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Mother Of All Babes screens at Montreal

Mother Of All Babes screens as part of the Montreal 22nd International Festival of Films on Art 2004.

Mother Of All Babes the ultimate documentary on the life and work of Jane Birkin Produced and directed by Gabrielle Crawford

"In 1996 I was asked to Paris to photograph my friend Jane Birkin. I have been a friend of Jane since the 60's. We met through the film The Knack, in which Jane had a small part, and involved both our future husbands. The concert was to me an innovative masterpiece. I went and bought a hi 8 dv camera and started to film. And so began the epic. I have carried on for eight years now, falling at the last fence time after time.... no backers, no finance...only my own limited funds and a few enthusiastic editors, who said they would wait until the programme was whom I now owe the finished product". Producer/director Gabrielle Crawford on Jane Birkin: Mother of All Babes.

Gabrielle Crawford has been taking photographs for the past thirty years. It started in 1968 in Hollywood when, whilst married to actor/singer Michael Crawford, she started learning from the stills photographer on the set of Hello Dolly in which her ex-husband was starring. A few years before she had met the young English actor Jane Birkin, also on the set of one of Crawford's films.

These two film-set encounters were to form life-long paths for Gabrielle; her interest in photography has led her to become recognised as one of the most highly regarded in Europe, and her friendship with Birkin has endured to the point where they are closest friends.

Mother Of All Babes, Gabrielle's first documentary is testimony to the close bond between the artist and filmmaker. Spanning four decades of Birkin's career and personal life, it is an intimate portrait that could only have been made by someone who has had such an insight into the world of the young English girl who moved to France, fell in love and married one of the nation's greatest artistic figures. Serge Gainsbourg, and survived the changing times by continuing to be fashionable among both film-makers and musicians Across the years.

Finally bringing Mother of All Babes to its completion after 8 years has been a testing and solitary journey for Gabrielle. "No thanks to the bank and their lawyers who boast support for the arts and have pursued me relentlessly, taking me to court every time I went off to film. I have sold my flat, have let go of most of my furniture and have driven my children mad."

"I think everyone thinks I am obsessed with Birkin, but I am not. I am just quite confident that she is unique. I also hope I convince those who watch the film that Gainsbourg was a genius, and I apologise for the fact that I show so few of the seventy four films that Jane has made...but that would surely mean bankruptcy and prison, I have not a penny left for clearances, and not a free second as I am in the middle of a book on the girl!!!"

Gabrielle's on-going collaboration with Jane continues. 2002 saw her and Jane co-produce Arabesque, the concert filmed at the Odeon in Paris. The concert film has been released on DVD in Europe, directed by Gabrielle, and containing her own footage shot during its making.


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