Ep 175 A GLITCH IN THE MATRIX with director Rodney Ascher

Ep 175 Glitch In The Matrix with director Rodney Ascher

George talks to the filmmaker Rodney Ascher, whose latest doc is A GLITCH IN THE MATRIX. We’ve had Ascher on the show before to discuss his inventive genre-bending docs Room 237 and The Nightmare.

A Glitch in the Matrix is a look at the increasingly popular simulation theory using Ascher’s hyper-referential editing style, CGI animated first-person accounts, Philip K. Dick lectures, and the Matrix trilogy. Other interviews include Chris Ware, Nick Bostrom, Erik Davis, and Emily Pothast.

The soundtrack score by composer Jonathan Snipes just came out on vinyl from Deathbomb Arc.

You can rent the film or watch it on Hulu.

 

Rodney Ascher is a filmmaker known for creating documentaries that explore the subjective experience, freely appropriating the vocabularies of genre, experimental, and found-footage films along the way.

His first feature, 2012’s ROOM 237 looked at the Shining through the eyes of five very different people. It premiered at Sundance, went on to play Cannes and the NYFF before screening at over 30 festivals and being released theatrically all over the world despite the fact that the film was largely made on his home computer at night and on weekends on a budget in the low three figures (before legal fees.)

His follow-up, THE NIGHTMARE was called The Scariest Movie of the decade” (Birth.movies.death) which might be overstating it, but looked great on the poster.

Other Projects include a GIF-centric music video for the Hugo-nominated hip-hop band CLIPPING, editing Andy Kaufman’s posthumous (?) comedy album, ANDY AND HIS GRANDMOTHER (Drag City) from a newly unboxed archive of 80+ hours of cassette recordings the comedian made in the late 1970s and a short film about a sound effects record featuring Noah Segan and Leon Vitali.

Last year he premiered THE EL DUCE TAPES (with co-directors David Lawrence and Ryan Sexton) at Hot Docs and the BFI/London Film festival. The film focused on the notorious lead singer of the 2nd most offensive rock band of the 1980s and 90s was made almost entirely from archival footage shot on a VHS camcorder.

A GLITCH IN THE MATRIX is his new film, and it uses multiple styles of 3D animation to illustrate the experiences and philosophies of people who suspect the world itself is not quite real.

Having grown up in Boston and Florida (where he graduated from the University of Miami) he now lives in the northeast edge of Los Angeles with his talented wife, a beautiful cat, and a ten year old with an interest in extreme hot sauces.

Ep 174 ANIMAL PASSIONS with comedian Butch Escobar

Today we’re covering Animal Passions, a 2004 BBC documentary by Christopher Spencer. It’s about Zoophiles, people who have sex with animals. Trigger warning! (Literally, the horse is named trigger). Animal Passions is a documentary on zoophilia presenting various personal, religious, psychological, and sociological views on the phenomenon of sexual relations between humans and other animals. Director Christopher Spencer introduces us to some of the most marginalized people on Earth. The interviewees, both men and women, are incredibly candid about their zoophile lifestyle (an illegal lifestyle in most parts of the world and in almost all 50 US states) and come across as resigned to their unconventional sexual proclivity.

Our guest is comedian Butch Escobar. He is a regular at the San Jose Improv, The Punch Line, the Hollywood Improv eand the Comedy Store. Butch has toured all over the country with Felipe Esparza and has performed overseas for the US troops.

Director Jordan Brady (I AM COMIC, I AM ROAD COMIC, I AM BATTLE COMIC)

Ep 173 Director Jordan Brady

Paco and George meet up with Jordan Brady, who was a stand-up comedian before turning into a feature/documentary/commercial director. His trilogy of “I Am Comic” comedian documentaries shows what it takes to perform and live as a comic.

Jordan Brady began as a stand-up comedian touring nightclubs and colleges across America. A 100% self-taught filmmaker, he’s directed four narrative feature films, three full documentaries, and over 1200 national & regional commercials and Maria Bamford’s acclaimed Netflix Comedy Special. Click for more about my feature films.

