New documentary film MAKE ME FAMOUS shines a light on a gay artist, struggling to make it in New York

Graham Robson January 30, 2023

Red Splat Productions has announced its debut feature documentary film MAKE ME FAMOUS will launch in the UK at Bertha DocHouse the week of February 17, soon after its theatrical World Premiere at the Hot Docs Cinema.

MAKE ME FAMOUS uncovers why artist Edward Brezinski, who worked alongside Keith Haring, David Wojnarowicz and Jean-Michel Basquiat, in New York’s Lower East Side art scene, never made it, despite being so maniacally focused on his quest for fame.

Director Brian Vincent said: “I am pleased to be making the UK Premiere of MAKE ME FAMOUS at the Bertha DocHouse. The punk movement of the UK spurred massive changes in the US especially in the art scene in NYC. Artists were inspired to make their own rules and not wait for the elites to choose them, they made their art and their own worlds until they got famous or died trying.”

What begins as an investigation into Brezinski’s legacy and mysterious disappearance becomes a sharp, witty portrait of NYC’s 1980s downtown art scene. Gallery owners and fellow artists dish on insider gossip, name drop, and contradict each other in telling the story, resulting in an irresistible snapshot of an unknown artist that captures the spirit of an iconic era. His reputation was such that, when Brezinski died, his obituary dwelled on an incident where he poisoned himself, eating part of an expensive installation called Bag of Donuts that he deemed pretentious.

MAKE ME FAMOUS is a documentary that uses the life of an almost-legend – sneered at by some contemporaries, admired by others – as a springboard for a dive into a period in New York’s cultural history when “starving artists” reset the creative bar. Reflecting the New Wave mentality, then playing out in music, they created a community in studios in the city’s then-derelict Lower East Side. With little more than a DIY creative urge and practically no cash, the likes of Julian Schnabel would come home from his restaurant job with broken plates and put them together as a “canvas” for paintings.

Brezinski’s home base, the Magic Gallery, was a decrepit apartment on Third Avenue, across from a men’s shelter. Fellow aspiring artists and gallerists created the beginnings of a ‘scene’ that made some rich and famous, and left others behind.

Through interviews, archival footage, and hundreds of images – many that have never seen before – MAKE ME FAMOUS examines some of these intangibles through the recollections of some of the NYC Downtown scene’s most colourful figures.

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