Starting today (June 1), the online home of esteemed film director David Lynch will also serve as a hub for 121 short documentary web films. The series, dubbed Interview Project, will feature a new episode every three days over the course of the next year.
The films, produced through Lynch’s production company Absurda Films, range from three to five minutes in length and were shot and edited by Lynch’s son, Austin, and fellow filmmaker Jason S. They’re the result of a road trip across the US in which the team found subjects through myriad ways: in bars, on highways, mowing their lawns.
‘We simply wanted to document people and their lives,’ offers co-director Jason S., who says the initial idea was hatched around a kitchen table. ‘The structure itself developed over the course of the journey and we feel that the end result mirrors the initial idea.
‘Rarely would we stay in town for a prolonged period of time,’ he recalls. ‘If we did not find a subject within an hour we would leave that town and go to another. Where we stopped off was purely coincidental and depended on our mood, the song that was on the radio, the weather…’
Pre-production was limited to an outline of questions that each participant would be asked. The interrogators are never heard in the films – the only words come from the subjects themselves.
The first episode, titled ‘Jess,’ focuses on a Vietnam vet in his early sixties found on a California roadside. The website also offers glimpses at the other episodes to come through screen shots and audio clips. Jason S. says that although all the subjects featured were ‘receptive’ to being interviewed, there were others who declined the opportunity. ‘Some people said no and it only leaves us wondering what great things they would have said.’
Jason says that they plan on ‘investigating all potential avenues of distribution for Interview Project but the primary goal is to see how it is received online.’ There’s been a sizable amount of blogging about the series thus far, with a couple of clips available on other film sites. With David Lynch and Absurda Films ‘presenting’ the series, and Lynch himself providing an intro to each episode (click here to see Lynch discuss the series), some viewers may be inclined to treat the films as extensions of his filmic approach, which is traditionally steeped in the dark and melancholy. But Jason S. says he and Austin knew that going into the project.
‘Anything associated with David will always have people thinking a certain way when they view it and we are unable to change that,’ he reasons. ‘We documented the America that we saw and were inspired by. The editing process is where the episodes took shape and gave us a chance to heighten the reality that we perceived when shooting the subjects. It is an America looked at through our filter.’