The US Documentary Competition heads into strange but true terrain with FINDERS KEEPERS, Bryan Carberry and Clay Tweel’s chronicle of a most unusual custody battle.
Sundance Program Description:
Shannon Whisnant has a nose for a bargain. But when he bought a used grill at a North Carolina auction, the severed human foot he found among its ashes was not part of the deal. Soon the gruesome discovery becomes the toast of the infotainment world, and the new owner spies a golden opportunity to cash in on the media frenzy, until struggling addict and amputee John Wood recognizes his missing member and demands his own foot back. It is the stuff of documentary legend.
Bizarre twists of fate with perfectly twisted characters take center stage in a courtroom battle with television’s Judge Mathis, exploding this classic small-town feud to epic proportions as their 15 minutes of fame turns their lives upside-down and they find themselves basking under the heat lamps of the international talk-show circuit.
This astonishing, stranger-than-fiction tale defies definition because it uniquely traverses the quirks of a small town in the midst of a media phenomenon, while it examines manifold human paradoxes such as greed, ego, familial dysfunction, and that most elusive of all human conditions, redemption.
This is Bryan Carberry’s feature directorial debut, while fellow director/editor Clay Tweel counts two other docs among his prior directing credits, teen magician competition film MAKE BELIEVE and the recent SXSW-award-winning 3D printing-focused PRINT THE LEGEND, and is a Sundance alum as the producer/editor/cinematographer of the short fiction film EXCUSE ME (2011). He also contributed to the editing of notable docs THE KING OF KONG and the Oscar-winning UNDEFEATED, both produced by this project’s producer Ed Cunningham, who also has a Sundance track record with Greg Whiteley’s NEW YORK DOLL (2005). Also joining Carberry and Cunningham as producer here are KONG director Seth Gordon, whose other Sundance credits include DOLL, Whiteley’s MITT (2014), as well as dramatic shorts FEARS OF A CLOWN (2004) and THE BIG ABANDONED REFRIGERATOR ADVENTURE (2003); and Adam Gibbs, whose producing debut, LUCKY THEM, debuted at Toronto. Among the project’s executive producers is Chad Troutwine, who associate produced Sundance fiction film NORTHFORK (2003), while one of its co-producers, Matt Radecki, has been to Park City with the special jury prize-winning TV JUNKIE (2006). Finally, Carberry and Tweel’s fellow editor, Tchavdar Georgiev previously cut Sundance film VALENTINE ROAD (2013).
Why You Should Watch:
I previously profiled the project during its crowdfunding campaign. Carberry and Tweel have followed through on the promise presented by this truly crazy story, fleshing out a handful of oddball – and unforgettable – subjects by getting to the core of their disparate motivations, from delusions of grandeur to a reckoning with past mistakes.
For more information, check out the film’s Facebook page. For Carberry and Tweel’s thoughts on the film, check out their Sundance Meet the Artists profile. For screening dates and times at Sundance, click the link in the first paragraph.
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