Competition Documentary Features
Bert Stern: Original Madman
DIRECTED BY SHANNAH LAUMEISTER
USA, 2011, 88 MIN
EAST COAST PREMIERE
Bert Stern was born with a hunger for adventure, a load of natural talent, and an eye for extraordinary beauty, especially in women. Once a camera landed in his hand, he had everything he needed to revolutionize the world of advertising and change the taste of America during the post-war boom years. But it turns out the formula for success lies precariously close to that of madness. Stern experienced both in quantity as illustrated by filmmaker Laumeister, who also happens to be Stern’s longtime muse and companion. She turns an admirably honest eye on the zeitgeist-capturing photographer who created an American appetite for vodka and, in turn, convinced Marilyn Monroe to reveal her deepest heart during what turned out to be her last photo session. However, as captivating as Stern’s huge volume of photography is, even more enthralling (and frustrating) is the life story of the character who created it.
Shannah Laumeister (Bert Stern: Original Madman): Born and raised in New York, Ms. Laumeister’s first feature documentary is Bert Stern: Original Madman. She has acted in film, television, three Off-Broadway shows, many small theatrical productions, and wrote and starred in her own one-woman poetry based show, Below Sunset. A published poet, her first book of poetry is titled Two Women. Laumeister previously wrote and directed the short film “No Destination.”
DIRECTED BY ERIC BREITENBACH
USA, 2011, 7 MIN
FFF alum Breitenbach (My Father’s Son, FFF 2002; When Pigs Fly, FFF 2007) provides a verité peek inside a Buddhist monastery in Ladakh, India, revealing the joy and challenges faced by the youngest monks.