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Published: 2017/08/08

Todd Haynes Discusses His Upcoming Velvet Underground Documentary

Todd Haynes’ next project will see the acclaimed director helming his first documentary film, which will attempt to capture the ethos of legendary band The Velvet Underground. At the Locarno Film Festival, where he was being honored with the career achievement Pardo d’onore Manor award, Haynes spoke with Variety in a new interview in which he details some of his vision and foreseeable difficulties in the documentary’s undertaking (via Consequence of Sound).

The director, known for feature films like Velvet Goldmine, Far From Heaven and Carol along with the ambitious Bob Dylan biopic I’m Not There, says he will be taking cues from the films of Velvet Underground collaborator Andy Warhol, “but also a rich culture of experimental film, a vernacular we have lost and we don’t have, [and that] we increasingly get further removed from.”

Haynes admits that the task of documenting the iconic band will be “challenging” but will embrace the difficulty amid “the thrill of the research and the visual assemblage” as he and his team dig “in deep to the resources and material and stock and archival footage and the actual cinema and experimental work.” The documentary will also feature interviews with the surviving members of VU.

The director also says that he aims for the film to be “an intensely visual experience,” noting the vast influence the band has had on music and culture at the time and ever since. In his words, the band’s world was “a truly experimental cross-section of film, contemporary art, and a rejection of mainstream consumer culture at a very rich and fertile time of the 1960s in New York City.”

Haynes also hints at another project he has in the works, a limited Amazon series about an unnamed but “intensely important figure of immense historical and cultural influence.” The series will apparently “re-examine a figure who maybe we forget how radical they were in their thinking because they were so incorporated into our culture and outlook as a modern society.”

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