Sundance 2014: Watch Nick Cave Doc '20,000 Days On Earth' Directors Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard Q&A

Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds

Cat Stevens

The opening 90 seconds of the Nick Cave documentary "20,000 Days on Earth" cover healthy amount of time -- 19,999 days of pop culture, including Cave's work in the Birthday Party, with the Bad Seeds, Kylie Minogue and as a solo artist. It's aurally cacophonous and visually intense, but it serves a specific purpose.

Sundance 2014

"What it does is clear the deck and covers Nick's life from birth until the day before the film started," co-director Iain Forsyth says. "We wanted to get everything you expect in a Nick Cave documentary out of the way."

Adds Forsyth's partner Jane Pollard, "visually and sonically assaulting an audience to begin with, it resets going into the waking moments of the film. You've been slapped a bit. I like that way of working."

Finished just days before the festival began, "20,000 Days" had its world premiere on Jan. 20. At the premiere party, Cave sat at the piano and performed "God is in the House," "The Mercy Seat" and "People Ain't No Good" and within 24 hours the film was receiving rave reviews.

"I hope we've captured the Nick we've gotten to know over the last seven years," Pollard says. "There are so many things about him that are warm and, most importantly inspirational. I didn't know that we could we could get that across to the audience without taking the mask off."

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