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Michael Brody Jr. is the perfect embodiment of Andy Warhol’s prediction about every person enjoying their 15 minutes of fame. For a few weeks in 1970, Brody, the 21-year-old hippie heir to a margarine fortune, commanded a great deal of media attention when he declared that he was giving away his personal inheritance of $25 million to anyone in need who reached out. Dear Mr. Brody is a passion project for producer Melissa Robyn Glassman, who, while working in the archives of producer Edward Pressman (Badlands, The Crow), discovered thousands of mostly unopened letters appealing to Brody for financial help. Pressman had acquired the letters while attempting to turn Brody’s story into a feature film in the mid-1970s, a project that was never realized. While Brody’s fascinating and haunting story of fleeting celebrity is given due attention in Dear Mr. Brody, what makes his legend resonate are the stories of the letters’ authors and their families: average Americans inspired by Brody’s message of hope and generosity who are looking for some relief from hardships of all sizes. Director Keith Maitland, whose equally innovative animated documentary Tower told the story of infamous mass-murderer Charles Whitman, has created an original, psychedelically flavored work of nonfiction that blends archival footage of Brody, contemporary interviews with letter writers and their descendants, and staged readings of some of the letters by a talented group of actors. “Wonderfully strange, funny, and dark, it’s a movie worthy of Billy Wilder. In fact, it could’ve been” (Kevin Jagernauth, The Playlist). 2020 Telluride Film Festival, 2021 SXSW Film Festival. (JH)

  • Year
    2020
  • Runtime
    97 minutes
  • Country
    USA
  • Director
    Keith Maitland
  • Producer
    Melissa Robyn Glassman, Megan Gilbride, Keith Maitland, Sarah Wilson
  • Cinematographer
    Sarah Wilson, Keith Maitland
  • Editor
    Austin Reedy
  • Music
    Osei Essed