Documentary gets close and comfy with Kettle Cadaver lead singer
Edwin Borsheim, the former lead singer to the shock-metal punk band Kettle Cadaver, is known for on-stage antics that include, but are not limited to, stapling his lips together, cutting his arms, chest and legs and nailing slabs of wood to parts of his body.
It’s been years since the band broke up and Borsheim now lives in seclusion. It took first-time filmmaker Jai Love, who was introduced to the band by producer Spencer Heath, to dig up the dirt on Borsheim in the new Slamdance documentary "Dead Hands Dig Deep."
Love, who is 19, was able to track Borsheim and some of his family members and former colleagues to make the film last year.
"It was hard to get interviews, because Edwin is a very unpredictable character," Love told The Park Record. "Some days he would just disappear, and I remember we spent four of five months just trying to find him, because he dropped off the grid before we started shooting the movie. "
Convincing Borsheim to agree to the documentary was also a trick.
"We kept going out to his property and he had barricaded himself inside and didn’t want to talk to anyone," Love said. "When we first met him, it was kind of strange because here are these three kids from Australia who he has never met taking a huge interest in his life and he was a bit surprised about that."
So, Love focused on some common interests.
"We pretty much hung out at his house for a week or two and played music and talked about the band and bands he was interested in like the Misfits and other punk rock," Love said.
The breakthrough came when Love began talking about Australian movies.
"He had this fascination with a few of those films, especially the ‘Mad Max’ series," Love said. "It so happened that right before I decided to do this documentary, I had just come off working on the new ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ movie. I was part of the production crew, so it was cool to be able to talk with Ed about the movie."
Once Borsheim found out Love was a serious filmmaker, he wanted to be part of the documentary, and to show how excited he was, Borsheim gave Love and his crew access to everything.
"The thing is that Edwin is kind of a filmmaker himself and filmed everything in his life from the time he was a teenager until now," Love said. "He has what he calls the Blackest Vault and its filled with archives that he had shot."
The archives ranged from past concerts to backyard wrestling and fighting matches to some dark, solitary moments where Borsheim laments his divorce from his wife and the separation from his step-daughter.
"We sifted through I can’t tell you how many hours of stuff that he filmed on his property," Love said. "It was easy to decide what we wanted to put in to the film because there was a lot of stuff he had that wouldn’t work. He has a lot of, what I would call interesting but others would call disturbing."
The film features some explicit and graphic scenes of self-mutilation and backyard fights, but Love included those scenes to show who Borsheim is.
"I wanted to try to get into his head and I wanted to be as honest as I could and not show him in a fake light," he said. "The reasons was because a lot of things that Kettle Cadaver did towards the end of its career became kind of a persona that Edwin wanted to portray. Whereas I wanted to show Edwin as he is."
That was another challenge for Love.
"He was candid off camera at first," he said. "But as the filming went on, I think he got comfortable because we had become good friends."
That said, Love still wanted to film as unobtrusively as possible, because of his fascination with Terry Zwigoff’s 1994 documentary "Crumb," which is about underground artist Robert Crumb.
"I liked the way Terry filmed," Love said. "It was verity but the filmmaker had a very clear voice and that’s what we wanted to do with ‘Dead Hands.’"
So, to have the film accepted into Slamdance is a dream come true.
"From the time I was a young boy, I knew I wanted to make films," Love said. "It’s amazing to me that in a few days, I’ll be in Park City. It’s like a strange dream. We never expected this and can’t wait to have it premiere."
Slamdance will screen "Dead Hands Dig Deep" at Treasure Mountain Inn’s Gallery Screening Room, 255 Main St., on Friday, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m. An additional screening will be held Wednesday, Jan. 27, in the Inn’s Ballroom on Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 10:15 p.m. For more information and tickets visit http://www.slamdance.com.
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