About this project
A word from the Director on meeting Fahey and why Tamarack Productions needs to make this film.
John Fahey is one of the greatest guitarists of all time. He was a trickster, a raconteur, a wonderful writer, a self taught naturalist (with a particular interest in turtles!), a fount of knowledge about American and other musics, and, above all, a brilliant guitar player as well as composer. My own saga with John Fahey began in 1982 with a radio documentary I produced about him for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Ever since, I’ve been inspired by his music, comforted by his bent humour and fascinated by his ever rippling artistic legacy.
Known as the father of 'American Primitive Guitar', Fahey’s music transcends the boundaries of past musical traditions and creates a complex musical dialogue primarily with his steel stringed solo guitar. John Fahey’s primordial influences came from the Mississippi Delta. Fahey also blazed trails as he channeled bluegrass, Brazilian, classical, Indian, New Orleans and musique concrète forms. As a writer, his musicological works on blues greats such as Charley Patton and his enchantingly informed and humorous prose add to his astonishing legacy.
A decade after his death, Fahey continues to inspire a diverse and deep group of musicians including participants in our film, Pete Townshend of The Who, Chris Funk of The Decemberists and Joey Burns of Calexico. Leo Kottke, Ry Cooder and members of Sonic Youth are among the many other brilliant musicians who acknowledge how they have been influenced by Fahey.
With the support of the John Fahey Trust, Executive Producer JoAnn McCaig, the creative participation of The School of Creative Arts and Animation of Seneca College of Toronto and completion funds raised through this Kickstarter campaign, Tamarack Productions will ponder Fahey’s enduring artistic legacy in a feature documentary film that will visually evoke the vision of a great artist. It will employ beautifully textured, non-linear, cinematic and thoroughly entertaining means to launch a wide audience into the universe constructed and inhabited by John Fahey. This documentary film is destined for international distribution. To date it has been purchased by Oregon Public Television (OPB) and GlassBOX TV in Canada. I am also very pleased to acknowledge the contribution of our Portland, Oregon-based Consulting Producer, Doug Whyte.
The film will rely first and foremost on the music of John Fahey. With the active support and cooperation of both The John Fahey Trust and Dean Blackwood of Revenant Records, the second of Fahey’s own recording companies, the film will access a rich and otherwise inaccessible archive of musical recordings, moving images, photographs, prose and paintings. The visual archive of Fahey performing is very rich. The collection of photographs is equally extensive. We will further augment this live action archive with short animated sequences that will evoke Fahey’s artistic, imagined universe. It is time to consider his enduring, singular musical contribution in a feature documentary film.
This labour of love will be completed this autumn – I can’t wait for you to see it.
--James Cullingham, Director/Producer/Writer and founder of Tamarack Productions
Director/Writer/Producer: James Cullingham
Cinematographer: Igal Hecht
Additional photography: Peter D. Richardson
Editor: Jessica Anne Cullingham
Producer/Production Manager: Monica Szenteszky
Associate Producer/Archivist: Tina Witham
Consulting Producer, Oregon: Doug Whyte
Executive Producers: JoAnn McCaig, James Cullingham
Melody Fahey and Mitch Greenhill -- The John Fahey Trust
Bill Belmont, Concord Music Group
Dean Blackwood, Revenant Records
Mark Jones, Chair, Seneca College School of Creative Arts and Animation, Toronto, Canada
*Still photo of John Fahey kneeling with a guitar courtesy of Jan Fahey.
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