SUNDANCE CHANNEL TO PREMIERE THE DEVIL AND DANIEL JOHNSTON AS PART OF MARCH DOCUMENTARY EVENT "TORTURED GENIUS"
Weekly Films Explore Lives Of Brilliant,Troubled, Artistic Talents
Monday Nights At 11:00pm et/pt
New York, February 5, 2009� Sundance Channel will present the U.S. television premiere of Jeff Feuerzeig's award-winning documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston on March 1st as part of "Tortured Genius," a March documentary event exploring the lives of creatively brilliant, emotionally troubled artists. "Tortured Genius" airs Monday nights in March at 11:00pm e/p.
The five films of "Tortured Genius" deliver vivid, honest portraits of complicated individuals as they explore the human truths behind the clich� of the "tortured artist."
The series kicks off on March 1 with the U.S. television premiere of Jeff Feuerzeig's The Devil and Daniel Johnston, a richly detailed look at the life and work of Daniel Johnston, an indie-rock cult hero beloved for his songs that speak in simple, sincere yet poetic language. Plagued since youth by manic depression, Johnston is a stunning example of an artist whose prodigious body of work � music, drawings, super-8 films � is a product of brilliance and mental illness. The Devil and Daniel Johnston made its world premiere at the 2005 Sundance film Festival, garnering Feuerzeig the Directing Award in the documentary competition. In a review for The Baltimore Sun, Elizabeth Weitzman wrote, "Feuerzeig's film - everything a good documentary should be - is a story of family, friendship, art and fame, as seen through the prisms of exceptional beauty and deepest pain."
Also airing as part of "Tortured Genius" are: Let's Get Lost, Bruce Weber's hypnotic, Academy Award�-nominated portrait of the magnetic, self-destructive jazz trumpeter/vocalist Chet Baker; Alice Neel, Andrew Neel's probing look at the tumultuous life of his grandmother, the influential portraitist Alice Neel; A Walk Into the Sea: Danny Williams and the Warhol Factory, Esther Robinson's exploration of the mysteries surrounding Williams, a fledging filmmaker who briefly thrived at Andy Warhol's Factory; and A Skin Too Few: The Days of Nick Drake, Jeroen Berkvens's empathic profile of the British singer/songwriter whose beautiful, ethereal songs gained even more resonance in the wake of his early death.
The schedule for "Tortured Genius" is as follows:
Monday, March 1 at 11:00pm
The Devil and Daniel Johnston (U.S. Television Premiere) � Directed by Jeff Feuerzeig. A moving portrait of singer/songwriter/artist Daniel Johnston, a cult rock hero whose supporters have included the late Kurt Cobain, Sonic Youth, The Flaming Lips and Tom Waits. Now in his 40s, Johnston grew up in West Virginia, and his early compulsion for art � drawing, playing piano, making films � put him at odds with his conservative, Christian parents. As a young adult, he found a place in the thriving music scene of early 80s Austin, Texas, quickly winning fans for his beguilingly sincere, eccentric folk songs. But just as Johnston was on the cusp of achieving broader recognition, his inner demons began to surface and his ongoing struggle with manic depression became evident in his music and drawings. Weaving together current footage, vintage performances, home movies, and dozens of recorded audiotapes from Johnston's life, Feuerzeig tells a story of talent and torment -- and of the love that helped Johnston survive and return to creative life.
Monday, March 8 at 11:00pm
Let's Get Lost � Directed by Bruce Weber. This Oscar�-nominated documentary paints a dreamy portrait of Chet Baker, the handsome and notoriously self-destructive jazz vocalist and trumpeter who came to prominence as part of California's cool jazz scene of the 1950s. Let's Get Lost goes on the road with the musician, drug-wrecked but still charming, during what turned out to be the last year of his life (he died on May 13, 1988). The film contains some of Baker's final recording sessions, which are interwoven with rare performance footage, excerpts from Italian B movies featuring the young Baker, and candid interviews with Baker, musicians, friends, battling ex-wives and children.
Monday, March 15 at 11:00pm
Alice Neel � Directed by Andrew Neel. One of the great portrait painters of the 20th century, Alice Neel reinvented the genre by expressing the inner landscape of her subjects, which included luminaries such as Andy Warhol, Bella Abzug and Allen Ginsberg as well as her neighbors in Spanish Harlem. Tough and bohemian, Neel's personal life was marked by destructive affairs, her struggle to raise her children alone, a mental breakdown and hospitalization. Attempting to come to terms with his enigmatic grandmother and generations of bruised feelings, filmmaker Neel presents his own incisive cinematic portrait.
Monday, March 22 at 11:00pm
A Walk Into the Sea: Danny Williams and the Warhol Factory - Directed by Esther Robinson. In her debut film, Robinson explores the circumstances surrounding the 1966 disappearance of her uncle, Danny Williams, who was part of the white-hot scene at Andy Warhol's artistic headquarters, the Factory. Robinson's quest leads her to family members, professional acquaintances, and a roster of one-time Factory regulars, including John Cale, Brigid Berlin and director Paul Morrissey. Gradually, the scope of Williams's personal and artistic trajectory emerges, as Robinson pieces together his creative trail as a filmmaker and a lighting designer for the Velvet Underground, as well as his romantic relationship with Warhol.
Monday, March 29 at 11:00pm
A Skin Too Few: The Days of Nick Drake � Directed by Jeroen Berkvens. Rediscovered by a new generation when his 1972 song "Pink Moon" was used in a car commercial, British singer and songwriter Nick Drake (1948 - 1974) is now a cult icon, an influence on everyone from Kate Bush and Lucinda Williams to Elliott Smith and Elton John. This unconventional documentary profiles the brief life of the enigmatic troubadour, a painfully shy artist who released only three albums before dying from an antidepressant overdose.
About Sundance Channel
Under the creative direction of Robert Redford, Sundance Channel is the television destination for independent-minded viewers seeking something different. Bold, imaginative and uncompromising, Sundance Channel offers audiences a diverse and engaging selection of films, documentaries and original programs. Launched in 1996, Sundance Channel is a subsidiary of Rainbow Media Holdings LLC. Sundance Channel operates independently of the non-profit Sundance Institute and the Sundance Film Festival, but shares the overall Sundance mission of encouraging artistic freedom of expression. Sundance Channel's website address is www.sundancechannel.com.
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