American independent filmmaker Todd Haynes has announced that he is working on a new documentary about the experimental rock band Velvet Underground. This is going to be Haynes’s first documentary, and he is teaming up with producers Christine Vachon and David Blackman.
The currently untitled project will be an “intensely visual experience” and rely on “[Andy] Warhol films but also a rich culture of experimental film, a vernacular we have lost and we don’t have, [and that] we increasingly get further removed from,” the director of “Far From Heaven” and “Carol” told Variety at the Locarno Film Festival. The film will include interviews with surviving band members and other artists associated with the group.
Formed in 1964, the Velvet Underground started their career as the house band at Warhol’s New York studio The Factory, performing at a series of multimedia events called “Exploding Plastic Inevitable”. They were briefly managed by the artist, who created the famous print of a banana for the cover of their 1967 debut album.
“They’re the most influential of bands – as Brian Eno said, everybody who bought [Velvet Underground & Nico] started a band,” Haynes said in Locarno. “Their influence has nothing to do with sales or visibility or the ways we portion ideas of success.”
The band’s debut album ‘The Velvet Underground & Nico’ turned 50 years old in March this year. Although the record was initially a commercial failure and ignored by critics, it is now considered an important chapter in music history. It influenced artists like David Bowie, who even covered ‘Waiting for the Man’. Rolling Stone magazine ranked ‘The Velvet Underground & Nico’ 13th on its “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” list.
The band released four more studio albums in their short career, which ended in 1973. Singer and songwriter Lou Reed, guitarist Sterling Morrison, bassist John Cale and drummer Maureen Tucker reunited briefly on a couple of occasions in the 90s. Reed passed away in 2013 and Morrison died in 1995.