Todd Haynes-Directed ‘Velvet Underground’ Documentary Lands at Apple (EXCLUSIVE)

Matt Donnelly
·2 min read

Apple TV Plus has scored worldwide distribution rights to “The Velvet Underground,” a new documentary from Oscar-nominated director Todd Haynes.

Haynes (“Carol,” “Far From Heaven”) tackles the hugely influential 1960s avant-garde group, at one time managed by Andy Warhol and considered the “house band” of his iconic workspace The Factory.

Haynes’ film aims to prove how the group became a cultural touchstone representing a range of contradictions: timely yet timeless; literary yet realistic; rooted in high art and street culture. The film will feature a trove of never-before-seen performances, studio recordings, Warhol movies, and other experimental art that underscores what founding member John Cale called the band’s creative ethos: “how to be elegant and how to be brutal.”

The group, which counted Lou Reed among its ranks, was largely considered a commercial flop during its run, but has proven hugely formative in the music landscape in the decades that followed.

Filmmakers include Haynes and Universal Music Group’s Polygram Entertainment. The project is produced by Motto Pictures and Killer Films in association with Federal Films. Christine Vachon, Julie Goldman, Christopher Clements, Carolyn Hepburn and David Blackman are credited producers.

Though a release date is currently unset, the project joins a slew of upcoming music-based originals for Apple TV Plus, including “Bruce Springsteen’s Letter to You,” “Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special” and “Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry.”

Additional documentary originals currently on the service include “Fireball: Visitors From Darker Worlds,” from award-winning directors Werner Herzog and Clive Oppenheimer; the 2020 Sundance U.S. grand jury prize-winning doc “Boys State”; five-time Emmy Award-nominated “Beastie Boys Story”; “Dads” from director Bryce Dallas Howard; and “The Elephant Queen,” nominated for an Emmy and Critics’ Choice Documentary Award, and winner of the Cinema for Peace International Green Film Award.

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