One of the great explorers of non-fiction cinema, Jeff Feuerzeig joins BYOD to discuss going beyond verité to get the stories of Daniel Johnston, Chuck Wepner and Jeff “The Dude” Dowd. Featuring clips from his moving and exhilarating films, Chuck also speaks freely about going places in his films that are outside of the box–even for documentary makers.
It is a great exploration of his fantastic films and like his work, it never dry or conventional.
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BYOD is hosted by Ondi Timoner, director of “DIG!,” “JOIN US” and “WE LIVE IN PUBLIC,” and has the rare distinction of winning the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance twice. Each week the show explores a different documentary filmmaker or aspect of filmmaking, with special guests and a live Q&A– diving deep into creative process and the business realities of producing and distributing films. Ondi shares her insider views, opinions, and personal stories, welcoming audience participation. BYOD aims to entertain, inform, and elevate documentaries in general by bringing attention to films and film makers that deserve exposure.
Jeff Feuerzeig is an award winning director and non-fiction filmmaker whose feature film The Devil and Daniel Johnston won top documentary directing honors at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival and was distributed theatrically by Sony Pictures Classics. The film, which has developed a large cult following, is a compelling portrait of a schizophrenic musician and outsider artist who overcame his private demons — many of them quite literal in the subject’s own mind — to develop an avid international following.
Continuing to push the boundaries of non-fiction, Feuerzeig has written the screenplays God Bless Tiny Tim (with Julien Nitzberg), a feature biopic about the legendary crooner of “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” fame and The Bayonne Bleeder (with Jerry Stahl), a feature biography of boxer Chuck Wepner, who in 1975 went 15 rounds with Muhammad Ali and inspired the Sylvester Stallone film Rocky. Liev Schreiber is attached to star in the latter.
Feuerzeig recently completed The Real Rocky, a one-hour special for ESPN Films acclaimed 30 for 30 series, which views the Chuck Wepner story through the documentary lens.
He also directed The Dude for USA Network’s “Character Series”, an 18-minute documentary short about Jeff “The Dude” Dowd, a legendary producer’s rep who became the basis for the Coen Brothers’ cult film The Big Lebowski. In 2012 The Dude was selected as a Vimeo Staff Pick and became a viral sensation across the internet.
00:01 Welcome to BYOD.
00:20 Introducing Jeff Feuerzeig.
02:09 The story behind The Real Rocky.
05:50 The discovery process of making a doc.
08:30 The Real Rocky, clip. Intro.
09:50 Going beyond one flavor of film making.
12:08 A difficult shot with boxer Chuck Wepner.
18:05 The story of The Dude (Jeff Dowd).
19:01 The Dude, Clip.
21:46 Filming a very small universe in a very interesting way.
24:02 The Dude, Clip: Mirror montage.
27:39 Getting involved with Daniel Johnston.
31:05 The Devil and Daniel Johnston, Clip: Intro.
32:40 The bard of McDonalds.
34:41 The Devil and Daniel Johnston, Clip: McDonalds.
35:51 Managing to tell the story of Daniel after so many people filming him.
39:20 Bipolar artists being prolific and dangerous.
41:45 The Devil and Daniel Johnston, Clip: The Airplane.
45:43 Casper the friendly ghost.
48:43 The Devil and Daniel Johnston, Clip: Lost in NYC.
51:32 The architecture of the film.