Twinheads

Meet the awesome musician twins, Hedi Slimane models and creative soulmates behind The Garden in a documentary by Liza Mandelup

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The OC is not a normal place, and Wyatt and Fletcher Shears are not normal kids. The LA twins like making noise, playing roller hockey, dressing up and Hedi Slimane. Hedi Slimane likes them back – when he heard their band The Garden, he was so into them that he cast them in a show and got them to soundtrack Saint Laurent's AW13 film. Young Brooklyn-based director Liza Mandelup is another acolyte: she went as far as hanging with them over the course of a summer to shoot this unique portrait of a uniquely pair. "Drawing inspiration from childhood and feeding off each others creativity Wyatt and Fletcher have manifested their own way of being into a universe they call VADA VADA", Liza explains. "As I got to know [the twins] I realized that they see the world just a little differently to most people." Read our interview with Liza below.

How did Twinheads come about? Was it easy to access the world of Wyatt and Fletcher?
Liza Mandelup: I found Wyatt and Fletcher's videos online and knew I wanted to make a film with them. I sent Fletcher some of my work and we were on the same page about a lot of things — I flew out to California with my friend a week later and we started shooting. Our collaboration was pretty organic, the day we met in person we started filming…and then filmed for a couple days, then a few after that, then just kept going on and off throughout the summer. My goal was to put a visual to their essence and I think extracting that from all the footage was always the most important thing. 

What did you find most inspiring about Wyatt and Fletcher?
Liza: Wyatt and Fletcher have a presence about them — they're really driven young and talented guys. They don't think a lot about what other people are doing, they just make up their own rules. They’re also really genuine people and they care a lot about each other. Once I got to know them and saw their relationship as brothers, I was drawn to that the most.

Were there any surprising issues you were faced with whilst filming?
Liza: With documentaries, there are so many things working against you — it's really a shock to me that it works out at all but that's also what I like about it. You have an idea and you go to this new place and meet these new people and you just hope that they want to share their story as much as you want to hear it — and when that is the case, it's really magical. It’s also really important to surround yourself with people who are supportive of your ideas, especially with low budget filmmaking, because a lot of it is a labor of love. 

How do you think the strange backdrop of Orange County has influenced the twins and their music?
Liza: Since I'm from New York, Orange County felt like a bizarre suburban sprawl to me. The sameness of the houses, the streets, and the palmtrees juxtaposed with Wyatt and Fletcher’s presence was extremely interesting to me. It seems like it's a place where you have to make your own fun and create your own alternate world — which is pretty much what the’ve done with their music and Vada Vada. 

Vice versa, they seem to have become (unlikely) icons in their hometown - what do you think they have brought to the OC?
We shot a scene at this arcade in Orange and we didn't really ask permission to film in it. As we were walking in one of the employees came running up to us. We thought we were getting kicked out because she started freaking out but then she started crying and turned to me to ask if I could take a picture for her because her favorite band just showed up to where she worked. To see someone brought to tears by their presence was surreal. They are definitely hometown celebrities. They also have so much pride in where they're from, it's a big part of them, so I think they're local fans really connect to that. 

Directed and filmed by Liza Mandelup
Produced by Lauren Cioffi and Liza Mandelup
Edited by Thomas Niles

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