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Todd Haynes, One of Portland’s Most Acclaimed Directors, Is Making A Velvet Underground Documentary

The documentary will rely “on Warhol films but also a rich culture of experimental film, a vernacular we have lost and we don’t have."

Todd Haynes, one of Portland’s most acclaimed directors, is making his first documentary. And it’s going to be about The Velvet Underground.

Variety first reported on the project, which is currently in production. The article quotes Haynes as referring to the difficulty of the task, considering that there’s not a lot of documentation of the band.

Related: New Film from Todd Haynes Receives Standing Ovation at Cannes

There is, however, an hour long movie of a 1966 rehearsal that Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey filmed. The documentary will “Rely certainly on Warhol films but also a rich culture of experimental film, a vernacular we have lost and we don’t have,” Haynes told Variety.

It’s not the first time Haynes has looked to music history for film subjects. In 2007, he directed I’m Not There, the Bob Dylan biopic that starred Cate Blanchett, and his 1998 Velvet Goldmine was an ode to glam rock featuring a David Bowie- inspired protagonist.

But his untitled Velvet Underground project will be the independent filmmaker's first documentary in earnest, complete with new interviews of the surviving band members and archival footage.

Haynes notes that while The Velvet Underground’s initial obscurity poses a challenge to making a documentary, it’s also part of what drew him to the band. “Their influence has nothing to do with sales or visibility or the ways we portion ideas of success,” he says.

More Todd Haynes in WW:

Todd Haynes Interviews Gus Van Sant Interviews Todd Haynes About Old Portland 

The Talented Mr. Haynes [2002 profile]

Todd Haynes Talks Mildred Pierce [2011 Q&A]

Todd Haynes Talks Joan Crawford and Karen Carpenter [2008 Q&A]