Never before seen footage of Janis Joplin in Venice documentary

American filmmaker Amy Berg’s documentary on Janis Joplin, which includes 12 minutes of new footage and audio, screens at the Venice Film Festival.

(CONTENT) – Filmmaker Amy Berg says she felt that the late blues-and-rock singer Janis Joplin who died in 1970 “guided” her in making the documentary “Janis”, which contains film never before seen of the troubled teen from Texas who rose to world fame.

The film, shown at the Venice Film Festival on Sunday (September 6), follows Joplin, who is portrayed as being an outsider while growing up in Port Arthur, Texas, through her meteoric rise as the lead singer of the San Francisco-based Big Brother and the Holding Company, to her death at age 27 from a heroin overdose in October, 1970.

“There were many times when I wanted to do something a little bit more creative that wasn’t guided by the archive, by what exists, and it backfired every single time,” Berg said at a press conference on Sunday.

“I feel like Janis guided me through this edit. Her voice really guided me through it. What exists, exists and I just tried to let it play, I put everything I wanted to put in the film and then I kept pulling things out to let the performances stick so you could really feel the emotion of who Janis was and every time I tried to overcomplicate a point it would come out because it was like just about letting it sit there,” she added.

Unlike the recent documentary “Amy” about the late British soul singer Amy Winehouse, which made extensive use of formerly private or personal videos, Berg had to rely largely on archive materials to reconstruct Joplin’s life.

Despite that, Berg said there are moments in the film that even ardent Joplin fans would not have seen or heard.

“There were many times when I wanted to do something a little bit more creative that wasn’t guided by the archive, by what exists, and it backfired every single time. I feel like Janis guided me through this edit. Her voice really guided me through it. What exists, exists and I just tried to let it play, I put everything I wanted to put in the film and then I kept pulling things out to let the performances stick so you could really feel the emotion of who Janis was and every time I tried to overcomplicate a point it would come out because it was like just about letting it sit there.,” she said, adding that the film has altogether 12 minutes of new footage and audio.

“Janis” is screening out of competition at the 72nd edition of the Venice Film Festival which runs through Saturday (September 12).

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