Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Blue Velvet Doc Finally Screens in Wilmington

The U.S. screening schedule for German experimental documentary No Frank in Lumberton has turned out to be as weird as its subject, David Lynch. There was one in the 1980s, after the film was completed, and another three decades later at the Cucalorus Film Festival in Wilmington, North Carolina.
It was back in 1985 that film student Peter Braatz was granted unconditional access to the set of Blue Velvet. Remarkably, the recent November 11th screening was the first time the movie has been screened in its genesis location. Adding to the the occasion was a simultaneous exhibit of black and white stills shot on set by Braatz, displayed at an apartment building formerly occupied and owned by film co-star Dennis Hopper.


The mid-morning Cucalorus showing of No Frank failed to attract a sellout crowd. Still, the prelude to Braatz's belated screening sounds like it was in line with Lynch's sensibilities:

Filmmaker Ben Fancy showed a few scenes from his doc-in-progress, It’s a Strange World, weaving some fascinating tales from the shooting of the film at the Carolina Apartments and at the Barbary Coast, where they found a woman who could light her own nipples on fire.

Braatz's film was shot on Super 8 and then transferred onto 16mm. However, after the documentary was shown on German television in 1988, he wound up with a video copy that had no sound. It wasn't until the Cucalorus Festival booking that he was finally able to enlist a countryman to synch up the sound and re-insert it into the print.

In attendance at the Wilmington screening along with the Braatz, who was back in town for the first time since 1985, was local resident Fred Pickler, who played Yellow Man in Blue Velvet.


  1. Thanks for the writeup Richard. If anyone is interested you can follow the progress of the documentary 'It's a Strange World - The Filming of Blue Velvet' here on facebook.


    Thanks again,
    Steve Fox

  2. Hi Steve:

    If any old film deserves multiple contempary documentaries, it is BLUE VELVET. Thanks for letting me know about this project, and why it is now being made, etc.