Interview with Filmmaker Cate Meighan (LET THE MUSIC PLAY)

LET THE MUSIC PLAY was the winner of BEST FEATURE FILM at the November 2021 DOCUMENTARY Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

CM: We had originally had another project planned and that was totally squashed because of Covid-19. As someone working in the music industry, I was in touch with a lot of artists, promoters, etc. because we were all kind of comparing notes on how things were going. No one had work and everyone was trying to figure out their next move. Since these conversations were already happening around me and I understood the depths of crisis that we were already in, I wondered if people would be willing to speak on the record. Not just that, but I really wondered how many would be willing to be on camera as is, without the usual frills because Covid lockdown meant that we HAD to rely on things like Zoom. I knew the trickle-down effect in the music industry- how closures meant no work for parking attendants, merch companies, bartenders, etc. and I also knew that most people didn’t really understand the scope of the impact. Sure, the Foo Fighters would be just fine but the lady who takes your tickets and guides you to your seat was out of work for an entire year. Really explaining the crushing impact kept us motivated the entire time because someone needed to speak for the live music industry as a whole.

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

CM: Honestly we moved very quickly because we knew the importance and value of this story and we truly believed that someone else had to be filming something similar. We are still stunned that no one else did. We began filming interviews in late Oct. 2020 and the very last pieces were filmed in January 2021. The original score by Jack Miele was meticulously created by mid-March and our first version of Let The Music Play premiered on YouTube on April 9, 2021.

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

CM: Eye-opening.

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

CM: Not completing it was never an option. Never. That said, every step of the way in post-production was an obstacle. Our cast was phenomenal, so honest and so generous with their time. Everything beyond that was a battle. We had really no budget and knew that we needed an original score. We had to get creative with b-roll because of licensing and also because we had so much Zoom footage. We needed to figure out how to balance that with some creative showcasing. Then simply, Covid-19. Doing a film about a pandemic during a pandemic lockdown means that you have to expect nearly everything to be more difficult, and it was.

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

CM: Our crew of four was in tears. They were saying exactly the things that we prayed people would take away from this. We crafted a story that really delivered. The audience GOT it and that was really all that we ever wanted.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

CM: Let The Music Play was truly a labor of love and in the middle of it I realized that I absolutely need to make more.

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

CM: Probably the original Little Women.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

CM: I’m not sure. You’ve been really fantastic with us and we are so grateful to you for that!

9. What is your favorite meal?

CM: Meatballs with Bruschetta

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

CM: Yes. I’m currently researching the biggest open-air street drug market on the east coast and… I’ll leave it at that for now. I also just released my second book, a series of interviews with men in music, That Was Yesterday: Men in Music Rewind.

DailyBOOM Media

Your Old School Music Authority


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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