synopsis : Rob Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan became best friends during their youth in Germany. Since Rob came from a broken family and Fabrice came from an abusive one, they had similar upbringings and also shared future goals of becoming famous superstars. Within a few years their dream came true. Their first album came in 1989, when he went platinum six times, and the hit “Girl You Know It’s True” sold over 30 million singles worldwide. Rob and Fab, known as Milli Vanilli, became the most popular pop he duo in the late 1980s. But their rise to success came at a devastating price that ultimately led to their downfall.
Mr Luke Kollem milli vanilli Through a collaboration with legendary music producer Frank Farian, we analyze the duo’s trajectory from its humble origins. This toxic partnership cemented the band’s fortunes and hid a shocking secret about their music and technology. By accessing the inner circle of those involved in the controversy, including Fabrice himself and Farian’s assistant Ingrid Seguis, Kollem’s enlightening documentary tells a story we thought we knew but didn’t. , provides a compelling perspective. The price of fame and the opportunistic commercialization of artists.
Genre: documentary, biography, music
Original language: English
directed by: Luke Collem
producer: Luke Kollem, Bradley Jackson
Production company: MRC, Keep On Running Pictures, MTV Networks, Fullwell 73
Q&A with director Luke Kollem, producer Bradley Jackson and editor Patrick Berry
Q: Luke, what inspired you to start this project?
LK: Bradley and I were brainstorming ideas for our next project. We have worked together for 12 years. We thought of milli vanilli. We were both about 7 or 8 years old when it all ended. We will always remember her VH1 episodes. [VH”1’s Behind the Music”]. It’s so ingrained in your head.I remember seeing this video of Fabrice on YouTube [Morvan] Telling his story at Moss in New York City. Finally he sang, and he had a wonderful voice.
I thought, “Wait a minute… I thought these people couldn’t sing.” It took us down a rabbit hole and there’s something about Fab – his persona, his being, he’s so calm and he’s dealing with it and moving forward with his life I understand this.Then we thought of Frank [Farian, creator/producer of Milli Vanilli]And Frank had done the same with Bonnie M before. We were like, “Ah.”Then we tracked down the real singer and tracked everyone down [the line] Credit to Fab. He has been approached by many filmmakers over the years.
he was here last night [at Tribeca]and sent a greeting. But I say he hadn’t seen that movie until two weeks ago when he saw it, but he gave us complete control, which I think was important . But when he saw it [here] With the audience it was very, very moving for him. Especially when I heard them laugh. he struggles with it all. But in the end he was so happy.
He’s like, “I thought it was really cool that people were listening to the real story.” That’s why he decided to do it with us. Because it was like, “I can only say that you want to know the whole story.” I also wanted to put the camera in front of everyone to see it. After all, it was 30 years ago, and who can say exactly how people remember it? [what is] Truth about some things? The only way to do that is to let everyone speak and let the audience judge. That’s the summary.
Q: Patrick and Bradley, why did you sign?
BJ: Luke succeeded spectacularly. Let’s just say that there are a few people in the audience who worked on this movie. We have original music composers and writers. [Applause.] There are so many great artists who worked on this film. I just wanted to give a shout out to everyone who worked on this movie.
Q: Pat, other than that you love and adore us, and that we pay you, what made you decide to do this work?
PB: So that’s what it is [laughs]. But I would say yes to any project they bring me. We had worked on it before and they had this idea and I instantly said yes. Beyond that, apart from the fact that there are obviously so many layers to this story, things you probably thought you knew, or things you probably didn’t know, there’s so much to this story. has a wonderful human element.
One of the things I think I love most about this piece is the positivity it has. There’s a lot of darkness in today’s story, and there’s a lot of darkness in this story, but it’s something I really like and what Fab brought. I wonder how he can deliver such a positive message when his life is going well. I think this movie captures that and really speaks to how humans can persevere even in the darkest times and the most difficult situations. I quickly realized that I could relate and love that part of the story.
Q: How did you go about putting it all together?
