Monday, September 26, 2011

Interview: Jen Gatien Talks Limelight

Read Shockya's exclusive interview with Jen Gatien, who served as one of the producers on the new documentary ‘Limelight.’ The film, which was directed by Billy Corben, chronicles the rise and fall of the nightclub career of Gatien’s father, Peter. Known as the king of the 1980s New York City club scene, Peter built and oversaw an empire and helped create the culture that defined an era. However, his club empire declined in the late ’90s after Mayor Rudy Giuliani cracked down on nightclubs. After pleading guilty to a tax evasion charge, Peter was deported back to his native Canada. ‘Limelight’ also features interviews with some of the government officials, witnesses and co-defendants involved with Peter’s trial. Gatien discusses with us, among other things, why she approached Corben to make the documentary, and what the filming process was like.

Written by: Karen Benardello

Shockya (SY): You approached Billy with the idea to make a documentary about your father’s career and trial. Why did you decide document his side of the story?

Jen Gatien (JG): Essentially, it had been something I had been developing for a long time. At one time, Akiva Goldsman wanted to do a feature based on the story, and then it laid dormant for awhile. After seeing ‘Cocaine Cowboys,’ I saw how Billy was able to set a story against a city, and in this case, it was a cocaine story set against Miami. I thought he was the right match to do something, not just about my father, but the transformation of New York as a whole.

SY: Billy has said that when he attended the Toronto International Film Festival, your father wasn’t very happy with the final version of the film. What was your opinion about the final version of the movie?

JG: I felt the film was slanted towards the more sensational aspects of the story. There are a lot of people who made Limelight happen, not just the people that are in the film. From my father’s point of view, there were a lot of aspects that made Limelight historical that were missing from the film, to not just club culture or techno culture, but to rock-n-roll as well. Bands like Pearl Jam and Guns N’ Roses performed. There was a party on Tuesday nights called Communion that was an alternative night. So I think he felt the movie didn’t encompass everything that Limelight stood for, and instead only focused on one part of it.

SY: Did you have any involvement in who appeared in the film, or have any ideas of who you wanted to appear in it?

JG: Well, what happened was Billy did all the outreach to the government side, all of who didn’t know about my involvement in the film as a producer. But I want to stress that I’m one of several producers who worked on the project. Alfred Spellman is one of Billy’s producing partners, and he was integral to the project. But I was able to get interviews with people who would otherwise have had concerns about participating in a documentary because things tend to skew so sensationally with this case. I think I brought a comfort level to people, not just my father. People like Ben Brafman, or Steve Lewis. They knew that the movie’s going to look at this with sincere consideration and research.

To continue reading this interview, please visit Shockya.

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