The Devil and Daniel Johnston
March 31, 2006
This documentary won its director, Jeff Feuerzeig, the Best Director Award at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. The movie centers on Daniel Johnston, a musician/artist who suffers from manic depression and delusions of grandeur.
When Johnston was a teenager, he kept to himself. During this period, he started to exhibit unusual artistic talent. Working in the basement at his family home, he created Super-8 films and expressive comic book-style drawings. His aspirations were stifled, though, because his fundamentalist Christian family believed he wasn't contributing to society in any useful or productive way.
And so it was that Daniel ran off to join a carnival, but then wound up broke and all alone in Austin, TX. While there, he began to develop a musical career and even was able to be on MTV during a short time in the spotlight. However, just as he was starting to break out, his own inner demons began to rise to the surface.
The Devil and Daniel Johnston uses a variety of techniques to impart the artist's story. New footage, vintage performances, home movies and audiotapes all add to his tale. Sony Pictures Classics will distribute the film for art house audiences. (Kim Hollis/BOP)