Make Me Famous


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

LOGLINE

An investigation of Edward Brezinski, charismatic Lower East Side painter on the fringe of success, who thwarted his own career with antics that roiled NYC’s art elite. Our film reveals a unique snapshot of the 1980’s art explosion while we unearth the truth of his mysterious death in the Cote d'Azur.

SYNOPSIS

A series of art collectors, dealers, historians, museum representatives, and fellow contemporary artists reveal unknown painter, Edward Brezinski whose dynamic expressionistic style focused primarily on the human figure.  These storytellers divulge Brezinski’s hell-bent aspirations for success as well as the impediments that held him back. Edward was most often his own worst enemy. Ever on the edge of success he would thwart opportunity by erupting in righteous anger against perceived hypocrisy in the art world. Unfortunately for Brezinski these episodes were witnessed in full public view, as they occurred at major art openings. This caused him to be excluded from consideration from any prominent gallery. Blessed with monumental talent and latent entrepreneurship, he started his own gallery in his apartment, which he called The Magic Gallery.
           We investigate through a patchwork of interviews and archival footage the portrait of the artist and the Era. Relevant issues of the time are explored including American social and political history as well as stylistic changes in the visual and performing arts, spiritual, economic, psychological and gender concerns.
    As the scourge of AIDS claimed its victims, there was a change in Edward's work to embody a heightened spirituality that expressed his compassion for the human suffering. Despite the fact that his work was not remunerative, he soldiered on with his determination to keep painting at all costs. Radicalized by poverty, in a jealous and impulsive moment, Brezinski ate from the Robert Gober synthetic sculpture, Bag of Donuts, preserved with a toxic resin. Brezinski quickly made headlines in the NY Post after he was rushed to the hospital to have his stomach pumped. This egregious public humiliation resulted in his decision to relocate to Berlin. His reception in Europe was filled with violence and further resignation. Through his personal diary, letters and statements by friends we find the iron will of the determined artist has been finally vanquished. As filmmakers we explore his formative years in Detroit including his old neighborhood and the Detroit Institute of Arts. Among the other locales, the filmmakers traveled to Ireland to interview Brezinski’s friend and champion, the time bending artist David McDermott. We investigate Edward's mysterious death in the Côte d'Azur with his most trusted and constant confidants, James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook, who in addition to their friendship represented Brezinski in the 80s at the Ground Zero Gallery in NYC. Using his obituary, we successfully trace the final years of his life in Nice and Cannes, following conflicting evidence as to the last whereabouts of Brezinski in Europe. Finally, with his inclusion in a major exhibition at MoMA in 2018, Edward Brezinski at last is granted his lifelong desire to achieve success.
    Our film contains 450 images compiled from over 50 artists and photographers of the 80s art scene.  Original artwork has been created for the film by artists, Romberger/Van Cook and Richard Hambleton. The film was shot in NYC, LA, Detroit, Ireland, France, and Berlin.

ARTISTIC STATEMENT

I have been a professional actor for many years. Part of my early process when approaching a role is to draw the physical character to get a better sense from the outside in. There are always times when an actor is not working or they struggle to find meaningful projects. During those times I have written and have had plays produced. Upon graduating Juilliard in 1994, I was one of the first recipients of the William and Eva Fox Foundation Grant.

I was beginning the process of writing a play when I was introduced to the work of Brezinski by a mutual friend who became an avid collector of his in the 80s.  When I saw the room full of his paintings, I was most fascinated by The Nancy Reagan. Who and why would someone paint her with such haunting colors, a look of worried expectation and a goblin-like face? I had found my subject. After researching and study, it became clear that Brezinski's story would best be told as a documentary.

I have found that this journey has challenged the very nature of what 'making it' really means. That a life devoted to art is always worth exploring.

KEY CREW

Heather Spore Kelly - Producer

Heather Spore Kelly (Producer/France Cinematographer/Additional Camera Operator) has been in the NYC theater community for 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 Sullivan Street Playhouse off-Broadway production of The Fantasticks, which ran for 43 years. She has been a member of the Award winning Broadway production of Wicked for over 10 years. She can be seen in various film and television roles. The Brezinski Project is her first independent film.

Brian Kelly - Director, Producer

Brian Kelly (Director) a graduate of The Juilliard School drama division (Group 23). A professional actor and member of AEA and SAG/AFTRA for over 20 years, he has starred in over a dozen feature films. Brian was among the first to receive a William & Eva Fox Foundation grant to produce his off-Broadway play at NYC’s Samuel Beckett Theater. He directed and edited the short documentary, 'The 10th Candidate' about the 2004 presidential campaign of General Wesley Clark. Brian was an Associate Director/Producer on the SAG short film 'The Last Trip' (2015) starring Vincent Pastore which he also wrote additional content.

Eugene McVeigh - Ireland Segment Cinematographer
Eugene McVeigh (Ireland Segment Cinematographer) Director of Photography / Lighting Cameraman based in Northern Ireland, and has worked in the Broadcast & Film industry for over twenty-five years. Working extensively with BBC Network Television, Channel Four(UK) and other leading production companies in the UK and Ireland. His film ‘Dance Lexie Dance’ was nominated by the American Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts & Sciences for an Oscar in 1998 in the Academy’s ‘Best Live Action’ Category. One of my most recent documentaries 'Cult Of The Suicide Bomber' commissioned by Channel Four (UK) received an EMMY nomination in 2006/7. Working in Broadcast Television, he has filmed everything from News to Drama, with an extensive list of Documentary films and television series.

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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