LK: A lot of people worked on this film. Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib is one of his executive producers. I thought, ‘You’re so good, you should hire a photographer. he was great We had an archive producer. Bradley and I did a thorough and thorough investigation. I think you can see that this movie deals with a lot of different things. It deals with elegance, the machinery of pop music, exploitation, perseverance, lies and deceit. We needed a group and looked for talent.
We did a lot of test screenings and asked, “What do you think about this element of the film?” How can we improve? ” We worked really hard to make sure every note hits. Documentaries also make people talk.charles [Shaw, one of the actual singers from the original session] Just be honest about what happened. I think the best thing to do is let people talk about what happened and respect that.
Q: The real caveat is that most of the record industry is fake. Producers produce records, songwriters write songs, and sometimes singers do more than actually take the stage. You made that point, if it wasn’t for Fabrice, if he’s what he is now, would he be making movies? you were lucky You guys did a great job with him.
LK: If he was here like he was last night, he could say it better than we did. He has an indomitable spirit. So he forgives Frank Farian. He looks fine because he knows this will eat you alive. You just get emotional. I respect that man very much. And his family opened the door and said, “Let’s just open it.” So, without Fab, there would be no movie, obviously.One more thing: Rob’s presence really matters [Pilatus] voice. The same is true for Rob. He’s not here today, but he was grateful to have the audio.
BJ: We were very lucky that the audio got to us. I feel like there are two Miri Vanilli, so often people say, “So who’s Miri and who’s Vanilli?” And I laugh. But deep down, I was like, ‘No, these two are real people who have lived real lives, experienced real tragedy and heartbreak, and there’s two sides to the coin. There’s Rob, and there’s Rob battling an addiction. Fab spoke so beautifully last night that he sees Rob as two people — his pre-addiction and his during the addiction.and the audio [you hear of Rob talking]That is [recorded] 45 days before he died.that’s why he says [candidly]…
LK: Fab also made a good point about wanting young artists to see this film. And I want to joke that this is her 100 minute ad showing why you should hire a good entertainment attorney.
Q: How did you navigate the red tape in the record industry?
BJ: Oh, it was a lot of bureaucracy. When Luke does this task, he has velvet gloves and velvet hands, so he leaves it to Luke. After that, sometimes chainsaws came out. Call him Velvet Chainsaw.
LK: We’re not doing anything sensational. We are not doing “obscure” journalism. We ask you questions, you tell us the truth. that’s it. That’s all we did.I think people respect that, including Ingrid. [Segieth]. She was there last night. And hey, she seems to like it. She’s like, “That’s who I am.” [We got] Arista executives — I don’t know if they saw it.
I respect Ken very much [the one really candid record exec]this guy looks like “The Sopranos”. he just says it as it is. I love his interviews.But otherwise it was just a lot [nos] — we went to Clive [Davis] Through great channels. Of course, he didn’t respond, but we had archives where he spoke candidly about what happened years ago.
Q: You did a great job in terms of leveraging all the archival material.
LK: You said the film relied heavily on great archival footage.Pat was great too, this guy and Lauren [Ospala, archival producer], an incredible amount of rich detail. I could have made a three hour movie because there are so many things I didn’t put in. There’s a whole story behind the song “Girl You Know It’s True.” How Frank stole the song from his Baltimore hip-hop crew and they knew nothing about it. We wanted to include it, but it was this wild left turn. We had the movie and the scene was great. Pat cut it very well.
BJ: Maybe the distributor will let us release it.
Q: You three deserve to be admired in a race-centric way. You showed that many reactions to what happened had an underlying racist component.
LK: One of the things that had to be removed from the film was Frank’s backstory. Interestingly, he was a German Schlager (pop music) singer and solo artist who had a semi-successful career. But he liked black music.And they said, ‘Well, you’re a white ‘Schlager’ singer, and it’s [not going to] work. ” So he thought, ‘Let’s be the Wizard of Oz. [the man behind the scenes controlling it all].
He even told people, “I’m black inside.” So what was the racing part, and that’s why there were people coming to consult us and see if it was being done right, doing the screening and testing and getting people to Hanif I got them to like it—the audience was mostly white, they were black, and that’s part of what they faced because of that. That’s something we’ve been working really hard on, so I really appreciate you saying that.
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