feist continues to make genius from simplicity and great work from letting talented people do their best.