Interview with Filmmaker Shaun Bartlett (ROOTS AND VEINS)

ROOTS AND VEINS was the winner of BEST FILM at the September 2021 MUSIC Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Each album I’ve released means something special to me, but “Roots and Veins” has an extra personal vibe and I really wanted to create something as personal visually to go with it. I’ve always had a great love for Norway’s mountain scenery and whenever I go on a trek it ends up being healing in some way or another. With each song on the album representing a certain turning point in my life I felt motivated to make a mountain trek film to visualise lifes obstacles, goals and seeing things through. The route for this trek also determined the order of the songs on the tracklist. Or trek-list, if you like.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

I first got the idea about 4-5 summers ago when I was hiking in the area and put together a spontaneous test snippet that I filmed with my phone. No stand or anything, so everything was shot from a ground angle. When all my live shows were cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, I saw a loophole to actually put this idea to life. Planning the route and logistics took about a month plus those couple of years of occasionally picturing shots beforehand. Filming took about one month including a lot of down time because of stormy weather. I edited some of the film along the way but spent the better half of autumn/winter2020 editing the film at home and finalising the actual album.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

“Available catharsis”

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

I’m tempted to play it cool here, but I’ll be honest instead. There were days when I was absolutely knackered from walking for miles and carrying quite a few kilos of essentials, so the biggest obstacle was convincing myself each and every day that I could do this. Hence the last words in the film “I did it, I did it, I did it!”

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

It felt like a little celebration in my living room and for once when getting feedback I hugged each word and let myself feel inspired from the get-go. Thank you very much!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

I’ve always played around with smaller film projects that I now feel have been leading up to see one as big as this project through. I guess my interest for such cropped up a long time ago but since music has always been my number one project in life I’ve had to remind myself now and then about my love for film. Finishing this project, and even winning “best film” has definitely triggered an even bigger urge to make more films.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Good Will Hunting.

(“How do you like them apples?”)

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are your feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

From a first time filmmaker/submitter’s point of view, with no other reference point, this was a good way to do things.

9. What is your favorite meal?

Butter chicken with a garlic nan on the side. Ok. Now I must have this today..

10. What is next for you? A new film?

I’ve spent the last few years touring solo with my music and have for the longest time wodered if I should try and make a live concert film of some kind. I also would quite like to make a short documentary about my father, who was head hunted to Bahrain in the 70’s to ride race horses for the amir. He’s been living there since.

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