Documenting David Lynch
Source: Canon Europe
Jason Scheunemann is working with a mystery. Since November last year, he has been trailing filmmaker David Lynch – recording the director in a fly on the wall style whilst Lynch completes his latest film project. Shrouded in secrecy, details about the new Lynch project have been few and far between, Lynch being a master at playing his cards very close. All this lends Scheunemann’s film a double edge of secrecy – the secrecy of Lynch’s new film, and the mystery that is Lynch himself.
Using gear from Canon, Scheunemann has been following David Lynch since November recording a fly on the wall documentary about him and his latest project. Lynch is one of Hollywood’s most intriguing and private characters. With a feature film career that commenced with 1977’s Eraserhead, Lynch has presented an oft times nightmarish and indecipherable alternative universe in his films – and it is for these complexities that fans love his work. Scheunemann has known Lynch for some time, and approached him last July with a proposal for a documentary on him. Says Scheunemann “David was extremely accommodating with regard to granting me permission to make this film about him. The first wave of filming took place in Los Angeles in early November 2004, and then continued in Lodz, Poland in December.”
In keeping with the secrecy surrounding the new film project, the images that you see here were shot while Lynch was doing a photo shoot with the EOS 1DS Mark II as part of the CAMERIMAGE festival in Poland.
Following filming in Poland, Scheunemann cut a short pilot documentary. To get permission to continue filming Lynch, Scheunemann showed him the rough cut. If Lynch didn’t like the work, Scheunemann’s documentary would have been cut short. “David saw the pilot that I made from the footage in Poland, and all I can say is that I am still here today, filming!”
For the shoot in Poland, Scheunemann had assembled a crew to assist in filming. “The crew was quite large, especially for a documentary,” says Scheunemann. The role of the documentarian is to become as invisible as possible, to remove the distance between the subject and the camera, which can obviously be quite difficult if there are several people following them about. One of the advantages of shooting with digital, rather than with film, is that the filmmaker can be much less obtrusive. Scheunemann tells us that, since returning to Los Angeles to film, “It has only been me and my Canon cameras. I enjoy the freedom of digital, especially with regard to lighting and ease of manoeuvrability.” Scheunemann has largely been recording with an XM2 and MVX35i.
Scheunemann is relatively new to filmmaking, and wants to ensure that the film that he makes expresses his voice, and not the voice of his subject. “David is the only filmmaker that I have worked with, so my frame of reference is quite limited. It would seem only natural that David would influence my style. It poses a difficult and interesting challenge for me to not be accused of mimicking David. Many of the same things that interest David also interest me, but his approach to these things is entirely unique.” For what he wants his film to show, Scheunemann says, “I am trying to give the world a personal view of David. I want to show them that he is a very happy, very funny, very nice person who just happens to be able to take them into very mysterious worlds”.
Spending so much time with Lynch affords Scheunemann the chance to learn from one of the masters of his craft. “David is like a battery that people plug into, he feeds the creative process,” explains Scheunemann. “I enjoy watching him direct and try to learn from him so that I can apply my style to the knowledge he is giving.” In describing Lynch’s directorial technique Scheunemann explains, “David is a very spontaneous director, he knows what he wants, but is not afraid to let ‘happy accidents’ make their way onto the set”.
Scheunemann will continue to trail David Lynch until August, and hopes that his film will be ready for release at the end of next year. In keeping with the silence that surrounds Lynch’s latest film, Scheunemann will have to wait until Lynch’s film is released before he shows his own project to the world – lest he be one to let the cat out of the bag. He needs to be necessarily vague about the details of his project. It must be a big responsibility to be the keeper of David Lynch’ secrets.http://www.canon-europe.com/you_connect/july2005/davidlynch/
You can check out some of the notes from the documentary on the filmmaker's Blog:http://davidlynchdoc2007.blogspot.com/