Matt Wolf, the director of the acclaimed WILD COMBINATION, explores the historical and cultural development of the concept of teenager in his new film in development, TEENAGE.
Wolf’s film is based on Jon Savage’s 2007 book, TEENAGE: THE CREATION OF YOUTH CULTURE 1875-1945, which, as indicated by its title, traces the origins of the teenager far before the typically cited post-World War II period. In the mix are flappers and swing kids, sub-debs and Hitler youth, bright young things and juvenile delinquents, as revealed through teenagers’ own self-expression in diaries and through remarkable archival footage combined with artful recreations. The project has already received support from the PUMA.Creative Catalyst Award, Tribeca Film Institute, Cinereach, Jerome Foundation, Guggenheim Foundation, and LEF Foundation, which speaks to the promise it already shows in this unfinished form.
The film currently has a fantastic website that includes a blog collecting teenagers’ stories and other ephemera, as well as a very compelling teaser trailer. There’s also a Facebook page to help keep you abreast of updates.
I’ve known Matt for years and have long been impressed by his filmmaking. The teaser does a great job of showing off his storytelling skills. The blending of archival footage with recreations and narration is especially notable – I typically can’t stand recreations and am not a huge fan of narration either, but there’s a stylization that’s being employed here that makes it appropriate for TEENAGE. Beyond his talents, the subject matter itself seems rife with potential – youth culture without a doubt long ago became one of the most powerful influences on so many aspects of our daily lives, and this project takes an unconventional but revelatory look at how it developed over time. I’m very much looking forward to seeing this when it’s completed.