Anne Thompson at Indiewire has a fascinating piece on how Lucy Walker’s sequel to The Buena Vista Social Club was woefully mishandled behind the scenes, leading to creative control getting wrested away from Walker and a disastrous theatrical performance:
The lessons here are obvious: Documentary filmmakers, especially those with living subjects, need to understand all legal agreements before agreeing to make a film. Direct relationships with the subjects, and with the people who control the film, are essential.
But in the saga of “Buena Vista Social Club,” no one comes out ahead. The band didn’t get the extra loving tribute and publicity boost for the end of their careers. They didn’t get a chance to attend the premiere at Sundance or walk the red carpet at the Oscars. The filmmakers lost valuable years of their short lives. And Broad Green lost a lot of money.
Another lesson: a good producer who has your back is worth their weight in gold.