Sissy Spacek selects Austin Lynch

Austin Lynch, son of David, on funding his film through Kickstarter and Twin Peaks cameos

Austin Lynch
Ryan Kenny

Taken from the December issue of Dazed & Confused:

Original scream queen Sissy Spacek: “Austin is a talented artist who approaches filmmaking with a painterly eye. Gray House is an ambitious project and promises to be both provocative and insightful. I can’t wait to see it!”

“I remember trying to watch Beverly Hills Cop; I got in a lot of trouble for that,” says 31-year-old filmmaker Austin Lynch of his childhood in a “regular neighbourhood” in Charlottesville, Virginia. Despite being the heir to father David’s notoriously disturbing cinematic empire, his exposure to film was monitored closely by his mom, Mary Fisk. “But then Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was R or PG-13. We rented it – somehow it slipped through the cracks – and when we got home, my mom realised. That was when she gave up and let me watch it.” From the age of seven, summers were spent on film sets in LA with his father. “I was exposed to filmmaking when I was very young,” he says. “I was in a couple things where he somehow convinced me to act.” These included a cameo in Twin Peaks as a child magician who conjures a plate of creamed corn into his hands. “I just did it and hoped for the best. I hope he got what he wanted.”

I’m interested in film as an experience more than personally being interested in conveying a message

Lynch later experimented with abstract painting during a BFA at Cooper Union, before directing a ten-part documentary on Terrence Malick’s The New World and a behind-the-scenes film on Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood. Now, via Kickstarter, he has raised a cool $26,000 for Gray House, an exploration of domestic space that weaves documentary with narrative, blurring fiction and reality. “The Kickstarter thing was incredible,” he says. “It’s overwhelming seeing your friends and people you’ve never met chip in and help you make your film.” Some could argue that after a couple of tweets from Daddy, any film could find funding, but Austin is humble about the financial leg-up. “For me, for this film, it was a necessity. Kickstarter was the best way to move forward, retaining total control of the film and getting up positive momentum.”

Gray House splices fictional narratives starring the likes of fashion designer Jeremy Scott, artist Dianna Molzan and French actress Aurore Clément (Paris, Texas) with documentary segments in environments like a woman’s prison and a North Dakota oil riggers’ “man camp”. “I’m interested in film as an experience more than personally being interested in conveying a message,” Lynch concludes. “That is the starting point.” 

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