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Brian Flemming Poster

Biography

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Overview (2)

Date of Birth 6 June 1966Los Angeles, California, USA
Birth NameBrian T. Flemming

Mini Bio (1)

Brian Flemming is a film director and playwright whose work has been called "jaggedly imaginative" by the New York Times, "a parallel universe" by the BBC and "immensely satisfying" by USA Today. His films and plays are marked by a unique ability to spark cult-like devotion in their fans, appeal to critics with their intelligence and complexity, and still reach out to a wider audience. The Fox News Channel dubbed Flemming "a young Oliver Stone."

Flemming was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley and studied English at the University of California, Irvine. He worked as a script reader for New Line Cinema while making his first feature film, "Hang Your Dog in the Wind."

To promote "Hang Your Dog in the Wind," Flemming co-founded the one-time 1997 film festival in Park City called Slumdance. This legendary film festival, never seen again, spawned a host of imitators in the years following its appearance.

Slumdance brought Flemming to the attention of indie-film kingmaker John Pierson, who had previously discovered Spike Lee, Michael Moore and Richard Linklater, among others. Pierson became a vocal supporter of Flemming and his debut feature, and Flemming went on to work as a director and segment producer for Pierson's Independent Film Channel magazine-style show called "Split Screen," which also featured a segment about "Hang Your Dog in the Wind."

Flemming's next major project was a stage musical, Bat Boy: The Musical, based on a story about a half-bat half-boy in the outrageous tabloid Weekly World News. Flemming co- wrote Bat Boy with Keythe Farley and Laurence O'Keefe. The musical had humble origins in a small Los Angeles theater called the Actors' Gang in 1997, but it raised eyebrows when it garnered L.A. Weekly's Musical of the Year, four Ovation Award nominations and six Drama-Logue Awards.

Bat Boy: The Musical made its way to Off-Broadway in March 2001, where the play won the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical, the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical Off- Broadway and six Drama Desk nominations. The New Yorker, in a rave review, declared that this "giggling cult hit" was changing the course of the American musical by bringing narrative back to the genre. The New York Times, in another rave review, wrote, "It is astonishing what intelligent wit can accomplish." The musical ran in New York through December 2001 and has since been staged thousands of times throughout the world, in several languages.

At first glance, "Bat Boy" looks like a frivolous comedy about a tabloid freak, but the play actually has mythic dimensions. It explores deep thematic territory, subtly delivering a message that is sometimes troubling, sometimes deliriously uplifting. The play has been called a self-contained religion, and it does indeed have its adherents. An extremely devoted group of fans competes to see the most productions of the show and posts daily to the discussion board on the play's popular website--an unusual feature in the world of theater.

Flemming's profile as an indie film director took a huge leap with his second feature film, a faux documentary about the assassination of Bill Gates called Nothing So Strange (2002). Flemming debuted the film at the 2002 Slamdance Film Festival (Slumdance's old rival in Park City), where it caused a sensation. Industry bible Variety immediately called it "a crackling good movie" that "may be the ideal prototype film for the digital age." The film garnered more accolades (including the Claiborne Pell New York Times Award for Original Vision at the 2002 Newport Film Festival) and massive international media coverage. Bill Gates said through a spokesman that he was "very disappointed that a movie maker would do something like this."

Despite the film's positive notices and enormous press coverage, major distributors shied away from it, demonstrating a trend toward avoiding controversy in favor of "safe" films (a trend which would later be seen in Disney's refusal to allow Miramax to distribute Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9-11).

Undaunted, Flemming and his fellow producers chose to distribute the film themselves, and in their own way. Nothing So Strange (2002) made history on October 23, 2003, when the film had its simultaneous debut in theaters and as an internet download, becoming the first film ever to be commercially available in all countries at the same moment. Hundreds of servers in nations around the globe were marshalled for the task of delivering a worldwide internet debut. The producers then followed up in April 2004 with the release of the film on DVD, which is now available in more than 200 countries.

In addition to working in film and theater, Flemming is an activist on copyright issues. He has released Nothing So Strange (2002) as an "open source" project, which means all of the raw footage that makes up the film is released without copyright restrictions, so that others can make their own projects from it without Flemming's permission. (Flemming's final cut of the film itself remains protected by copyright.)

Flemming founded the organization Free Cinema, which encourages feature filmmakers to make their films under two rules: 1) No money may be spent on the production, and 2) The film must be "copylefted," which means the film must be released without a copyright. Flemming claims that filmmaking can now be "as inexpensive as writing novels" and that the copylefting practice is a way for new artists to gain notice and distribution in a marketplace dominated by huge, wealthy corporations. (Free Cinema is directly inspired by the Open Source movement in computer software, which operates by similar rules.) Flemming is also the owner and operator of Fair Use Press, which distributes e-books attacking public figures such as Bill O'Reilly and Arnold Schwarzenegger for their use of intellectual property law.

Between his major projects, Flemming has worked as a photographer (London Mail on Sunday, Los Angeles Times, L.A. Weekly), journalist (Filmmaker and Movieline magazines), awards-show writer (1998 and 1999 Independent Spirit Awards) and songwriter. He created a radio documentary, "The Rabbi vs. Larry Flynt," in 1999 about a debate on pornography between a rabbi and Larry Flynt. He maintains a daily personal weblog.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Trivia (7)

Co-author of Bat Boy the Musical.
Co-founder and Slum Lord of Slum Dance, 1997 in Park City.
An activist on copyright issues, he founded Free Cinema, which is inspired by the Open Source software movement.
Created a controversial documentary segment about Bruce Willis that the Independent Film Channel refused to air
Like Robert Rodriguez and Steven Soderbergh, Flemming is his own cinematographer.
Making his third feature film in Los Angeles [March 2003]
Writing the screenplay for Bat Boy: The Musical for director John Landis. [April 2005]

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