1667461603 Filmmaker Alek Keshishian Realized Selena Gomez Is Much Much More

Filmmaker Alek Keshishian Realized Selena Gomez Is “Much, Much More Than a Pop Star” While Filming ‘My Mind & Me’

As a filmmaker Alex Keshishian When she first met Selena Gomez, her management had asked him to direct the 2015 pop star video Hands to Myself as she was a huge fan of his work on the Madonna documentary Truth or Dare. was from 1991.



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Over the years, the two have remained close and even attempted to film a documentary about Gomez’s 2016 revival tour — but the timing wasn’t right. “She’s been through a lot of things, and it just didn’t feel right to have cameras in front of her face all the time,” Keshishian tells Billboard, adding that the two met later in 2019 to follow up on Gomez’s philanthropic journey filming Kenya.

“I said, ‘Let me shoot a few days before we go to Kenya to see where you are now,'” recalls the filmmaker. “On that first day of shooting I realized there was a bigger story and I suggested we just shoot more in LA before we go to Kenya. There was a story here about a girl who had just got out of a psychiatric facility, was recovering, but was also interested in helping others. There was an interesting tension between being the patient who is still in his own recovery but also wanting to step up and try to bring healing to other people.”

Thus was born the new Apple TV+ documentary Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me, which chronicles the star’s year-long journey through the heights of fame and the depths of a deeply personal crisis and back again. They are perhaps the most vulnerable fans Gomez has ever seen and Keshishian has been of the utmost importance in creating a safe space for the 30-year-old to be herself.

“I’m a really empathetic person and I really care about my subject,” he explains. “I sort of live their life with them, and I tend to get very close to my subject. [Selena] really became like a sister to me and someone I felt protective of.”

Keshishian noted that he was “fine” in his filming style and made sure Gomez was completely comfortable along the way. Remarkably, the Only Murders in the Building star is visibly suffering from lupus in a poignant scene in the film. “I was like, ‘Are you sure I can film this?’ And she said, ‘Yes, you can film it,'” he says. “At that point we were so aligned in what we were trying to do that I think she felt compelled to share those really unguarded moments. If she doesn’t feel it [empathy] from me, she will not consent to being filmed.

And even though Keshishian has known Gomez for nearly seven years at this point, there were still things that surprised him while filming the star. “I just found out that this is a very special soul,” he explains. “I believe she is on earth to help others. When I first started working with her, I thought, ‘She’s a young pop star,'” he recalls with a shrug. “But over the six, seven years that I’ve been working with her now, I’ve come to realize that she’s much, much more than a pop star. This girl is a philanthropist in the deepest definition of the word and I think that will be her legacy.”

His affection and connection to Gomez is exactly why he wanted to create something special with My Mind & Me – not only for their fans but also for everyone who has mental health issues. “I’ve tried to tell this story, which is very specific, but there’s also a kind of bigger, almost mythological one [story] in terms of the hero’s journey,” he says. “You get the sense that she’s just this young girl from Texas on the poor side of the railroad tracks, on one level on this meteoric rise to stardom, but on an internal personal level confronting some deeper existential issues in her life is like, ‘What is this for? What am I doing?'”

He continues: “On that level I think it’s universal and hopefully also inspiring to remember that you can be broken and still change the world. We all have our darkest moments, but it’s a matter of what we do with them. I also suffer from depression and anxiety, so I think that connection was big for me and Selena.”

Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me is available Friday (November 4) on Apple TV+.