We are absolutely thrilled to be bringing you the San Francisco premiere of a movie that is sure to be one of the most talked about documentaries of the year. If you’ re not familiar with Daniel Johnston, let me fill you in: He’ s among the best singer/songwriters alive, a writer of rare tenderness and power, with admirers as rabid as, say, Kurt Cobains’ (who was an admirer of Johnston himself). But he’ s a fragile and very troubled soul, much of his life spent in mental institutions and in the care of his parents. His strange and fate-filled story has been passed around for years and, though it has taken on the air of urban legend, it’ s all true. And wonder of wonders, someone has finally made a definitive movie about Daniel Johnston, a movie that really gets it, the movie both fans and newcomers will relish.
Luckily for us (and director Jeff Feuerzeig), Johnston w as an obsessive self-chronicler – from a young age he made super-8 movies starring himself (often playing his own mother), recorded a running diary on cassette tapes, and filled books with drawings and writings. It’ s truly a treasure trove, and the film is bursting with this amazing stuff.
Produced by local film maven Henry Rosenthal, whose Off the Charts: The Song Poem Story was a hit at IndieFest back in 2003, The Devil and Daniel Johnston is simply a stunner, the strange and heartbreaking story of a troubled genius, and the family, friends and admirers who struggle to help him succeed. Not to be missed.
- Tod Booth