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Biography of Todd Haynes – Filmmaker of I’m Not There

Todd Haynes
Personal Life

It was in the 2nd of January 1961 in Los Angeles when Todd Haynes was born, he then grew up in the nearby town called Encino. His parents were Allen E. Haynes and Sherry Lyne. His father was an importer in cosmetics and his mother studied acting and has a short appearance in the movie I’m Not There.

Haynes is Jewish based on his mother’s side. His younger sister is a member of the band Sophe Lux and is named Gwynneth Haynes.

At an early age, Todd Haynes developed an interest in the film and have produced a short film. He was still in high school when he released The Suicide in 1978.b

He directed his first short film in 1985 which was inspired by the French poet Arthur Rimbaud entitled, Assassins: A Film Concerning Rimbaud. He was studying semiotics at Brown University at this time. Arthur Rimbaud is one of the personalities Haynes referred in his film I’m Not There.

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He met Christine Vachon at Brown University who then produce all the films he featured. Haynes moved to New York City after he graduated with a BA in Arts and Semiotics and then he became involved in the independent film scene. He also launched Apparatus Productions which is a non-profit organization supporting the independent film.

It is no secret to the public that Haynes is gay and as of 2015 he is living in Portland, Oregon. Todd Haynes Interviews is an edited book of personal interviews which was published in 2014.

Themes and Styles

Haynes did not identify himself as a filmmaker who is gay and make gay films but his persona wasTodd Haynes portrait tantamount with the movement of the New Queer Cinema. This being said is both to redefine and explore the contours of the America’s queer culture and beyond. The movies that he wrote, all of it is known to be provoking films that undermine narrative structure and resonate with transgressive, multifaceted eroticism.

Haynes masterpieces are mostly ideas from postmodernist of sexuality and identity as concepts constructed socially and the personal identity as a fluid and in the state that it is changeable.

In the world of Haynes, sexuality with special mention to unconventional sexuality or sexual deviancy, it is a dangerous and subversive force that upsets the social norms. This is most of the time brutally blocked by the dominant power structures.

His films often feature narrative devices or formal cinematic that test the accepted philosophies of sexuality and identity and remind the viewers of the artificiality of the film as a medium. His style favoured the formalism versus naturalism frequently reinventing and appropriating cinematic styles.


1987- While he was still an MFA student at Bard College, he used Barbie dolls as actors and made a short ‘Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story’ which narrates the life of American pop singer.

1991- Haynes features a debut film ‘Poison’ which got him praises and controversy. This is also his first collaboration with Christine Vachon, his long-time producer.

1993- This is Haynes short film entitled ‘Dottie Gets Spanked’ which involves his TV sitcom idol named Dottie.

1995- Safe, which was Haynes second feature film which was an acclaimed portrait of Carol White a San Fernando Valley housewife. In this movie, she developed violent allergies to her existence in the middle-class suburban.

1998- The next feature is Velvet Goldmine in which Haynes took a radical shift in his direction where he revels in the identity and gender experimentation and fashionable bisexuality at that time.

2002- ‘Far from Heaven’ was released and this was Haynes greatest commercial and critical success.

2007- Hayne’s next film is ‘I’m Not There’ which portrays the life and music of the legend Bob Dylan.

2010- Mildred Pierce was Hayne’s next project which is an HBO five-hour miniseries.

2015- Carol is Hayne’s sixth feature film which is an adaptation of the 1952 novel ‘The Price of Salt’.


He won the Berlin International Film Festival Award and Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury poison movie posterPrizeb- Dramatic for the movie ‘’Poison’’.
He won the Seattle International Film Festival American Independent Award for the movie ‘’Safe’’.

For the movie ‘’Far from Heaven’’, he won the Best Director Award from Independent Spirit, New York Film Critics Circle and Provincetown International Film Festival Filmmaker on the Edge Award.

For the movie ‘’I’m not there’’, he won the Independent Spirit Ward, Robert Altman Award.

For the movie ‘’Carol’’, he won the Best Director Wards from the Boston Society of Film Critics Award, National Society of Film Critics Award, New York Film Critics Circle Award and Toronto Film Critics Association Award. Also, was a runner-up Critics Association Award for Best Director.
Aside from these, he also had a lot of nominations and other awards from his released movies.

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