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Q&A With 'Life Is But a Dream' Co-Director

Klaudia//February 16, 2013
Lights, Camera, Beyoncé!

The day has finally come for fans to take an intimate sneak peek inside the life of one of the world’s most successful superstars. Beyoncé’s highly anticipated HBO documentary, Life Is But a Dream, debuts today, and we can. not. wait.
In Touch sat down for a Q&A session with Ed Burke, the film's co-director, who dished about the singer’s family, privacy and performances. So what does he really think of Queen B? Find out below.

IT: What kind of guidelines or boundaries did Beyoncé give you for this film?
EB: “It was a really open creative process. We co-directed it together and she was really hands on. It was very strange— it was two years in the making, but it was the last two weeks is where it really landed. It was so fast, we did it without an interview first, which is very challenging to do. We then did our interview post pregnancy when she was in a completely different place and it balanced out everything.

IT: How has motherhood changed her?
EB: “I would say she’s happier. She seems to be more grounded — and I know they always say ‘kids are the best thing for you,’ but I got to say, it’s true in this case.”

IT: And what about Jay Z?
EB: “Well they are an amazing family. They’re very private about their personal life but he is an amazing father and husband and he actually makes me think about my relationship with my wife —that’s how good he is. It’s the most surprising thing in the whole documentary that he let some of that stuff go. He’s in there doing some beautiful things as a husband and as a father.”

HBO Interview with Beyoncé

Klaudia//February 16, 2013
HBO: What made you decide to make a documentary?

BEYONCÉ: I decided to make a documentary for a number of reasons.

First of all, I just wanted to cut through the noise. We live in a celebrity-obsessed culture where there's a lot of information traveling and a lot of talk, but if you really take a look you'll see that for the most part, it's not me doing the talking. Making a documentary was a chance to show who I am and what I really care about.

And it was a new experience for me and an opportunity to examine my thoughts and emotions in a new way, to examine how I look at the world and the people around me, especially during a time when my spirit was put to the test. I was starting a business, launching a record and keeping a big secret inside of me, and it was a way to maintain my sanity, to keep my grip on the world.  I learned so much about myself in making this film, and that is what art is for me, an exploration of self.

HBO: How did you begin or approach the process? Did you have an idea in advance of what you wanted the story to be? Or did you discover themes and storylines along the way? 

BEYONCÉ: I don't think you'll find one documentary director who'll say that he or she knew right from the start what the film is going to be like in the end. Unlike fiction films, documentaries are really created in the edit process. All I knew going into this was that I wanted to share my point of view on life... I wouldn't have released a film just for the sake of self-documentation,  I wanted it to express what I believe to be true about life - that it's not random, that everything has a reason and that we need to be conscious of life's little clues and how the dots all connect or we miss out. 

HBO was skeptical about running Beyonce's documentary

Klaudia//February 15, 2013
Last summer it took six weeks for Beyoncé’s management team to convince skeptical HBO officials to sit down and watch the pop star’s new self-made documentary “Life Is but a Dream.”

But once they did, the film, airing Feb. 16, topped the network’s “must have” list.

“I have no clue why this works,” HBO’s President of Programming Michael Lombardo told the Daily News. “If someone said to me, ‘Why is this on HBO?’ I can’t say why — this isn’t a traditional documentary and this isn’t a traditional music special because there something undeniably moving and honest about it.”

Lombardo said that the film arrived at HBO nearly complete and needed only minor edits and titles added, all of which were handled by Beyoncé’s team.

Initially, he did not go out of his way to accommodate Beyoncé — after all, HBO has long been known for airing critically acclaimed documentaries and blockbuster music specials.

They receive and reject hundreds of pitches a year — many times from A-list stars.

“I knew who Beyoncé was, but I wasn’t really a fan. If you had asked me to name more than one of her songs at that point I couldn’t,” Lombardo admitted.

But as he does for most potential HBO programming candidates, he asked Beyoncé’s team to send over a copy of her film for him to preview.

