Courtney Love to have 'no editorial control' over Kurt Cobain documentary

As the singer is a subject in the film, Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck director explains that Love handed over ‘the keys to this kingdom and final cut of the film’

The makers of a new documentary about Kurt Cobain have confirmed that, although Courtney Love helped launch the project, she will have no say over its final cut. Because the singer “[is] a subject in the film”, the director explained, “we agreed ... it would be best if she wasn’t given editorial control”.

“[Courtney] gave me the keys to this kingdom and final cut of the film,” Brett Morgen, the director of Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, recently told the Hollywood Reporter. “She hasn’t seen the movie ... [and] I’m not sure she’s intending to.”

Morgen instead began working more closely with the Nirvana frontman’s daughter, Frances Bean. She is one of the movie’s executive producers and helped oversee its use of substantial material from Cobain’s estate: Montage of Heck draws from more than 200 hours of unreleased music, as well as home movies, artwork and unpublished writings. It is due to premiere at the 2015 Sundance festival.

Since his interview with the Hollywood reporter, however, Morgen has issued a statement to clarify Love’s involvement with the project - stating that Love had never asked for any editorial involvement: “Courtney Love first came to me with the idea for Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck in 2007. She was hoping to make a film that revealed a deeper understanding of Kurt than had been depicted in the media.

While several parties control rights to Kurt’s music, Courtney and her daughter, are the sole rights holders to Kurt’s belongings, which are used quite readily throughout the film. In granting me access to his possessions, Courtney gave me permission to use the items in any manner I deemed appropriate for the film.

He added: “Any suggestion that Courtney was denied editorial involvement couldn’t be further from the truth. It was her idea to let me have control. This film would not exist today without the support of Courtney Love, Frances Bean Cobain and Wendy O’Connor.

The trust that has been invested in me by Courtney, Frances, and Kurt’s immediate family has been crucial in allowing me to paint a portrait of Kurt that is both honest, unflinching, empathetic, and effecting. I look forward to sharing this film with audiences around the world in 2015.”

Meanwhile, on Twitter, Frances Bean emphasised that although Love was held at arm’s length from the film, she “absolutely participated in it”.

She added: “Courtney brought me into the world [of Kurt], and the film would not exist if she hadn’t reached out to me ... The greatest gift one can give a director is trust.”

Love has yet to publicly comment on Montage of Heck’s upcoming release.


Sean Michaels

The GuardianTramp

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