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Jonathan Caouette: "I Don't Want To Make Documentary Films Anymore"

By Indiewire Staff | Indiewire July 21, 2011 at 5:27AM

Filmmaker Jonathan Caouette dropped a bit of a bombshell Wednesday evening during an event at the 92Y in New York, co-hosted by iW.
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Filmmaker Jonathan Caouette dropped a bit of a bombshell Wednesday evening during an event at the 92Y in New York, co-hosted by iW.

Caouette appeared out of nowhere at Sundance 2004 with his autobiographical documentary "Tarnation," which compiled twenty years of his home movies into an audiovisual frenzy depicting his tortured Texas upbringing and his relationship with his mentally-ill mother. Over the next year, it was invited to Cannes and snapped up by Wellspring Media, who ushered it into theaters to rapturous acclaim.

In the years since, Caouette has kept busy. His short, "All Flowers in Time," premiered at Cannes last year and has since played at dozens of international festivals, but at 92Y Tribeca last night, where indieWIRE screened Tarnation as part of its 15th anniversary celebrations, his most recent feature, "Walk Away Renee" was the main topic of discussion. The film, which Screen Daily called "a gigantic leap forward," revisits the themes of "Tarnation" while fusing documentary footage with a sci-fi narrative. The film premiered unfinished in Cannes this May.

"I don't want to make documentary films anymore," Caouette told indieWIRE's Bryce Renninger during the Q&A following a preview of "Walk Away Renee." "I really want to make narrative fictional films."

Currently in the final stages of post-production, he is looking to balance his departure into narrative with the home movie aesthetic of "Tarnation." "This new film is definitely a kissing cousin of 'Tarnation,'" he said, "It's really helpful for me to watch it again with an audience."

It was announced this week that "Walk Away Renee" will be distributed by Sundance Selects later this year.

This article is related to: Interviews, Walk Away Renée