The Making Of
Director/producer/director of photography/co-editor Jim Granato talks about his friendship with Pat Spurgeon, D TOUR’s inception and growth and not having a back-up plan.
Independent Lens: What impact do you hope this film will have?
Jim Granato: I’ve always thought of D TOUR as a unique film. In a way, it’s a one-of-a-kind film that on the surface may appear as one thing-—a rock doc. Although music is a huge part of this film, just underneath that gloss it’s also about the fate of one man’s dreams and pursuits when he is up against a serious health problem and issues outside his control. I think a lot of people will come away thinking more about the film’s central issue of organ donation, and be encouraged to discuss important choices that could help save other lives with their families.
D TOUR features a community of people: musicians and non-musicians alike, who step up to help their friend during a life-threatening crisis. This is not about a particular rock scene or a political bias, but about a group of caring people whose actions will resonate with a lot of other caring folks. And hopefully some of these people will be inspired to look into what they can do to help those around them.
IL: What led you to make D TOUR?
JG: I made the film because my old friend Pat Spurgeon asked me if I would be interested in doing a video about peritoneal dialysis. This type of dialysis isn’t widely known and he wanted to raise awareness about its use and mobility. At first we thought it would only be a very short piece, which started to grow little by little. Of course, other things started to work themselves in, and three years later, I ended up editing a feature-length film from over 80 hours of footage.
IL: How did you gain the trust of the subjects in D TOUR?
JG: Pat and I have a history together and since he asked me to do this originally, there never was a problem. We were already comfortable around each other. I think it helped greatly that most of the time I was a one-man crew and I didn’t have six or more people in a room with a lot of lights and clipboards and multiple conversations going on at once.
IL: What would you have liked to include in your film that didn’t make the cut?
JG: I would’ve loved to include more of the live music that was featured in the film. The benefit concert that was held for Pat was shot with multiple cameras early on and I had edited a three-and-a-half hour concert with really great performances.
IL: Tell us about a scene in the film that especially moved or resonated with you.
JG: I’d say that an early scene where Pat is seen wandering around a pawn shop and off screen he talks about being on tour and wishing that his kidney would “hang in there” until he got home is evidence of his strong will. I shot the pawn shop footage more than ten years ago, well before he was in this successful working band. Knowing Pat all these years and knowing how badly he wants to play music and tour on a level where he deserves to be is pretty awesome.
IL: What has the audience response been so far? Have the people featured in the film seen it, and if so, what did they think?
JG: The audience response has been extremely favorable so far. I think a lot of people who came to see it were moved in more ways they had expected to be. I’d say the same goes for everyone who is featured in the film that has seen it. I think there was some surprise here and there from them because they weren’t exactly aware of Pat’s whole story either.
Many people have come up to me after a screening and admitted that before watching D TOUR they were torn about becoming an organ donor. And, that after watching D TOUR, they decided to sign themselves up! Having people change their minds like that because of something I made makes me feel pretty good.
IL: Why did you choose to present your film on public television?
I can’t think of a better way to present this story than on PBS and Independent Lens. I love the show and am honored to be a part of it now. But most importantly, there is a wide-ranging audience already there; we hope that D TOUR will have the same effect with the huge variety of people in their homes as we have had with our screenings.
IL: What didn’t you get done when you were making your film?
I wish I was better at writing grants and raising more money. I financed most of the film out of my own pocket, but during the final months of post production I was able to get fiscally sponsored and collect some donations. Raising money sooner would’ve made some things easier. But isn’t this always the case?