Friday, May 2, 2008

Out in Film: Todd Haynes

Idol worship: Todd Haynes, writer/director/producer.

- His infamous short film, Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story (which told the story of the late anorexic singer's life using Barbie dolls), prompted a copyright infringement lawsuit by Richard Carpenter due to the unlicensed use of the recording duo's music. It was pulled from distribution, but you can see it here in full (don't you just love these unlawful internets).

- More controversy came with his feature film debut, Poison; the film earned him the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and the title of one of the vanguard of the "new queer cinema", but due to its partial funding by the National Endowment of the Arts, it was targeted by the religious right, who labeled the experimental work "filth".

- Venturing into "safer" territory (for him at least), he has brought us the AIDS parable Safe, the glam rock musical Velvet Goldmine and the Douglas Sirk-inspired Far from Heaven, for which he received an Oscar nomination for its Original Screenplay.

- In addition to writing and directing his own work, he produced QuinceaƱera, has appeared in several documentaries about independent and queer film, and directed a music video for Sonic Youth.

- His most recent work, the unconventional Bob Dylan biopic I'm Not There, will be released on DVDthis Tuesday.

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