Lou Reed has lived in the Velvet Underground, crooned about "The Perfect Day," popped up in films as Lou Reed and Not Lou Reed, and now he's a documentary filmmaker. As Guardian reports, Reed grabbed the camera to make his first film -- Red Shirley -- a 28-minute documentary focused on his cousin Shirley Novick, which will premiere at the Visions du Reel festival in Switzerland.

The footage was captured on the eve of her 100th birthday, and details her life in the past and present. She left Poland in 1938 at the age of 19, made her way to Montreal, and then snuck into the U.S., setting up shop in New York. "There she was to become a dressmaker and to lead the worker's demands -- hence her nickname Red Shirley, which gave the film its title."

The film was made with the help of art photographer Ralph Gibson. Reed conducts the chat and he wrote the soundtrack, which was performed with his current group, Metal Machine Trio. This should be a fun and intriguing half hour. As someone who dug beyond the familial niceties and interviewed my own Polish grandfather, who left Europe after the war, I've learned that there are some excellent stories hidden in our families. Here's hoping Reed inspires others to take the time and ask.

You can check out a trailer for the film after the jump.
categories Movies, Cinematical