(San Francisco, CA, January 21, 2011)— On April 8, 2000, Mark Hogancamp was attacked outside of a bar in Kingston, New York, by five men who nearly beat him to death. Mark suffered brain damage and physical injuries so severe even his own mother didn’t recognize him. After nine days in a coma and 40 days in the hospital, Mark was discharged with little memory of his previous life. Unable to afford therapy, Mark decided to create his own. In his backyard, he built Marwencol, a 1/6th scale World War II-era town that he populated with dolls representing his friends, family, and even his attackers. He used the small dolls and props to redevelop his hand-eye coordination, while he dealt with the psychic wounds from his attack through the town’s many battles and dramas.
After a few years, Mark started documenting his miniature dramas with his camera. Through Mark’s lens, these were no longer dolls – they were living, breathing characters in an epic story full of violence, jealousy, longing, and revenge. And he (or rather his alter ego, Captain Hogancamp) was the hero.
When Mark’s stunningly realistic photos are discovered and published in an art magazine, his homemade therapy suddenly becomes “art,” forcing Mark to make a choice between the safety of his fictional town and the real world he’s avoided since his attack. Shot over the course of four years, and as suspenseful as any thriller, Jeff Malmberg’s documentary intertwines the dual realities of Mark Hogancamp to tell the whole story of Marwencol — a surprising tale of love, secrets, pain, and adventure.
Marwencol will air nationally on the Emmy® Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens, hosted by America Ferrera, on Tuesday, April 26, 2011 (check local listings). The film is part of an April Art Month lineup, which also includes Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child, The Desert of Forbidden Art, and Waste Land.
To learn more about the film and the issues involved, visit the companion website for Marwencol at www.pbs.org/marwencol. Get detailed information on the film, watch preview clips, read an interview with the filmmaker, and explore the subject in depth with links and resources. The site also features a Talkback section, where viewers can share their ideas and opinions.
About the Filmmaker
Jeff Malmberg (Director/Producer/Editor)
Marwencol represents Jeff Malmberg’s directorial debut. The film premiered at the SXSW Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary. It has gone on to win Grand Jury awards at the Cleveland and Seattle International Film Festivals, Audience Top 10 awards at Hot Docs and Seattle, and a Special Jury prize at IFF Boston. As director, Jeff was honored with the HBO Documentary Films Emerging Artist Award at Hot Docs, as well as the Cinematic Vision Award from Silverdocs.
In 2006, Malmberg produced and edited Red White Black & Blue, a documentary that uncovered the Battle of Attu and which aired on Independent Lens in 2007. Malmberg also produced and edited the Fox Searchlab short film Broadcast 23, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2005.
As a film and television editor, Malmberg’s credits include the critically acclaimed BET documentary series American Gangster, TV One’s Unsung, A&E’s Biography, ESPN’s SportsCentury, and numerous shows for The History Channel. In the world of commercial editing, he has cut more than 100 spots for directors such as George Lucas, Errol Morris, TRAKTOR, and Harald Zwart, and brands such as Miller High Life, Nokia, Toyota, Polaroid, and Star Wars. Malmberg is a graduate of USC’s School of Cinematic Arts.
About Independent Lens
Independent Lens is an Emmy® Award-winning weekly series airing on PBS. The acclaimed anthology series features documentaries and a limited number of fiction films united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement, and unflinching visions of their independent producers. Independent Lens features unforgettable stories about unique individuals, communities, and moments in history. Presented by the Independent Television Service (ITVS), the series is supported by interactive companion websites and national publicity and community engagement campaigns. Independent Lens is jointly curated by ITVS and PBS, and is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional funding provided by PBS and the National Endowment for the Arts. The series producer is Lois Vossen.
For the program companion website, visit pbs.org/independentlens/marwencol
Voleine Amilcar, ITVS, 415-356-8383 x 244, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mary Lugo, 770-623-8190, email@example.com
Cara White, 843-881-1480, firstname.lastname@example.org
For downloadable images, visit http://pressroom.pbs.org