I wrote my first email to Jon Savage in March of 2009 asking if he ever thought about turning his book Teenage into a film. Five years later our film has screened at festivals and played in theaters in over 80 cities around the world, and it continues to screen at cinemas, universities, museums, and on television. Today is particularly exciting because Teenage (the film) is being released digitally and via video on demand in the US! So if you haven’t had an opportunity to watch the film, tune in at home.
There was a time when we didn’t know if anybody would back this project tackling four decades of world history, archival footage from nearly 100 vendors around the world, stylized voice over, and unconventional recreated portraits. It was difficult to explain all that on a piece of paper. So we made a teaser video as proof of concept, and we posted it online. We could have left our online activity at that, but we also wanted to build a context for the history in the film, and to reach out to you, our audience, far in advance of finishing the film. The idea was to do something in the spirit of a punk fanzine, like the ones Jon Savage and his friends made during the 1970s in England, and the ones I made with my friends as a teenager in San Jose, California in the 1990s.
So we started this blog in March 2011. With the help of many collaborators and guest contributors, we mined the Internet for fascinating images, ephemera, and stories about youth culture from the past, as well as today’s latest teenage inventions. Along the way we discovered hidden histories, forgotten biographies, freak party mixes, and the teenage voices so often omitted from the official record. We also heard from you as you commented, shared, and in some cases even became official contributors to these digital pages.
In Teenage, I wanted to make archival images and voices from the past feel new. And I think in general, that’s always the goal with my films. I try to make things that somebody can find at any point in the future, and my hope is that it will still feel like a discovery. That is also my hope for the many posts archived here. Whether you came out to one of our festival premieres, caught the movie in the theater or on television, live in a small town where the film hasn’t played, or stumbled upon this blog by chance, thanks for watching and for reading. We hope you will continue to enjoy the three years of content archived here, in addition to the film itself!
We won’t be posting new material on this blog very regularly anymore, but stay in touch with us on Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter, where the conversation about youth culture continues!
– Matt Wolf, Director
Teenage is now available in the US on iTunes, Amazon, Google, Xbox, Playstation, Vudu, and Vimeo. Or watch it via Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, orBright house on demand. In the UK we’re on DVD, iTunes and Netflix. All available platforms are listed here. Sign up for the Teenage Fan Club here for news of future screenings and release dates, including the US DVD September 9.