Doco covers musician’s travels, troubled early life


Receiving an ‘‘overwhelming reaction’’ from an audience member is when Bill Morris remembers why he makes films.
The Dunedin-based filmmaker and songwriter’s documentary The Sound of Her Guitar, which will have its Dunedin premiere next Thursday, takes the audience on tour across America with Kiwi country musician Donna Dean, contrasting snapshots from the road with tales of her troubled early life.
Morris said there had been a couple of early screenings where low audience numbers had caused both himself and Dean to wonder why they had made the film, but the ‘‘overwhelming reaction’’ from some viewers about the film’s exploration of Dean’s early life within a cycle of domestic violence had caused them to feel proud of the project.
‘‘That makes you feel really. . .justified as a film-maker.’’
The 72-minute film had evolved out of a tour across the United States in 2013, after Dean’s bandmate and fellow Dunedin musician John Egenes asked Morris to film the two-time New Zealand Country Music Album of the Year winner touring the homeland of country music.
It was only when they arrived back in New Zealand that the footage morphed into a documentary about Dean’s fight to overcome a troubled background.
‘‘It’s a story that I feel is really important to get out into the community.’’
The film made its debut at the DocEdge festival in May, where it received the Best New Zealand Editing award.
Morris said the film was appreciated by many musicians for its realistic, unglamorous portrayal of life on tour.
– The Sound of Her Guitar
will premiere in Dunedin at the Metro Cinema on Thursday, June 30, at 8pm. If there is enough demand there may be another screening earlier in the evening. For tickets, visit or phone Bill on 022 062-3522.