Talking with Eileen Yaghoobian is like meeting a force of nature. She talks in vivid, opinionated bursts that veer from art theory to Olympic speed skating. Her first film Died Young, Stayed Pretty is an exciting, psychological portrait of contemporary rock poster artists. Instead of making a clichéd documentary that tries fit a rag-tag group of art outsiders into a tidy, fake narrative, Died Young, Stayed Pretty is an exploration of obsessions, styles, and politics.
She answered a few of our questions about the film, but she'll be on hand at The Plaza Theatre this Wed., March 3 to screen the film and talk more about poster art.
When did you start this project and what drew you to making a documentary about rock posters?
I started it in 2004. My friend is a designer and I was living in my brothers apartment, and grieving. My friend wanted to cheer me up and sent me a link to gigposters.com
I instantly connected with the graphics. I liked the imagery they took from Americana I connected to the references and of course I loved the music. I wanted to make a movie about that.
I wanted the movie to be about the imagery. I did not want to compartmentalize the film and create that fake facade narrative arc in it. It was very important for me to do something different than what Im seen in documentary. Films like that bore me.
Its about punk. Its anti-narrative.
There are a lot of shots in Died Young, Stayed Pretty that linger in conversation with the artists. Why did you decide to focus on their voices rather than use a narrator?
Why cant we just listen to artists? Why cant we listen to them blather? Thats who they are. Thats what artists do. They arent to the point.
What were trying to say about poster art with the film?
On a personal level, the state of mind at this project, I was in a state of grief. My grief at this time had to do with all these things that were happening in 2004 aside from my brothers death, like the war in Iraq.
Im a huge supporter of youth and I think they should have power and we should listen to him. I really believe we should listen to artists no matter what age they are. Theyre taking from pop culture and regurgitating on the poster like an archeologist of the time.
I wanted to say that there is underground machine and its responding to everything out there. I wanted to create a fantasy of that machine.
DIED YOUNG, STAYED PRETTY Directed by Eileen Yaghoobian. Stars Brian Chippendale, Art Chantry. $5-$20. Wed., March 3, 7:30 p.m. with Yaghoobian in attendance and posters from the film on view. Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce De Leon Ave. 404-873-1939. www.plazaatlanta.com.
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