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David Lynch: 'Feature Films Have Become Cheap' (Q&A)

David Lynch Portrait - H 2012

On the sidelines of a festival in Poland, the Oscar-nominated director of "Mulholland Drive" tells THR why he's in no hurry to return to the big screen.

BYDGOSZCZ, Poland – Director David Lynch sat down with The Hollywood Reporter shortly after  receiving his latest lifetime achievement award -- this time from the 20th Plus Camerimage in Poland, the world's leading festival dedicated to the art of cinematography.

The elusive auteur behind Mulholland Drive and Twin Peaks opened up about digital cinema, why he hasn't made a feature film since 2006's Inland Empire and why the future of cool movies is online.

The Hollywood Reporter: Clips from your films were shown before you received your lifetime-achievement award. What was going through your mind while you watched?

David Lynch: First of all, I think I’ve gotten some lifetime-achievement awards before. But I thought it would be something I’d be kind of separated from. I don’t know what happened, but I was overwhelmed with emotion. I couldn’t believe that I’d done it; it was pretty impressive, really.

THR: A big subject at this festival is digital cinema versus analog. Where do you stand on the subject?

Lynch: Throughout all the years, people have had paper and pencil. And you could say that, people being given these tools, that it could cause problems, that they would express themselves on paper. It did not cause any problems. And it will not cause any problems. What it will do is let people express ideas that they love, whereas before they could not afford to express these ideas. Now they can. The problem is, there are no more art houses left, really. There are just blockbuster theaters for the sole purpose of making money. The Internet is the friend of the independent filmmaker now. So it might be harder to find an audience for your work, but those things that are relevant for today and are considered “cool” -- they’ll find an audience. And it’s pretty beautiful.

THR: You haven't made a feature film in a long time. From the outside, it looks like you don’t want to. Is financing the problem?

Lynch: No, no, I have no problem getting financing. I have a problem catching ideas that I fall in love with for the next feature. I think part of the reason ideas haven’t come in is that the world of cinema is changing so drastically, and in a weird way, feature films I think have become cheap. Everything is kind of throwaway.  It’s experienced and then forgotten. It goes really fast. And you have to do those things you are just in love with.

There is that expression, “Man has control of action alone, never the fruit of the action.” So you better enjoy the doing of a thing and not worry about the outcome. And I think that somewhere along the line, ideas will start coming and I may make a feature film. But I don’t hold out any hope for an audience. I just make it because I’m in love.

THR: At a time when it was unpopular to “do television,” you were one of the first big feature directors to go there, with Twin Peaks. Why aren’t you in that market now?  

Lynch: I’ll tell you. I’m walking down the street. There are people in the street. There is someone you fancy. And you turn a corner. And there she is. No two ways about it. She is the idea. You are in love. And she is the story.