Austin director Margaret Brown, 34, has just seen her acclaimed film about legendary songwriter Townes Van Zandt, Be Here to Love Me, released on DVD.
Was there a specific moment that sold you on making this film?
The music struck me first. When I first heard the song “Waiting Around to Die,” the next day I went out and bought all the Townes I could find on vinyl. After that, it was just a gradual realization that the film addressed a question I had about art and artists of all kinds: How much do you have to live your art?
And it took four years to complete?
I researched for about six months, and then we shot about forty to fifty interviews over a long period. I guess there are about eighty hours of interview footage. It did take a long time to edit, and we took breaks because we did not have money. Not knowing if I would ever finish was agonizing. There’s a lot that I could not work in, and some of it is on the DVD.
The film doesn’t follow a traditional narrative.
I avoided the rise-and-fall-and-rise-again Behind the Music chronology because I did not think it was the right way to tell the story. I wanted to go for an emotional truth over a factual truth, because there is so much mythology surrounding Townes, and I wanted to be able to play with this too.