David Lynch Presents the Interview Project: 121 Mini-Documentaries About Life in America

What is the Inter­view Project? David Lynch describes it as “a 20,000-mile road trip over 70 days across and back the Unit­ed States” where “peo­ple have been found and inter­viewed,” and if you watch the videos this trip pro­duced, you’re “going to meet hun­dreds of peo­ple,” all dif­fer­ent, found “by dri­ving along the roads, going into bars, going into dif­fer­ent loca­tions, and there they were. The peo­ple told their sto­ry. It’s so fas­ci­nat­ing to look and lis­ten to peo­ple.” This all comes straight from the Inter­view Pro­jec­t’s Lynch-star­ring intro­duc­to­ry video above. As for its actu­al 121 video episodes, those come direct­ed by Lynch’s son Austin and his col­lab­o­ra­tor Jason S. And what ele­ments of the U.S. pop­u­la­tion have they curat­ed? Let’s just say you would­n’t hear these voic­es in the main­stream media — and prob­a­bly not even on This Amer­i­can Life. “Today we’re meet­ing Jere­mie,” Lynch père tells us in his open­er to the Inter­view Project episode below. “The team found Jere­mie in a restau­rant in Ham­mond, Louisiana.”

From the cor­ner of a hotel bed, young Jere­mie, who looks at first like a Mor­mon mis­sion­ary on casu­al day, describes his lit­tle-known town as “about 45 min­utes from Baton Rouge and about fif­teen hours from New Orleans.” He then recounts the impres­sive num­ber of lifestyles he’s lived so far: in the mil­i­tary, on the streets, “the drug scene,” “the nature scene.” He then gets into the rea­sons behind his taste for one-night stands and orgies. In the episode below, the team meets Traci, a motel man­ag­er in Mar­fa, Texas, who tells them under the moon­light of her vic­to­ry over alco­holism, her first encounter with her life­long best friend, and her once-recur­ring dreams of a face­less man with a goa­tee. At an auc­tion in Bel­lville, Wis­con­sin, they find Robin, who dis­cuss­es his attempts to start a mas­sage-and-heal­ing coop­er­a­tive, only to have them thwart­ed by the pre­vail­ing notion that “This is the Mid­west. It’s not going to hap­pen here.” The Inter­view Project has gath­ered small-town Amer­i­ca’s per­son­al sto­ries of tragedy, tri­umph, and all those rich expe­ri­ences in-between. “It’s some­thing that’s human,” to quote David Lynch again, “and you can’t stay away from it.” And at three or four min­utes apiece, you cer­tain­ly can’t watch just one.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

David Lynch Talks About His 99 Favorite Pho­tographs at Paris Pho­to 2012

David Lynch Presents the His­to­ry of Sur­re­al­ist Film (1987)

David Lynch Teach­es You to Cook His Quinoa Recipe in a Weird, Sur­re­al­ist Video

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on cities, Asia, film, lit­er­a­ture, and aes­thet­ics. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on his brand new Face­book page.

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