INTERVIEW/PROFILE with FILMMAKER: MATT TYRNAUER
by Lisa Collins
Rightly described as a “riveting story in contractions” STUDIO 54, making its New York premiere in Tribeca Film Festival’s audacious line-up, added another absorbing documentary to writer/director/journalist/Vanity Fair’s editor-at-large, Matt Tyrnauer’s cinematic slate, which already boasts the 2008’s gorgeously told, Oscar-shortlisted VALENTINO: THE LAST EMPEROR. From the minute STUDIO 54 unleashes, you’ll have a hard time trying to avert the allure of its dance floor — that survived a mere 33 months — while getting just as entangled as its relatable characters and compelling drama; all crafted in the hands of Tyrnauer, a deftly assured storyteller, who coins his film a “disco noir.”
We hustled to catch-up with Matt Tyrnauer on a New York City sidewalk — following his Tribeca Film Fest screening — to talk STUDIO 54, in all of its pulsating, high stakes, youth-centered, melting pot splendor!
But first, some behind-the-ropes scoop you should know —
“Studio 54 was the epicentre of ’70s hedonism — a monumental magnet for beautiful stars, casual sex, and mounds of cocaine, a den of excess that defined its own rules and enshrined the ostracized, queer, and fabulous. Matt Tyrnauer chronicles the rise and fall of this nightclub’s founders: two best friends from Brooklyn, Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell, who conquered New York City only to have it crumble before their eyes.”
“Studio 54 was not just a nightclub, it became an international phenomenon, a byword for its era. Its most celebrated distinguishing characteristics celebrities, sex, drugs, disco have, over the years, become smoke screens, obscuring the much more significant story of its origins, the reasons for its overwhelming success, and its ultimate collapse.
This film seeks to set the record straight, focusing on the human story that is often distinct from mythic tales that have grown up around a once-sacred nightspot occupying an abandoned theater on West 54th Street. Among my goals was to give context, and a voice, to the surviving people who built Studio. The ambitious, ingenious team who created the place — Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell — invented a veritable dream factory that made the fantasies of the legions who clamored to get in come true. Studio — as much living theater as discotheque — changed the social structure and culture of New York City, and had a strong ripple effect on societies worldwide.”
VISIONAIRE’S EDITORIAL NOTE:
As a toast to the legendary nightclub — and Matt Tyrnauer’s latest film — Visionaire presents its own Studio 54 mixtape, to pair with our exclusive street interview with the filmmaker, himself! However, to see Tyrnauer’s never-before-seen archival footage shot within the club itself, you’ll have to catch STUDIO 54 — coming soon to a theater near you!
**DISCLAIMER: This assembled/edited original (mixtape) clip is not pulled from footage from Matt Tyrnauer’s STUDIO 54!