Jordan directs advertising campaigns for brands and agencies from all over the world. Given his background, it’s no surprise he has directed comedy giants as Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart, Keegan-Michael Key, Rory Scovel, and more. Other notable celebrities include international star Arnold Schwarzenegger and country music legend Brad Paisley, campaigns starring actress Kathryn Hahn for Chrysler, and Lamorne Morris for Buick.

Equally as nimble with visual effects, he’s shot over 50 sleight-of-hand magic trick spots for Toyota Saatchi Los Angeles that effortless combine in-camera and digital trickery.

Notable advertising awards include multiple Clios, National Gold, ADDY’s, Gold Promax Award, One Show, D Show, Pencil, AICP Awards, and more. Mr. Brady’s work is routinely spotlighted on AdWeek, Ads of The World, and Agency Spy.

In 2016, Jordan completed his passion project; a feature documentary trilogy on what it takes to be a stand-up comedian. “I AM COMIC” stars Louis CK (pre-pervert) Sarah Silverman, Leslie Jones, and more. 2014’s aptly titled “I AM ROAD COMIC” stars, Pete Holmes and Marc Maron. The most gripping film of his career is “I AM BATTLE COMIC”. Filming took Brady to Afghanistan, Kuwait, and undisclosed parts of the Middle East where he performed stand-up comedy for our troops stationed there.

In his spare time, Mr. Brady hosts the popular weekly filmmaking podcast RESPECT THE PROCESS, described as “The Rosetta Stone of filmmaking” and teaches Commercial Directing Bootcamp.

Jordan lives in Los Angeles with his wife, filmmaker Jeannette Godoy, and their four children.

Ep 172 Q: Into the Storm

It’s Sup Doc’s 6th anniversary, and what better way to celebrate than to talk about Qanon!

On today’s episode, we’re talking about Q: Into the Storm, the six-part HBO docuseries where filmmaker Cullen Hoback goes down several rabbit holes and follows red herrings to track down the roots of the Qanon movement. Is it a movement? Is it a conspiracy theory? Hoback investigates this question and the bizarre father-son duo at its center. The drama in the documentary develops slowly as the inner workings of the dark web are explained for an audience unfamiliar with this world — which includes Fredrick Brennan, who created 8chan, and Jim and Ron Watkins, who later take on ownership and administration of the site. Though they used to work as a team, Brennan has a change of heart and winds up strongly against 8chan. He does not believe the Watkins, who test the bounds of free speech on the internet, are responsible people and can monitor the site, especially after episodes of murder and violence linked to posters on the site.

Through his investigation, Hoback believes he has revealed the identity of Q. Through anonymous “drops,” Q boasted of dates — that never materialized — when the conspiracy would be toppled. Followers of the movement believed Q must be someone high up in Trump’s inner circle – or maybe not. Who knows? Hoback’s film, in a weak reveal, shows that Ron Watkins was Q. He’s not someone particularly outstanding and didn’t have any real ties to Trump, but he had access and motive.

In our opinion, if you are a QAnon believer, you deserve to be duped. 

Ep 171 WATCH OR NOT: JUST SAY NO

Ep 171 JUST SAY NO

On Episode 171 Paco and George have a freewheeling discussion around music, documentaries, and making incredibly bad personal life and career decisions. For example, Paco was approached by Brillstein and Grey, one of the biggest talent agencies in the world, and he turned them down. George faked a movie review for a very reputable paper, and turned them down when they wanted to hire him.

Is this why Paco and George ultimately decided to start a podcast about documentaries? Probably.

Docs we discuss:

Our previous interview with Rodney Ascher 

George’s podcast recommendation Interdependence

Jim Carrey’s first TV show

Sup Doc – The Premier Podcast About Documentaries

Ep 170 Operation Varsity Blues with comedian Aviva Siegel

George and Aviva Siegel dive into the portrayal of the 2019 college admissions scandal by Chris Smith, Operation Varsity Blues.

