British director Baillie Walsh was at work on his next feature film when he got a call from a producer with whom he had worked on the 2007 Oasis concert film Lord Don't Slow Me Down. He had a choice. He could continue to work on his movie or he could set aside his feature film and fly out to New Jersey to meet Bruce Springsteen to talk to him about Springsteen & I, a flick featuring rare concert footage and fan testimonials.
"I said gimme an hour to think about it," he recalls. "I thought, 'Just go and do it.'"
He immediately flew to a Springsteen show in Jersey and briefly met the man backstage before the concert began.
"I didn't come to this as a fan," he says. "My first experience was when I came to meet him to talk him into making the film. It was a great experience. He was incredibly charming. It was our first meeting. We didn't need to talk him into it. He really liked the idea. He was incredibly trusting. I knew I couldn't do it without access, and they didn't want editorial control. It was amazing."
Walsh then sifted through some 2000 films submitted by fans; he used a star rating system to figure out which footage to include. And he set about constructing some kind of order too.
"I can't think of a better rock star or subject to get fans to talk about," he says of the film, which shows at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, July 22, and Tuesday, July 30, at area movie theaters. "We start with the children whose experience was when they were 9 years old. Then we go into the young girl who likes him because he makes the most effort. People recognize themselves in his songs. He speaks a language they understand."