Jeff Feuerzeig is an award winning director and non-fiction filmmaker whose feature film The Devil and Daniel Johnston won top documentary directing honors at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival and was distributed theatrically by Sony Pictures Classics. The film, which has developed a large cult following, is a compelling portrait of a schizophrenic musician and outsider artist who overcame his private demons -- many of them quite literal in the subject’s own mind -- to develop an avid international following. Combining techniques drawn from the documentary canon (Feuerzeig has worked with Albert Maysles, and others) and the New Journalism of the 1970s (the creation of first-person POV and internal monologue through audio cassette letters, journal entries, home movies, etc.), the film presents one of the finest portraits available of what writer and clinical psychologist Kay Redfield Jamison has labeled the artist "touched with fire," and the connective tissue that links genius to madness.
As New York Observer film critic Matt Zoller Seitz declared of Devil: "A true nonfiction film, a movie that tries to do with sound and image what journalists like Nick Tosches (Dino) and Norman Mailer (Armies of the Night) tried to do with prose, bending prose into poetry to find a more subjective route to truth."
Coming out of the fertile early ‘80s punk and independent music underground and its pervasive do-it-yourself aesthetic, Feuerzeig began his career as a film editor before successfully transitioning to commercial directing. In 1993, his independently produced and self-financed first feature Half Japanese: The Band That Would Be King, a loving documentary portrait of the cult band, was distributed theatrically in art-house cinemas nationwide, expanding a personal passion project into a humorous yet ultimately heartfelt valentine to the kind of fringe artists who often deserve but rarely receive anything like it.
As Stephen Holden wrote in the New York Times, "But underneath [this] pose burns a fiercely anti-establishment passion and an anarchic teen-age spirit that insists on the ultimate value of noise for noise's sake."
Continuing to push the boundaries of non-fiction, Feuerzeig recently completed The Real Rocky, a one-hour special for ESPN's acclaimed “30 for 30” documentary series about boxer Chuck Wepner, who in 1975 went 15 rounds with Muhammad Ali and inspired the Sylvester Stallone film Rocky. He also completed The Dude for USA Network, an 18-minute documentary short about Jeff "The Dude" Dowd, a legendary producer's rep who became the basis for the Coen Brothers' cult film The Big Lebowski, which is broadcast online as part of their "Character" series.