INTERVIEW: Charlie Lyne | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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This week sees Charlie Lyne’s directorial debut Beyond Clueless come to the Tyneside Cinema. The film provides a look at the US teen as depicted in over 200 teen flicks, including 10 Things I Hate About You, Cherry Falls, Cruel Intentions and The Craft.

Honing in on the ideas of alienation, loss and emotional strife, it proved a real labour of love for the young director, especially since it was made entirely out of film footage. Having already been heaped with praise, it’s set to delight many when it hits screens this week, along with its score from indie-popsters Summer Camp.

The Tyneside’s screening on Tuesday the 20th of January will also include a Q&A with Charlie but if you can’t possibly wait until then, here’s a few words from the man himself.

How would you describe Beyond Clueless for someone who might not be familiar with the project?

It’s a teen movie about teen movies, a deconstruction of the genre constructed from over 200 modern coming-of-age classics.

How did your love of 90s teen films begin?

By growing up surrounded by them! I spent my adolescence watching these films pretty much on repeat, so they were already very familiar to me when I started the project!

In your opinion what made the teen films released between 1995 and 2005 so great? Why have they endured so well?

They’re an incredibly diverse bunch. The teen genre really opened up during that time, in terms of tone, style, content and pretty much everything else.

How long did the film take you to put together?

About a year all in all. The edit alone took about nine months of very lonely work!

How many films did you watch and how did you decide which ones to use?

I watched about 300 and more than 200 made it into the final cut. I had a huge pinboard above my desk with a million ideas rattling around on it.

How difficult was it to get the permission to use the film footage?

Luckily, we were able to clear the clips under the Fair Use law, so it wasn’t as difficult as it might have been otherwise.

Some might argue that teen films offer an unrealistic view of teenage years. Do you think that’s part of their charm?

Certainly. There’s a slight snobbishness that people sometimes have about teen movies, assuming that the teenagers who watch them couldn’t possibly understand how exaggerated they are. But I think teenagers are sharper than people give them credit for.

Did you find it difficult looking at the films in a more critical manner?

The opposite. Re-watching them after all these years, it was hard not to see all the stuff I’d missed the first time around.

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“There’s a slight snobbishness that people sometimes have about teen movies, assuming that the teenagers who watch them couldn’t possibly understand how exaggerated they are. But I think teenagers are sharper than people give them credit for”

Summer Camp have scored the film; how did the partnership come about?

I’d been a fan of theirs for years and a lot of their music hinted at a passion for teen movies, so I got up the courage to ask them and thankfully they said yes.

The Craft’s Fairuza Balk narrates the film. How did she get involved?

A similar story really. She’s been an idol of mine since I was a teenager and luckily we were able to show her a rough cut of the film and she was up for coming on board.

Have you been pleased with the reaction to the film so far?

It’s been incredible, beyond anything we could have imagined. Sitting in the edit room for all those months, I started to think I might be the only person on Earth obsessed with these films, which obviously couldn’t be further from the truth.

The film was crowfunded via a Kickstarter campaign, so it’s really down to those people that you got to make the film. Has that spurred you on to do similar projects in the future?

Absolutely. One of the best things about Kickstarter is its power as a confidence-giver.

What would you say are the hallmarks of a good teen film?

The most important thing in my opinion is that a teen movie works for actual teenagers at the time of its release. Adult audiences should always come a firm second.

What would you consider to be the ultimate teen movie?

For me it’s EuroTrip, which will hopefully make sense to people once they’ve seen Beyond Clueless.

Who would play you in a teen film?

Given the usual setting for these films, I imagine I’m the snooty British foreign exchange student.

Beyond Clueless, with a Q&A with Charlie Lyne, screens at the Tyneside Cinema on Tuesday 20th January.

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