by Dave Bradley.

Benjamin Statler co-wrote, co-produced and directed the documentary Soaked In Bleach. The Clothesline speaks with Benjamin, via email, and begins by asking  if it is incorrect that, according to the IMDB, that Soaked In Bleach supposedly took eight years to complete.

“Although I had been envisioning a project like Soaked In Bleach for over a decade, we didn’t actually begin preproduction on the film until May 1st, 2013, so it actually took us about 2 years to make.”

Courtney Love has been fiercely opposed to other documentaries about Kurt Cobain, like Nick Broomfield’s Kurt & Courtney, so did she try to stop or at least hurt the production of your film? Or has she caused problems since its release? And what about the treatment of the movie on the IMDB and the hijacking of its rating system?

“I invited Courtney to be interviewed for Soaked In Bleach in 2013. I never heard back from her until shortly after I released the first trailer for the film in April of 2014 when her attorneys sent me cease-and-desist letters. Her attorneys also sent cease-and-desist letters to myself and the distributors when the film was announcing its release and then her attorneys also sent cease-and-desist letters to every theatre that was screening the film.

“There was actually an article on Reddit about how the ratings sabotage for Soaked In Bleach was the most blatant in movie history. There were like 1000 ‘people’ who had voted 1 out of 10 for the IMDB ratings before the movie was even released. When it was finally investigated it was found that a lot of these ‘people’ didn’t even have real emails and so the fraudulent votes were deleted. There was similar action with Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic as well.”

Was it strange casting actors to play Courtney, private investigator Tom Grant and (subtly) Kurt himself in the recreations?

“It was a bit of a daunting task but we were really fortunate to have such talented actors like Sarah Scott, Danny Roebuck and Tyler Bryan.”

What about the usage of Nirvana music? Your film has none, but you wanted to use some tracks, right?

“I used some Nirvana tracks for the temp score before we had Peter Adams come on to do the final score after we had locked the picture. I was using About A Girl for the Aberdeen scene, a Tori Amos cover of Smells Like Teen Spirit for a scene of the April 10th prayer vigil that had been in a previous cut, and I had originally planned on using Come As You Are for the end credits and had also considered a Polyphonic Spree cover of Lithium.”

Could you explain the significance of the title, please? You’ve spoken before about whitewashing, so do you mean whitewashing by the media, the police or both?

“It’s more primarily speaking of a whitewashing of the facts of the investigation by the propagation of misinformation by the mainstream media. I felt like a just investigation that was due to Kurt had been “doused in mud” by the police and that the reality of this had been ‘soaked in bleach’ by the media. These lyrics of course are from Come As You Are.”

Although your claims in the film are backed up by actual recordings and the testimony of Grant and other seriously credible individuals, have there been any legal rumblings surrounding the film?

“The only legal rumblings were the cease-and-desist letters from Courtney’s attorneys. We were very careful to follow the legal guidelines of fair use and freedom of speech.”

Have there been any developments in the Kurt Cobain case since the film wrapped?

“Yes, some key people have begun to come forward, and some other significant and encouraging things have been happening. I’m not permitted to share this info publicly at this time.”

And what do you do now that Soaked In Bleach is finished and out there, Ben? You’ve produced other movies, but do you intend to direct again, and fictional feature films as well as documentaries?

Soaked In Bleach is actually the first of a trilogy of films of the same docudrama template which I’ll direct. I’m in the early phases of working on getting a production fund for a slate of feature films for my company Montani Productions. Most of these features will be true to life. My plan is to produce most of these with some of my favourite directors so that I can have a front row seat education from watching them work and then I’ll eventually direct some features in the future.”

Soaked In Bleach is out now on DVD thanks to Shock Entertainment.

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