A St Kilda Film Festival must see: Melbourne on Dylan

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A St Kilda Film Festival must see: Melbourne on Dylan

Melbourne on Dylan
Words by Lesleigh Luiten

What do a musician, an astrophysicist, an actor, and a commentator all have in common? A connection with Bob Dylan which is explored and expressed in Melbourne on Dylan. 

The St Kilda Film Festival is back in 2023 with what is set to be its biggest festival to date. This year’s program is set to feature over 100 films – including comedies, powerful drama, animation, horror, and fantasy.

Keep up with the latest Melbourne film and television news here.

Named among the 2023 Top Short Films is Melbourne on Dylan – directed by Chris Franklin, Melbourne on Dylan delves into Bob Dylan’s connection with Melbourne. This deep dive explores the love of music, all things Dylan, as well as the life-changing moments that start us on the long journey of musical appreciation. 

Franklin, who has been a Dylan fan for over 40 years began the film as an exploration of Bob Dylan but found that the recurring themes were much bigger than the original intention. “My original idea was just to explore Bob and chat about Bob.”

“What I came to realise was this really, really deep and emotional connection that a lot of us have with music.”

“Some people will put the radio on in the background and think that it’s nice and then not really think about it. Other people are deeply connected with what they’re listening to and they will go on journeys exploring artists and learning about their life and what their music means”.

For Franklin, Dylan is a friend. Although they have never met, Franklin feels as though he has been on a life’s journey with Dylan. “One of Bob’s albums is called Together Through Life and I kind of feel – as daggy as it might sound – I feel like Bob is a friend.

“He’s travelled with me throughout my life. That’s all about his lyrics and what he talks about. At certain times, with certain songs, they can relate to how you feel”.

Franklin finds it interesting and inspiring that music connects people so deeply that they feel like they know the artist without ever having met them.

Throughout this process Franklin found that there are a lot of musicians and artists in Melbourne who feel the same way about, and have the same connection with Bob Dylan. “You know one of the people in the film, I think it was John Lattanzio said ‘there’s not a musician on the planet who doesn’t know who Bob Dylan is’. There might be one or two but I get his point, which is that Bob is revered in music terms and in the music industry.” 

Franklin describes himself as a one man band. Franklin Image is not a production house and he has no crew. He single handedly does all the lighting and the camera work; the audio, interviews, producing, and then all the editing and post production, normally creating short documentaries about one person or one band.

Melbourne on Dylan marks one of his biggest projects to date. “In this film I interviewed 19 people. So I did 19 separate interviews at 19 different locations. I wanted the film to look beautiful and I wanted the sets to look as emotive as what people were actually talking about.”

Franklin had no trouble finding people with passion for Dylan. “A lot of musicians are and have been heavily influenced by Bob Dylan. So, I interviewed musicians that I knew of that may have covered his songs or had some sort of connection with his music and I knew would really appreciate the opportunity to talk about Bob and express how they felt about him.

“Not just musicians though,  there’s an astrophysicist, an actor, a commentator, and a music record store owner.”

According to Franklin, Melboune on Dylan is a film with a broad appeal – even if the viewers aren’t “mad Dylan fans”.

“Sure, it’s about Bob and the thread of his music but it really is about the deep emotional connection we have with music and why it moves us so much.”

“If you don’t know anything about Bob it’s a must see because you should come and hear the reverence – and sometimes the irreverence – that people have for Bob and his music. Plus, you get to learn about Bob. If you’re a Bob fan you will definitely appreciate the deep dive that we go into about Bob’s music, his life, his performance, his influence, and his legacy!”

Melbourne On Dylan is screening at the Australian Documentary Showcase on June 4. St Kilda Film Festival is returning from June 1 to 12, 2023. Check out the full program here.

This article was made in partnership with St Kilda Film Festival