A chat with Charlie Lyne, maker of teen movie documentary, Beyond CluelessBy Editor
After a lengthy period of time revisiting his favourite teen comedies, Charlie Lyne set about to create a documentary which attempts to explore the themes, imagery and lots of other stuff we may have missed the first time around.
We managed to get a chance to speak to him before his debut feature, Beyond Clueless, is released today.
So you've almost finished your preview tour, what has the response been like?
It's been unbelievable. We were expecting a few dud shows where no one turned up, but we've been blown away by the turnout. It's been amazing to see people that completely share your interests.
Have you encountered any people in your Q&As that have been even more into teen films than you?
Yes, certainly. We kept getting people who felt really passionate about one particular movie and were furious that we'd misinterpreted it. It was also great when someone thanked us for including a really obscure favourite of theirs.
So where did this desire to make a teen cinema documentary come from?
It was more accidental in a way. I've always been fascinated by these films and a couple of years ago I started re-watching and dwelling on them a lot. It made me delve back into my teenage cinematic appetite. After a while, I became obsessed with how they seemed to exist in their own universe as they all had a certain feel to them. So I wanted to figure out a way to express and comment on it, and because it's such a sensory genre I felt that rather than in writing, a medium using audio/video would help best convey my thoughts on the genre.
How did you go about kicking off the project?
I basically just started talking to a few people about it, including Summer Camp who wrote the score, and they were as interested as I was, so we put the idea on Kickstarter to see if anyone else was interested.
.How did you manage to get Fairuza Balk [from cult hits like The Craft and Almost Famous] to narrate it?
It was a complete stroke of luck, basically. We had so little money that we made it without asking anyone. We just hoped that she liked the near-enough final product and would commit to it. Luckily, she was really on board with the idea and we went from there.
Did you consider interviewing cast or crew members?
We thought about it to some extent, but as time went on we got much more out of it being this pure thing where it didn't deviate from what we originally set out to accomplish. Also, by sticking to just the original footage and soundtrack it became a hermetically sealed world and it felt more real to me.
Where do you think teen films of the 90s and noughties will be placed in the story of film?
Teen movies are always going to be a time capsule; I think the best ones are always of their time and they connect with teenagers directly at the point when they're in cinemas. They encapsulate teen anxiety and preoccupations, making them fascinating to explore. No other genre explicitly targets people when they're at their most impressionable. So why you wouldn't want to make that a subject for analysis I don't know? It's a genre with an incredible power to influence.
What does it take for a film to be a personal teenage favourite?
It’s simply one that caught them at the right moment and dominated that period of their life.