American filmmaker George Hickenlooper, known for directing “Factory Girl,” the documentary, “Mayor of the Sunset Strip,” and co-directing “Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse” with Fax Bahr, among many other pictures, was found dead this morning according to the Denver Post.
The 47-year old filmmaker, a cousin of Denver mayor John Hickenlooper who confirmed his passing, was in the city preparing to unveil his his latest film, “Casino Jack” starring Kevin Spacey, at the Starz Denver Film Festival. The director evidently died of natural causes in his sleep according to the report and comments on his Facebook page.
His last Facebook message reads, “Thanks to all my new friends in Austin for making last night’s screening such a great success! I love Austin! One of if not the best audience in the world. Literally. Hope to come back soon… On to Denver!”
“Shock and sadness do not begin to describe our emotions. We are devastated,” John Hickenlooper said in a statement. “George had immense creative talents and cinematic gifts, but he was so much more than that to us and all his family. His passion for life, zeal for people and unquenchable curiosity enriched everyone who had the fortune to know him. We will miss his sense of humor, his warm character and the avid encouragement he gave anyone around him. Our hearts go out to his wife, Suzanne, and his son, Charles.”
His latest film is about the career of Washington, D.C. lobbyist, businessman, and con man Jack Abramoff, who was involved in a massive corruption scandal that led conviction charges of fraud, conspiracy, and tax evasion in 2006. “He’s so larger than life. For me, that whole Bush era, that whole Republican revolution, how it went off the rails completely, is very interesting,” the filmmaker said in an interview with L.A. Guest in February of this year. “His story was a way for me to ventilate my frustration of all the bullshit I’d bought into over the last ten years. It was very cathartic.”
More info when it becomes available, but the Denver Post reports that foul play is not suspected and the cause of death is currently being investigated.