POV: When did Patti Smith: Dream of Life wrap? What has happened in the life of Patti Smith since filming ended?
Steven Sebring: The film wrapped late 2007, Patti is always doing something creative and that has not stopped between touring internationally with her band, solo appearances, finishing the long awaited book Just Kids about her early years in N.Y.C. with Robert Mapplethorpe (which will be released this month), and collaborating with me on a joint art, artifact and photographic show titled “Objects of Life” that opens in January at the Robert Miller Gallery in New York. She also has had her photography and art work shown in museums worldwide and continues to shoot incredible photographs to this day.
POV: Since you completed Patti Smith: Dream of Life, the film has shown at film festivals around the world, including Sundance, Berlin and many others. Can you recall some of your favorite festival screenings? What have been some of the responses from audiences to the film?
Sebring: The most exciting festival for me was [the] Berlin Film Festival, since that year at the festival it was all about Patti and the Rolling Stones. The responses to the film have been very inspiring and varied, some people yelling out, clapping midscene and many others quietly tearful. So many people seem to have really gotten it and enjoyed the film.
POV: What do you and Patti think about Patti Smith: Dream of Life being on PBS? What do you hope America’s public television audience takes away from the film?
Sebring: Both Patti and I are very excited to be on PBS: The response to the theatrical release really was incredible, however, we know how busy peoples lives are and how one does not always have the time or money to make it to the local art house theater during a film’s run. So to have this kind of work, music and point of view brought directly into people’s homes is just fantastic.
I am just grateful a lot of people can have the chance to experience Patti the way that I have experienced her: Up close and personal, and not what you would expect.
POV: What’s next for you? What are you working on right now?
Sebring: As I mentioned, Patti and I are putting the finishing touches on the exhibition objects of life at the Robert Miller Gallery that opens January 6, 2010. The exhibition was inspired by the movie Dream of Life. As a point of departure, Objects of Life will include a range of works in a celebration of the eleven-year-long odyssey that was the making of the film. I am still quite busy with my photography and have been in discussion regarding several great scripts with some very interesting people, so we shall see.