They refused and instead insisted that they personally hand deliver a copy and watch it with him in HBO’s Los Angeles screening room.

Learn About Beyoncé From Her Co-Director

Klaudia//February 14, 2013
“I’m trying to really live in the moment," Beyoncé told Oprah last night in their Q&A introduction to Life Is But a Dream, the singer's HBO documentary airing Saturday at 8 p.m. "This is huge for me.” Though Beyoncé herself didn't stop for print interviews on the red carpet, her co-director Ed Burke — who has worked with Beyoncé for eight years and directed her Beyoncé’s I Am... World Tour documentary — happily obliged. Here's what we learned from him.

Beyoncé is "so hands-on." (Surprise!)
"She was in the edit room fourteen to sixteen hours a day looking at all the footage. She goes through every piece of footage, which is nuts to me, but she spends the time and does it ... she keeps a personal diary on her computer. I think that’s kind of therapy for her and not for the public eye — but she gave us 44 minutes from these diaries. That’s what spurred the whole project, and we structured it from these diaries that were very raw, revealing, and honest."

She didn't censor the documentary.
"Never. ‘Oh, you can’t show that.'" (That said, the documentary makes no mention of the scandal that's surrounded her father.)

There's a "weird perception" of who she is. (Surprise!)
"I think everyone has a really weird perception of who Beyoncé is, and I know her as my friend, my boss, but she’s really humble and normal, which is what I like. She could have done a fluff piece; she could have done something that was just purely for financial reasons, but this was purely a thing from her heart. Is it a good move? I can’t answer that. The Super Bowl was a good move for her. But I think it’s beautiful because you really get to know who she is."

Beyoncé wants to know "what's your dream"

Klaudia//February 13, 2013
On February 16, one of Beyoncé’s dreams comes true when her film premieres on HBO. What’s your dream? Tell her on a piece of paper, share a pic of it to Instagram with hashtag #LifeIsButADream, and you might inspire Beyoncé herself to respond to you with a handwritten note. Check out other people's dreams here.

Beyoncé Knowles: The Queen B

Klaudia//February 11, 2013
Chart-topper, glamour wife, style icon, filmmaker, new mom, business mogul—Beyoncé is at the height of her powers and writing her own script.

Has there ever been a steeper, stranger, more rollicking two-week roller coaster in American pop-cultural life than the one Beyoncé Knowles rode from the middle of January (not long after I interviewed her for Vogue) into early February? The craziness started, of course, with that national anthem on the Capitol steps; Beyoncé’s soaring rendition was lavishly praised at first, but then it was revealed to have been sung to a prerecorded track. The resulting uproar was noisy and blustery and as close to a scandal as Beyoncé had experienced in her life; for an artist accustomed to controlling the narrative, it was unfamiliar, awkward territory. It got nasty—Beyoncé was shoved forward as a symbol of a synthetic generation—and yet she said nothing for ten days, until surfacing in a white Olcay Gulsen minidress at a Super Bowl press conference in New Orleans on January 31. There, she opened by singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” again—clearly live—in a soulful and satisfying and very much Beyoncé way. As a bit of crisis-management stagecraft, it was a knockout, and after Beyoncé sailed through to the “home of the brave,” she smiled and offered two words to her skeptics:

“Any questions?”

Sure, there was still the Super Bowl, perhaps an even more treacherous high wire, given its ludicrous logistics (a megastage to be assembled and stripped apart between halves of a football game) and a global audience in the hundreds of millions. But from the moment Beyoncé appeared at the Superdome midfield, left hand on hip—below an enormous, flaming silhouette of herself, left hand on hip—it was obvious she brought a motive and probably a little bit of a grudge. The Super Bowl is no shrine, and there’s always something a little ridiculous about it (New Kids on the Block once got this gig), but Beyoncé’s performance was conspicuous in its determination to project authenticity: real energy, real dancing, and yes, real-as-hell singing. She powered through a hailstorm of hits, briefly being joined by her Destiny’s Child colleagues Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland for a medley and a brush of Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).” It was impossible not to be taken by Beyoncé’s sheer relentlessness—in Proenza Schouler boots, no less. It was as if she was chasing all that post-Inauguration doubt down a narrow corridor, blasting a pair of laser guns. Minutes after she finished, almost poetically, the power would bonk out in the Superdome. Beyoncé’s husband, Jay-Z, sent out a triumphant tweet from the darkness: “Lights out!!! Any questions??”

