Oral History According to David Lynch: Interview Project

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David Lynch’s most recent project seems to be a complete departure from the epic, surreal fictions that made him famous: a collection of oral histories of ordinary people, which he has called simply Interview Project. The research concept was straightforward: send a film team out on a long road trip, and along the way, stop people on the side of the road, in bars, and in restaurants, and ask them to talk about their lives. (Interestingly, the term ‘oral history’ is never used anywhere on the site, perhaps because the interviews don’t pertain to a single event or individual the subjects have in common.) The teams collectively traveled 20,000 miles over 70 days, and made 121 finished ‘episodes,’ each one devoted to a single subject, and 3-5 minutes in length. These episodes will be premiered only on the website every three days for the coming year.

The first one, featuring Jess in Needles, California, premiered yesterday, but if you want to whet your appetite with more, a couple weeks ago Lynch previewed episode 113, Sean Freeborn in Missoula, Montana (Lynch’s birthplace) on Entertainment Weekly.

You can learn more about oral history in general at the Oral History Association, and also check out our own collection of oral histories.


Jeremy Hatch is a writer, musician, and professional bookseller leading a cheerful, aimless life in San Francisco. He is the Junior Literary Editor of the Rumpus and has a blog which he updates once in a while. More from this author →