The 2007 Los Angeles Film Festival asked superproducer Pharrell Williams to be this year’s artist in residence, where he was to program a sidebar of films that have inspired his work in the music industry, but the organization didn’t expect the choices he made.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the producer picked films outside the usual filmography you’d expect to find on the festival circuit — including “National Lampoon’s Vacation” and Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”
“I don’t know that there’ll be critical dialogue about them,” Williams told the paper about his choices. “Hopefully, there will be people who feel about them the way I feel.”
When asked to participate, Williams didn’t act as if he knew what he was doing, but instead took the opportunity as a learning experience, being that he himself is interesting in producing for movies.
“It’s a learning experience for me,” Williams explained. “Knowing what the festival is about, what the artist-in-residency thing entails — I’m not going in as a professional, as somebody who has been waiting for this their entire life. It popped up, I find it intriguing and I am a student.”
“My favorite film of all time is ‘National Lampoon’s Vacation,’ ” he said. “You can’t say one line without me telling you what happened next. And ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’? That’s my life.”
Williams follows in the footsteps of past artists in residence for the festival. Past artists involved include the RZA, Neil Young and Gnarls Barkley producer Danger Mouse.
In addition to his involvement in the film festival, Pharrell revealed that he is working on several too-early-to-discuss projects, including several television pilots and a “serious documentary,” as well as the co-producing effort with Mark Gordon (“The Day After Tomorrow,” “Saving Private Ryan”) that he announced two years ago, in an adaptation of the classic cartoon “Voltron.”