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Meet the 2012 Sundance Filmmakers #5: Matthew Akers, ‘Marina Abramović The Artist is Present’

Meet the 2012 Sundance Filmmakers #5: Matthew Akers, 'Marina Abramović The Artist is Present'

“Marina Abramović The Artist is Present” (which will screen in the U.S. Documentary competition) documents the 2010 career retrospective of performance artist Marina Abramović, which featured the artist, still and seated, during the show’s three month long run at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

What’s it about?  A mesmerizing cinematic journey inside the world of a radical performance artist who draws no distinction between life and art.

Says Director Matthew Akers: “I have a degree in fine art and started out as a painter and a sculptor. I began making documentaries as a way to broaden my perspective on the world. I also really like telling stories.

“When I began making this film, I was skeptical of performance art. Two big goals I set for myself were to figure out how to make the subject appeal to a wider audience than just the rarefied art world and to figure out how to make a film about something that is, in its essence, meant to be ephemeral.  In my wildest dreams, I could not have imagined what a sensation Marina’s show would become and how profound it would turn out to be. I went from being a skeptic to a convert. My hope is that the audience will enjoy getting to know this amazing person as much as I did, and will have an encounter with this new work in a way that might reveal something about them selves, as it certainly did for me.

“You don’t need to know anything about performance art or even have a particular interest in art to enjoy going on this ride. Perhaps it is cliché to discuss the transformative power of art; regardless I am convinced that there is something truly special about what Marina accomplished with this new performance. I hope the takeaway of this film is that it is not only about art but also perhaps about something much larger.”

Indiewire invited Sundance Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they’re doing next. We’ll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2012 festival.

Keep checking here every day up to the launch for the latest profiles.

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