David Lynch will give you a T-shirt if you help someone make a documentary about him

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David Lynch has tried some unusual publicity moves in his day -- like the time he sat on a corner of Hollywood and La Brea with a cow to promote “Inland Empire” -- so we suppose it makes sense, as much as anything about David Lynch makes sense, that someone making a film about him would try something equally attention-grabbing.

The enigmatic (but still publicity-minded) filmmaker who made a documentary about the shooting of “Inland Empire” and followed it up with a documentary short about, well, the making of “Inland Empire,” is making another, potentially broader doc about the “Eraserhead” auteur, titled “LYNCHthree.” And he’s asking people to send small donations in exchange for some artwork designed by Lynch himself and just generally feeling good/weird about yourself.

The director of the film is identified only as blackANDwhite, someone who some pundits have theorized may be Lynch himself. He’s not, just a kind of protege of Lynch whose real name -- er, other pseudonym -- is Jason S., and who also co-directed Lynch’s “Interview Project,” in which the American Surrealist tooled around the country interviewing people.

We caught up with the producer of “LYNCHthree,” a man named Jon Nguyen, who lives in Denmark (of course), to find out if this all makes as little sense as it seems to make. Nguyen was able to tell us that blackANDwhite will tail Lynch around on and off for the next year as part of “LYNCHthree.” But he was Lynchian about other details.
You’d think, for instance, that a production team committing to shooting someone for a year would know what their film would be about. But they don’t. Or, in Lynchian fashion, they’re not telling. “It will be a mixture of cinema verite and engagement, but we don’t really know what it’s about,” Nguyen said. And where will they be shooting it? “We don’t really know where the film will take place. A lot will take place in his compound, and if he goes anywhere we’ll be willing to follow him.” (Something about Nguyen’s tone suggested the possibility that Lynch could actually be shooting a movie during this time -- he hasn’t made a feature in four years -- but maybe that was just wishful thinking.)


It’s still hard to know if this doc is some sort of conceptual joke or just a not entirely-organized independent-film project. What we do know is that there’s a publicity/social-media hook -- namely, that anyone who donates $50 to help get production going (the filmmakers are hoping the rest comes from European film funds) will receive a self-portrait from the director on either a poster or a T-shirt. Said contributors will also get to send along questions that Jason S. may ask Lynch over the course of shooting.
We have only one question ourselves. Actually, we have many more questions, but only one we have any hope of being answered: How involved is Lynch in all of this? “The kind of person he is enabled him to be more open-minded to our approach,” Nguyen said. “But he’s in the background.” With a cow, we suspect.

--Steven Zeitchik


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