Make Me Famous


TYPE
: Documentary Feature
GENRE: Documentary
STATUS: Post-Production

LOGLINE

An investigation of Edward Brezinski, an ambitious, charismatic Lower East Side painter hell-bent on sucess, who thwarted his own career with antics that roiled NYC’s art elite.  Brezinski’s quest for fame gives an intimate portrait of the art world’s attitude towards success and failure, fame and fortune, notoriety and erasure.

SYNOPSIS

Painter Edward Brezinski came to N.Y.C., highly trained, charismatic and above all, ambitious. The early ‘80s on the Lower East Side was a communal time when young artists could afford to live out their bohemian fantasies.  Poverty was rampant but commercial success found the privileged one percent. Careers ignited overnight. Brezinski was hell-bent to become one of the chosen.  Ever on the edge of success, he would thwart opportunity by erupting in righteous anger against perceived hypocrisy in the art world. Brezinski demanded to be accepted both as a gay man and as an accomplished artist. In full public view, he had a shocking confrontation with Annina Nosei, the gallery owner that first catapulted Basquiat to fame. Banished from the prominent galleries, Brezinski started his own gallery in his fifth-floor Bowery apartment across from a men’s shelter.

Brezinski's most scandalous incident occurred after the art world took a sudden shift towards Conceptual art. At artist Robert Gober’s opening, Brezinski became enraged with the art:  Wedding Dress, Bag of Kitty Litter, and Bag of Donuts.  Edward reached in the bag and shoved a donut into his mouth. Taking deconstruction to a new level, he ate the art.

A series of eccentric characters reveal the unsung painter by their memories of both Edward’s antics and his extreme artistic drive while exposing the history of the Lower East Side art movement from an insider’s point of view. Among others, we hear from David McDermott, Peter McGough, Marguerite Van Cook, James Romberger, Eric Bogosian, and Kenny Scharf. Through an investigation in the south of France we unearth the truth about what happened to Brezinski and his mysterious ‘death’ in the Cote d’Azur.

 The film was shot in NYC, LA, Detroit, Ireland, France, and Berlin.

ARTISTIC STATEMENT

The film brings forward a popular era while unearthing many artists, photographers, and stories that have seldom been in the public eye. The 1980s art scene is famous for breakout artists like Basquiat and Keith Haring, but there were many other artists who made a powerful impact. Set during arguably the last great art explosion in American history, “Make Me Famous” tells the story of painter Edward Brezinski in his quest for fame. Told by the artists and gallery owners themselves, the film is in the vein of the groundbreaking art documentary of the ‘70s, “Painters Painting.” Our film gives an intimate portrait of what it was like to be an artist in N.Y.C. in the 1980s.  It delves into the spirit of the artists themselves, what drove their generation and what they were up against.

As a Juilliard trained actor, my process for character study has always incorporated my own sketches to envision the characters I play. I have always been fascinated that unlike actors, artists have a greater capability to create on a whim. As Eric Bogosian states in the film, actors are always “waiting for the phone to ring. But in the art world, you can get up in the morning and say, what am I going to make today?”

Brezinski’s art and his devotion to painting makes a lasting impression, but so too do the stories about his self-sabotaging, all-or-nothing attitude, and his impulsivity to react to hypocrisy. Wanting to succeed is a great motivator. To continue trying in the face of adversity is heroic. “Make Me Famous” will make art history come alive for viewers and make the case that a life devoted to art is worth exploring.

With the support of the artists and photographers of the movement, the film is a rich time capsule of the ‘80s art world from a moment in time when creativity was the ultimate goal.  Over seven hundred cleared images have been compiled from the era. Original art was commissioned for the film by ‘80s artists Richard Hambleton, James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook. “Make Me Famous” brings together never before published video archival from the ‘80s art world and clips of the era’s highly influential art films, “Downtown 81” and “Underground USA.” The film will include an original New Wave score by Jeremiah Bornfield (“Hitchcock/Truffaut,” “Diane.”)

KEY CREW

Heather Spore Kelly - Producer

Heather Spore Kelly (Producer/France Cinematographer/Additional Camera Operator) has been in the N.Y.C. theater community for over 20 years, a member of both AEA and SAG/AFTRA. She has performed in many regional theaters around the country and was in the closing company of the historic off-Broadway production of “The Fantasticks” which ran for a record breaking 43 years at the Sullivan Street Playhouse. She was a member of the Broadway production of “Wicked” for nearly 13 years. Spore can be seen in a handful of film and television roles. “Make Me Famous” is the first film of husband and wife team Heather Spore and Brian Vincent.

Brian Vincent - Director, Producer

Brian Vincent (Director, Producer, Editor) is a graduate of The Juilliard School drama division (Group 23.) A professional actor and member of AEA and SAG/AFTRA for over 20 years, Vincent has starred in over a dozen feature films. Vincent was among the first to receive a William & Eva Fox Foundation grant to produce his off-Broadway play, “Klarence with a K,” at N.Y.C.’s Samuel Beckett Theater. Vincent was a Co-director and Producer on the short film “The Last Trip” (2018) starring Vincent Pastore. "Make Me Famous” is Vincent’s feature directorial debut.

Eugene McVeigh - Ireland and Berlin Director of Photography

Eugene McVeigh (Ireland and Berlin Director of Photography) is a career photographer who gained early experience photographing the civil disturbance in Northern Ireland. McVeigh’s early work included reporting for The Daily Telegraph, The Irish Times, The Daily Mail, as well as Time and Newsweek. McVeigh spearheaded RTE’s first News Camera operative in Belfast at twenty-four years of age covering major world events. McVeigh assumed regular assignments at BBC Network Television and Channel 4 U.K. and was the Director of Photography for Dance Lexie Dance nominated for an Academy Award for Best Short Film (1998.) McVeigh’s recent career has primarily been in documentary production working on films receiving professional recognition including BAFTA, EMMY, and RTS nominations and awards.

Jeremiah Bornfield - Composer

Jeremiah received his masters degree in composition at Hunter College in 2009. Studied composition at Juilliard’s evening division and NYU.  Original works for the St Petersburg String Quartet among others.  His classical music has been heard at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and Beijing Central Conservatory. Commercial contracts include Havas Worldwide, Cohen Media Group, and Davies and Starr in NYC. He has written a runway show for New York Fashion Week and a dozen commercial advertisements featuring PayPal, Rizzoli Books, Duty Free Shopping. He is a member of BMI, Society of Composers and Lyricists and is an Emerging Talent Composer in the Manhattan Producers Alliance, as well as composer in residence at CICA Music Festival. Served as Composer for recent films Hitchcock/Truffaut(2017 Cannes Film Festival), Just Within Reach, and Diane(2018 Tribeca Film Festival).  Won the 2017 International Independent Film Award for Best Original Score for Just Within Reach. 

 

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ACCOLADES

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IFP Fiscal Sponsorship Program 2019
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2019 IFP Film Week - Spotlight on Documentaries
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2018 NYSCA grant winners

 

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