Beyonce Draws 104 Million to Super Bowl Halftime

Klaudia//February 5, 2013
The half-hour that included Beyonce’s performance at Super Bowl XLVII was one of the most watched segments of the NFL championship on Sunday, hitting an average of about 104 million viewers, Billboard estimates, based on Nielsen data.

Nielsen estimated 108.41 million viewers tuned in for the Super Bowl, making it the third-most-watched program in television history behind Super Bowl XLVI and Super Bowl XLV. Nielsen, heeding CBS’s request, is not counting the 34-minute power outage delay in its ratings.

The halftime show began shortly before 8:10 p.m. ET and between 8 and 8:30, the show did a 48.2 rating, according to Nielsen’s metered market ratings. Based on Nielsen’s math of a little more than two viewers per television set, the viewership is in the 104 million ballpark. It is highly likely that when final numbers are released, Beyonce’s total will be lower than the 104 million estimate.

The block with Beyonce’s 14-minute performance outperformed the previous half-hour by three-tenths of a rating point. The Baltimore Ravens-San Francisco 49ers game peaked, audience-wise, between 10:30 and 10:47 p.m. when an average of 113.982 million viewers were watching.

The audience for Beyonce trailed Madonna’s performance at last year’s Super Bowl. Madge attracted 112.5 million viewers, surpassing the 95.7 million who watched Bruce Springsteen in 2009.

Beyonce’s performance was a showcase to promote her upcoming tour that will start with a June 28 concert at L.A.’s Staples center. Her show will be the kickoff of a three-day BET Experience at L.A. Live that will include music and comedy concerts, film screenings, “106 & Park” tapings, BET Fan Fest, seminars, a Grammy Museum exhibit and other events.

Beyonce calls surrogacy rumors "stupid"

Klaudia//January 26, 2013
Wow. When she gets personal, she goes all out.

Beyonce's HBO documentary Life is But a Dream delves into her marriage to rapper Jay-Z (including a sweet scene in Venice, which has them singing the song Yellow by Coldplay).

Lucky reporters got an advance copy of the film. And it was worth the wait. Seeing Beyonce, who normally never delves into her personal life, discussing her husband -- priceless.

"It's every woman's dream to feel this way about someone," Beyonce says about her husband during a vacation in Venice.

And yes, she shows her sonogram on screen.

But Beyonce, so private about her marriage and her life in general, goes much further. She shares footage of her trip to Paris with her nephew. She talks about wanting to "make love" to her husband. She explains why she decided to share her pregnancy news so visibly at the MTV awards.

Most notably: She opens up about her miscarriage two years ago, saying that one week she heard a heartbeat – and the next, nothing. And she talks about how devastating the loss was to her and how she retreated to the studio to deal with it.

Outtakes from Beyonce's GQ Cover Story

Klaudia//January 22, 2013
Beyoncé had so much to say in GQ's February cover story. And now, in the wake of that piece (not to mention news of her upcoming Super Bowl reunion with Destiny 's Child and performance at Obama's second inauguration), so do her fans. With the Twittersphere on fire about the GQ article and great Terry Richardson photos, let it never be said that we are not listening. When we read Tweets like this—

Michelle Janaye @michellejanaye
I would love to know what @msamywallace left #out of her cover story on Beyonce https://gqm.ag/Vlccu2 #LetMeSeeYourNotebook. #journostuff

—we got out our notebooks and got busy. Herewith, some outtakes from our interview that address some of the concerns of Beyonce's public:

