‘Catch and Kill: The Podcast Tapes’ Filmmakers Shows Rare Interviews

Documentary filmmakers Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato are giving a face to the voices behind Ronan Farrow’s 2019 e book “Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Defend Predators” and subsequent podcast sequence.

In “Catch and Kill: The Podcast Tapes,” six half-hour episodes observe Farrow as he works to report on Harvey Weinstein’s predatory conduct.

By no means earlier than seen (solely heard) interviews with the Weinstein survivors Rose McGowan and Ambra Gutierrez remind audiences of the ache they suffered and efforts Farrow went to as a part of his journalistic storytelling

The sequence brings a brand new mild to the story, and serves as “not only a Hollywood story, however daily each city story,” Bailey says, to shine a highlight on how America as an entire has endorsed bullying tradition.

Bailey and Barbato joined Selection by way of zoom to speak about their new sequence and its present-day significance.

At what level did you assume that after the podcast and e book, that there was a sequence in there too, take us on that journey?

Randy Barbato: [HBO documentary heads] Nancy Abraham and Lisa Heller reached out to us. They’d filmed Ronan and a few of his conversations pondering there was a chance of this being a sequence they usually reached out to us and shared the footage. We had been blown away by these conversations.

For us, we immediately thought there is a chance for one thing actually particular. We’re big followers of the books, big followers of the podcast, however we additionally felt that there was an emotional dimension of the story that would come by means of with a TV adaptation. Seeing the whistleblowers, feeling their tales, it felt like there was an actual alternative and the artistic problem.

It was all about how do you steadiness respecting the supply materials and never overwhelming it.

Through the years we’ve seen Ronan as an investigative journalist, however while you noticed that footage for the primary time what was that like for you seeing it come to life?

Fenton Bailey: It was devastating. Sure, we learn the interviews and browse the e book, we even heard the voices. When Rose McGowan pauses within the podcast, that’s kind of lifeless air, however you’ll be able to see the ache on her face and you may see the tears in her eyes, it was simply so emotionally intense.

To see that simply put it in added an entire different layer, and it was simply pure emotion.

There’s a determine Ronan interviewed in silhouette [in Episode 5: “The Editors”] and he’s asking her about working for the Harvey Weinstein firm. He requested her this query, ‘What did Mr. Weinstein do to you?’ There’s this lengthy pause and she or he places her head down. It was so laborious and also you simply wept since you may really feel her ache that in different mediums, whether or not it’s studying it, or listening to it, this was extra cerebral and also you see that particular person in entrance of you struggling and coping with the trauma. This isn’t a couple of years prior to now, it’s proper there for them, proper now as they’re talking about it, and you may’t escape feeling that entire emotion.

Speaking about emotion, the facility of seeing Ambra Gutierrez recount her expertise was simply as heartbreaking and emotional, however then all through the sequence, there’s this concept of repeating Weinstein’s voice and that fixed reminder asking for ‘simply 5 minutes.’ Are you able to speak about that?

Bailey: He’s such a repulsive particular person. I believe listening to that voice, that kind of relentless, whiny, continuous, it’s nearly like a machine gun. The frenzy of it was viscerally repulsive, and terrifying, but it surely’s like a leitmotif.

Barbato: It’s a reminder that his voice was on tape. {That a} crime was dedicated, and but it took a lot extra time for justice to be served. That’s the facility of Ronan’s investigative journalism on this story. It’s a reminder that we live in an age the place reality is co-opted by energy and cash. Watching this sequence, you’re reminded how a lot it may possibly take to shine a light-weight on the reality.

It’s the work of many investigative journalists. It’s the voices of many whistleblowers, and it’s all of that coming collectively to battle this legal. But there he was on tape years in the past admitting what he had completed, and but, it wasn’t sufficient. It took the work of Ronan and others and all of those voices.

We now have an incredible staff of passionate artistic editors and composers and DP, they had been all so moved to work on this challenge. They had been moved as a result of they understood the significance of amplifying the story and the message, and its relevance within the age of Trump.

Bailey: It’s such a present-day story. We bought one bully, however there are others on the market.

I overlook how offended I felt as a result of Ambra did what the police requested her to do, after which nothing. Harvey Weinstein had motive to consider that that tape had been destroyed. The tape featured within the sequence is just not the tape that she gave to the police. It’s a backup copy. She had the thought to place her telephone into document and make her personal copy. However you then really feel offended that Harvey Weinstein thought that he had been capable of prevail upon the D.A to destroy the proof, and we don’t know whether or not he did however the tape that you just hear within the sequence is the one she made on her personal.

You talked about the modifying, the music, and weaving within the archival footage, however this was all completed within the pandemic, are you able to speak about placing that collectively?

Barbato: It was this unbelievable artistic problem and it was a balancing act as a result of the story does lend itself to some dramatics. We by no means needed to overwhelm the voices, so it was very a lot about brainstorming and collaborating with our staff, a lot of whom we’ve labored with for years, and experimenting with visuals that finish. Once more, it was all the time about coming again to the podcast and to the supply materials and the simplicity of those conversations. We by no means needed to overpower that as a result of I do assume that’s how you find yourself connecting so deeply to it.

I additionally love the 30-minute format of every episode. What was the problem in whittling that down when you’ve gotten all that supply materials and by no means seen earlier than footage?

Bailey: We felt fairly strongly that it was a good suggestion to focus every episode on one facet of the story.

I do know that the default size is one hour for limited-run sequence. Nevertheless it simply felt the correct amount to get these doses. I believe that the half-hour format is the brand new factor, particularly if you happen to do two at a time [which is how this will air, in two-episode stints]. You’re getting slightly sense of ‘Oh, I’m binging, and also you’re not restricted to having only one episode.’

What would you like audiences to remove from the sequence?

Bailey: This isn’t actually a Hollywood story. I believe it’s a narrative of each city, all over the place. When Rose says, she needs the NBC legal professionals to look at her interview as a result of it’s their daughters, it’s their moms, it’s their kids and it’s their family members who’re experiencing this type of abuse, it made me notice that America has promoted bullies, and has endorsed bully tradition.

When you don’t cease that child on the playground, if you happen to don’t stand as much as a bully, the results for us People, as a society are devastating and enormously harmful.

You solely have to have a look at what we’ve been by means of for the final 4 years to know that. It’s so necessary to face as much as bullies and the work that the whistleblowers and what Ronan did is that they stood as much as bullies. I would like folks to really feel inspired or wherever they encounter a bully. You don’t should be, you understand, sexually attacked or bullied, however bullying by itself is a horrible evil. It’s a actually harmful drive in America and has completed nice harm to this nation.

“Catch and Kill: The Podcast Tapes” will air Monday on HBO.



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