[‘1971’ Interview] Music docuseries editors piece together history, culture and inspirational voices


Preston Barta // Features Editor

Film editors Brett Irwin and Sam Blair are no strangers to challenges. Known for their filmmaking contributions to such titles as Stephen: The Murder That Changed a Nation, Keep Quiet, and David Beckham: Into the Unknown, they’ve each carved out a unique style that pulls together heart, truth, and intrigue. 

Irwin and Blair had their work cut out for them to deliver Asif Kapadia’s soul-filled eight-part docuseries 1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything, now streaming on Apple TV+. Irwin assembled episodes 1 (“What’s Happening”) and 5 (“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”), while Blair did episodes 3 (“Changes”) and 8 (“Starman”). 

Marvin Gaye, John Lennon, Aretha Franklin, and David Bowie are just a few of the artists that the filmmakers focused on—using stunning archival footage, photographs, and the power of voice to piece together a one-of-a-kind documentary experience.

Fresh Fiction had the opportunity to sit down with Irwin and Blair to discuss the excitement and challenges of editing the series as well as the subtle art of transitions and insight gained. Enjoy that 20-minute video chat below, and be sure to catch the series today on Apple TV+!

About author

Preston Barta

I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction (FreshFiction.tv) as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.