This year's Melbourne International Film Festival quickly sold out tickets to the much anticipated feature-length documentary of the life of Australia's poet laureate, Paul Kelly – but in October and November, the film is going on tour. Stories of Me will screen one night only in Melbourne, and will include a live performance by the man himself, as well as a Q&A session with AFI Award-winning director and producer of the film, Ian Darling. Time Out asked Paul Kelly about his thoughts on the film...
Paul, you strike us as a pretty private person, so how did it feel letting a camera crew into your life?
It felt like going through a bit of an ordeal but it was something I was committed to. I went through the same sort of worries by writing a memoir [2010's How to Make Gravy] – I didn’t know what I was doing at first, I thought I was just writing notes and then it expanded. Then at the point I realised it was a memoir, even though an unorthodox memoir, I realised I couldn’t hide things away. A guarded memoir is a failed book so if it’s a question of genre, if you’re writing a memoir, you’ve got to put some guts on the table.
So then when the doco makers came along, they picked up on a lot of stuff in the book and they put their case about what they wanted to do – and they really liked the wider story of influences and also the wider story of the family. So once I said yes to them, again,in my mind, it becomes their film and you’ve just got to let them do what they do. So I said, "You can talk to anyone you want." It’s not the film I would make, but if I tried to be involved in it or shape it, it wouldn’t be a documentary, it’d be some kind of promo.