Beauty Is Embarrassing tells the irreverent and inspiring story of Wayne White, a one-of-a-kind visual artist and raconteur. You won’t want to miss this film! EVERYONE who has seen it says it. Made a huge splash recently at SXSW, and it will do the same here in Toronto.
FUTURE YOU PICTURES PRESENTS
BEAUTY IS EMBARRASSING
A Film by Neil Berkeley
Canadian Premiere at Hot Docs
April 28 – 6:00pm – Bloor Cinema
April 29 – 1:30pm – Isabel Bader Theatre
May 6 – 3:30pm – Bloor Cinema
Running Time: 87 minutes | www.BeautyIsEmbarrassing.com
“Who said there’s no second acts in American life? F. Scott Fitzgerald? Fuck you F. Scott Fitzgerald.” – Wayne White
Neil Berkeley and Wayne White will be in Toronto April 27 through April 29
and available for interviews. Prior to that they are available by phone, email or Skype.
For over 30 years, Wayne White has made an indelible mark on the creative world. As a designer, painter, puppeteer, sculptor, and musician, Mr. White created images and ideas that are an integral – yet sometimes subconscious – part of the pop culture lexicon. To this day, he still gets up every morning to do the only thing his body and mind was meant to do … create. Whether the world acknowledges it or not.
Part biography, part live performance, Beauty Is Embarrassing directed by Neil Berkeley, tells the irreverent and inspiring story of this one-of-a-kind visual artist and raconteur. The film traces White’s career from an underground cartoonist in New York’s East Village to his big break as a designer, puppeteer and voice-over actor on Pee-wee’s Playhouse for which he won three Emmy’s. It follows Wayne’s success designing and animating for other children’s shows like Beakman’s World and music videos for The Smashing Pumpkins (Tonight, Tonight) and Peter Gabriel (Big Time) through a dark period of struggle and self-reflection before emerging in his present-day incarnation as a respected painter and performer. The film, like White, embraces the ragged edges and messy contradictions of life, art, and family with rabid humor and honesty.
For two years, filmmaker Neil Berkeley traveled with White through Houston, Miami, New York, Chattanooga, Nashville and Los Angeles retracing Wayne’s steps from childhood to parenthood. He peeled back layer after layer of Wayne’s singular creative process and his astonishingly prolific career. In addition to the 300+ hours of footage shot by Berkeley and his team, the director discovered hours of video which White shot throughout his career including never-before-seen behind the scenes footage of the making of Pee-wee’s Playhouse – now included in Beauty Is Embarrassing.
Wayne White’s trip to the top came relatively early in life but was followed by a fall that felt all too real. Yet, as Wayne explains in the film, there are sometimes second acts in life that take us to new heights – without compromise. At its core, Beauty Is Embarrassing shows what it takes for one uniquely talented, profanely hilarious, and utterly uncompromising artist to make it in America.
Future You Pictures presents in association with Tremolo Productions Beauty Is Embarrassing featuring Wayne White, Mimi Pond, Mark Mothersbaugh, Todd Oldham, Matt Groening, Gary Panter, Ric Heitzman, Paul Rubens. Edited by Chris Bradley, with additional editing by Kevin Klauber. Directors of Photography: Neil Berkeley and Chris Bradley. Executive Producers: Aimee Bothwell, Bart McDonough and Eddie Schmidt. Produced by Neil Berkeley, Chris Bradley, Milan Erceg and Morgan Neville. Co-Producers Liah Corral and Anthony Maiuri. Written by Neil Berkeley, Chris Bradley and Kevin Klauber. Directed by Neil Berkeley.
“When people ask me what it has been like making this movie,” explains Neil, “the first thing I tell them is that it has been the time of my life. I hope audiences get that sense of joy that Wayne has about what he does every day. That’s the lesson I learned from him…spend every day doing work that makes you happy. That’s what I’ve been doing for the past three years, and I can’t wait for everyone to see what I’ve been up to.”
Interview subjects include (in alphabetical order):
Cliff Benjamin – Art Dealer
Tony Crow – Lambchop
Jonathan Dayton – Co-Director, Little Miss Sunshine
Valerie Faris – Co-Director, Little Miss Sunshine
Matt Groening – Creator, The Simpsons
Mark Mothersbaugh – Devo
Todd Oldham – Designer
David Pagel – L.A. Times
Gary Panter – Co-Creator, Pee-wee’s Playhouse
Paul Reubens – Pee-wee Herman
Charles Stone – Director, Drumline
Fred Sullivan – Owner of the famous Fred62 diner
Kurt Wagner – Lead singer, Lambchop
Paul Zaloom – Beakman’s World
About Neil Berkeley – Producer/Director/Writer/Cinematographer
Neil has been working as a designer and director in film and television for over 10 years. His work includes main title design for some of TV’s most popular shows and he has directed several national commercials. He has also developed main titles for documentaries including The Cool School, Johnny Cash’s America, Air Guitar Nation and Respect Yourself: The Story of Stax Records. Since 2009, Neil has operated his design-based production company, BRKLY. The company developed most of the animated sequences in Beauty Is Embarrassing including the Mimi Pond Cartoon, the Pee-wee’s Playhouse sketches and the end credits. Beauty Is Embarrassing is Mr. Berkeley’s first feature length documentary.