Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Director Eve Marson Discusses Dr. Feelgood: Dealer or Healer?

Premiering at this year’s Los Angeles Film Festival – and screening the upcoming Austin Film Festival on October 15th and 19th – Dr. Feelgood: Dealer or Healer? couldn’t be making the festival rounds at a more appropriate time. Directed and produced by Eve Marson (Fed Up), the doc follows Dr. William Hurwitz, a Columbia College/Harvard/Stanford alum specializing in pain management, who in 2004 was convicted of over 50 counts of narcotics distribution – resulting in a 25-year prison sentence for drug trafficking.

As the film’s title suggests, though, the ethics inherent in prescribing opioids in the midst of a nation-wide epidemic can be complicated, to say the least. Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Marson about Hurwitz, Big Pharma, moral dilemmas, and more prior to the film’s Texas premiere.

To read my interview visit Global Comment.

Thursday, September 29, 2016


Not too long ago I read Suki Kim‘s article “The Reluctant Memoirist” in The New Republic. In the article, Kim, an investigative journalist who spent six months posing as a teacher at an evangelical university in North Korea — culminating in her 2014 book Without You, There Is No Us: My Time With the Sons of North Korea’s Elite — voiced her frustration at having to promote her nonfiction work as memoir. Her essay struck a chord.

To find out why visit The Rumpus.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Careers Outside Major Media Centers: Surviving--and Thriving--in Flyover Country

After over two decades of living in New York City (half in the Village, when "no-man's land" began east of Avenue B; half in Greenpoint, when it was still a Polish majority), this film writer/maker/programmer had had enough. The combination of rising cost of living in the midst of disintegrating infrastructure—and, not incidentally, my inability to bear another Northeast winter without wanting to slit my wrists—proved crucial in my decision to leave the Big Apple behind. Yet, strangely, due to the fact that we're now firmly in the online age, I never truly did. I simply packed up all my East Coast connections along with my possessions and moved them with me out West.

So I was indeed curious to learn how fellow film folks survive, both creatively and financially, outside the usual NYC/LA bubbles. Speaking with a handful of documentary filmmakers, I found answers as far-reaching as their regions.

To read my article visit the fall issue of Documentary Magazine.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Robert Kenner and Eric Schlosser on Command and Control

Based on Eric Schlosser’s book of the same name, Command and Control marks the second time Peabody and Emmy-winning director Robert Kenner has worked with the NY Times bestselling author – the first being on Food, Inc., Kenner’s Academy Award-nominated documentary inspired by Schlosser’s seminal Fast Food Nation. In their latest collaboration, though, the perils of agribusiness have been replaced by the too true tale of a near miss nuclear accident.

Weaving together archival news footage with present-day, first-hand-account interviews, the doc details the nail-biting events that occurred one September eve in 1980 at a Titan II missile complex in Damascus, Arkansas after a maintenance worker innocently dropped a socket – which subsequently punched a hole in the fuel tank of an intercontinental ballistic missile. I spoke with Kenner and Schlosser just prior to the film’s September 14th premiere at NYC’s Film Forum.

To read my interview visit Global Comment.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Friday, September 9, 2016


As a first-time author back in 2007, I was fascinated by the court case of Laura Albert, a San Francisco musician and phone sex operator who dreamed up a genderqueer alter ego by the name of JT LeRoy. LeRoy — who was thought to be a real person, not anyone’s persona — went on to woo everyone from Dennis Cooper and Mary Gaitskill to Asia Argento and Gus Van Sant with his harrowing writing. After LeRoy received much fame and acclaim, Albert was not only outed as the creator of LeRoy, but ultimately she was sued for fraud by Antidote Films, the production company that had optioned the rights to LeRoy’s Sarah.

Now, nearly a decade on, Albert finds herself in a much more positive spotlight as the subject of Jeff Feuerzeig’s Sundance-premiering documentary Author: The JT LeRoy Story. Though I’ve corresponded with the often-polarizing writer over the years, we never actually sat down to do a formal interview. With the documentary hitting select theaters today, September 9, I figured it was due time to catch up, reflect, and reconsider the saga of JT LeRoy.

To read my interview visit Bitch Media.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Binding Truth: Revisiting Antidote Films vs. Laura Albert (aka JT LeRoy)

Jeff Feuerzeig’s Sundance-premiering documentary Author: The JT LeRoy Story delves into the strange and winding tale of how a San Francisco musician and phone sex operator by the name of Laura Albert created a genderqueer avatar who went on to become a literary sensation and celebrity magnet before Albert was revealed to be her it boy JT LeRoy. The film opens in theaters September 9th.

What the doc doesn’t much explore is the oft-forgotten fact that back in 2007, indie production outfit Antidote Films actually sued Ms. Albert for fraud. The company had optioned the rights to LeRoy’s Sarah four years earlier, but then decided the deal should be rendered null and void because JT LeRoy didn’t actually exist. Never mind that Sarah was never published as memoir or autobiography – and that Antidote never explicitly bought the rights to JT LeRoy’s life.

And to read the rest of my courtroom recollections visit Global Comment.