We dig into the infamous case where over 50 people faced criminal charges for racketeering and conspiracy. Mastermind Rick Singer funneled money from wealthy families to bribe coaches and admissions officers at major universities throughout the US, including actors Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin. OPERATION VARSITY BLUES is the first doc to tackle the story head on, made by one of our favorite directors, Chris Smith, for Netflix. It features reenactments of phone calls in a very narrative fashion, even casting name actors like Matthew Modine.

Still of Angela Nicholas as Donna Heinel and Matthew Modine as Rick Singer

Our guest to discuss this film is comedian and writer Aviva Siegel. Aviva’s comedy has been featured in SF Sketchfest, The All Jane Comedy Festival, The Asheville Comedy Festival, and Out of Bounds Comedy Festival. She has also written for The Hard Times and Reductress, and hosts the zoom comedy show Talkies. She also just launched her podcast about advertising, Ad Wizards.

169 HEAVEN’S GATE: THE CULT OF CULTS director Clay Tweel and producer Shannon Riggs

Today we’re talking to the filmmaking team behind the HBO docuseries – Heaven’s Gate: The Cult of Cults. Director and Producer and Clay Tweel and Producer Shannon Riggs chronicled the three-decade long saga of Marshall Appelwhite and Bonnie Nettles, Also Known as “Do and Ti”, who recruited scores of people to their Alien religious cult. Interviewing former group members and family left behind, the four part series goes beyond the headlines of this little-understood group that ended in a mass suicide.

Clay Tweel is a documentary director/producer/editor whos works include Make Believe, Print the Legend, personal Sup Doc favorite Finders Keepers which we HAVE to talk about as well, Out of Omaha,The Innocent Man, and Gleason. His features have been distributed by Showtime, Netflix, and Amazon Studios. 

Producer Shannon Riggs is the co-founder of Parkside Films. With Clay Tweel, she produced Gleason and The Innocent Man series. Shannon was an independent producer working across narrative feature films, branded content, and music videos. 

A participant in the Sundance  Female Filmmaker Initiative, Shannon is honored to be a member of Women in Film and actively mentors emerging filmmakers. 

Sup Doc Podcast: The Premier Podcast about Documentaries

Ep 168 GREY GARDENS with comedian Amber Preston

Today we are covering the all-time classic doc Grey Gardens directed by the Maysles brothers.

Grey Gardens is a 1975 American documentary film by Albert and David Maysles. The film depicts the everyday lives of two reclusive, upper-class women, a mother and daughter both named Edith Beale, who lived in poverty at Grey Gardens, a derelict mansion at 3 West End Road in the wealthy Georgica Pond neighborhood of East Hampton, New York. The film was screened at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival but was not entered into the main competition.

Ellen Hovde and Muffie Meyer also directed, and Susan Froemke was the associate producer. The film’s editors are credited as Hovde (who also edited Gimme Shelter and Salesman), Meyer and Froemke.

In 2010, the film was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. In a 2014 Sight & Sound poll, film critics voted Grey Gardens the joint ninth best documentary film of all time.

The Maysles were approached by Jackie Onassis to make a movie about the Bouvier family. During the filming, their camera gravitated to The crumbling Long island estate known as Grey Gardens occupied by eccentric relatives “big and little Edie”. It’s a hot mess of co-dependence, animal feces, American aristocracy in decline, and corn.

And our guest to discuss this film is comedian Amber Preston.

Amber has appeared on national commercials, at numerous festivals from SF Sketchfest to Gilda’s Laughfest (where she was named “Best of the Midwest”), and Marc Maron’s “Five Comedians to Watch” list for Vulture. Along with hosting LA comedy shows The Cut and Punchline Punchout, she recently released her debut album Sparkly Parts on Stand Up! Records.