Sunday, March 29

Special Events ArchiveBoston Underground Film Festival 2015

20 Years of Madness

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Director: Jeremy Royce
Cast: Jerry White Jr., Joe Hornacek, John Ryan
USA, 90 min, 2015

BUFF logoUnless you’re from Detroit, you’ve never heard of 30 Minutes of Madness, an anarchic sketch comedy show from 1990’s public access television; if you had or have a creative spirit, you know this story all too well.

Rallying around the technological advances of the day, a group of high school misfits found camaraderie through cameras by creating a VHS variety show somewhere between Kids in the Hall and Jackass. The brood of broody teens came together like an audiovisual band — fighting, creating, and eventually going their separate ways after attempting to live together in creative bliss one summer.

Twenty years later, docu subject and original Madness ringleader Jerry White Jr. has found himself single and jobless, with a newly completed film degree. As if taking stock of his life, he decides to reassemble the cast of characters from his youth to see if the creative fire that had brought them all together can be rekindled. However, the last two decades have been fraught with challenges and disappointment for the once free spirited youths; mental illness, drug abuse, and the Kafkaesque pressures of the daily grind have all but dulled the dispirited now-adult crew. Everyone, White included, is in a rut.

Convinced that this creative reunion will pull all of them out of their existential funks, White becomes determined to bring the band back together one last time to film a new episode of the show; however, he’s going to have to reckon with unresolved issues from the past and the same challenging combination of personalities — his own included — that split the group up in the first place.

20 Years of Madness takes a sobering look at how creative ambition, when stifled, turns inwardly destructive when it lacks an outlet. Anyone who’s ever felt excluded, isolated, or incensed that life didn’t turn out as planned will connect with this compelling journey towards creative wholeness.
— Evrim Ersoy


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