Miss Millennium: Beyoncé

Klaudia//January 10, 2013
Beyoncé is ready to receive you now. From the chair where she's sitting, in the conference room of her sleek office suite in midtown Manhattan, at a round table elegantly laden with fine china, crisp cloth napkins, and take-out sushi from Nobu, she could toss some edamame over her shoulder and hit her sixteen Grammys, each wall-mounted in its own Plexiglas box. She is luminous, with that perfect smile and smooth coffee skin that shines under a blondish topknot and bangs. Today she's showing none of the bodaciously thick, hush-your-mouth body that's on display onstage, in her videos, and on these pages. This is Business Beyoncé, hypercomposed Beyoncé—fashionable, elegant, in charge. She's wearing the handiwork of no fewer than seven designers, among them Givenchy (the golden pin at her neck), Day Birger et Mikkelsen (her dainty gray-pink petal-collar blouse), Christian Louboutin (her pink five-inch studded heels), and Isabel Marant (her floral pants). She does not get up—a video camera has already been aimed at her face and turned on—so you greet her as you sit down. You have an agreed-upon window of time. Maybe a little more, if she finds you amusing.

You're here to talk about her big post-baby comeback (Blue Ivy, her daughter with Jay-Z, is a year old), which Beyoncé is marking in classic Beyoncé fashion: with a Hydra-headed pop-cultural blitzkrieg. This month, two weeks after she headlines the halftime show at Super Bowl XLVII, she will premiere an HBO "documentary"—more like a visual autobiography—about herself and her family that she financed, directed, produced, narrated, and stars in. This is a woman, after all, who's sold 75 million albums, just signed a $50 million endorsement deal with Pepsi (her flawless visage will festoon actual cans of soda), and will soon embark on a world tour to promote her fifth solo album, as yet untitled, due out as early as April. Who wouldn't want to know how she gets the job done?

Beyoncé documentary premiering Feb. 16 on HBO

Klaudia//November 26, 2012
Multiple Grammy®-winner, entrepreneur and actress Beyoncé will be the focus of an intimate feature-length HBO documentary film debuting Feb. 16, 2013, it was announced today by Michael Lombardo, president, HBO Programming. Directed by the superstar, the film is a fusion of video that provides raw, unprecedented access to the private entertainment icon and high-voltage performances.

“Everybody knows Beyoncé’s music, but few know Beyoncé the person,” said Lombardo. “Along with electrifying footage of Beyoncé onstage, this unique special looks beyond the glamour to reveal a vibrant, vulnerable, unforgettable woman.”

“HBO has a history of pushing every boundary with class and authenticity,” said Beyoncé. “Some of my favorite shows are on HBO, so I am excited that my film will be part of its bold programming. This film was so personal to me, it had to have the right home."

The film is a multi-faceted portrait of the 16-time Grammy Award-winning singer, businesswoman, songwriter, actress, entrepreneur, wife and mother, showing off the extraordinary gifts that have made her a global phenomenon, and stripping away the veneer of stardom. It includes extensive first-person footage, some of it shot by Beyoncé on her laptop, in which she reflects on the realities of celebrity, the refuge she finds onstage and the transcendent joy of becoming a mother last year.

The film sheds light on her childhood in Houston, with home movies revealing the close bond she built with her family and charts the challenges Beyoncé felt when she decided to manage her career and build her own company, Parkwood Entertainment. The film also captures the intense physical and emotional demands she goes through in the studio, preparing for live performances, running a business and her family life including her return to the spotlight after the birth of her daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, in January 2012.

Beyoncé also serves as the film’s executive producer.

A Night With Beyonce on French TV

Klaudia//December 10, 2011
A Night With Beyonce was also aired in France and they showed more performances! You can download the full show below.<br /><br /><center><img src="https://beyonceonline.org/download/video/anwb.jpg"><br /><b>A Night With Beyonce (France)</b><br />Size: 440,38 MB