Eddie Schmidt

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Eddie Schmidt (born August 29, 1970) is a documentary filmmaker, writer/producer, commentator, activist, and satirist. He is best known for producing and shooting the Oscar nominated Twist Of Faith (2005), producing, co-writing, and shooting the irreverent This Film Is Not Yet Rated (2006), and producing the Emmy-nominated, all-star music documentary Troubadours (2011), all of which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.(1)(2)(3) Since 2009-, he has served as President of the IDA (International Documentary Association), and was its interim Executive Director for the latter half of 2008.(4)

Life and career[edit]

Schmidt attended Vassar College, where he received a BA in Drama/Film in 1992. Later, in 2005, he was named a "Vassar Innovator" by the school, placing him in a distinguished group of alumni from the college's history including Nickelodeon founder Geraldine Laybourne. (5)

Schmidt emerged as a producer of feature documentaries with Chain Camera (2001), a groundbreaking look at urban teenage life in which video cameras were given to students at John Marshall High School in Los Angeles and passed around like chain letters, presaging YouTube and user-driven media by several years. (6) The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and went on to air on Sundance Channel, BBC, and Cinemax, and had a multi-city theatrical run. In 2005, it was released on DVD with deleted scenes and filmmaker commentary. (7)

Chain Camera began a long creative partnership between Schmidt and director Kirby Dick, which included Twist of Faith, the story of a man confronting the trauma of past sexual abuse by a Catholic priest. Nominated for an Academy Award in 2005, Twist Of Faith also premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and is one of the all-time highest-rated films on film critic website Rotten Tomatoes, with a 100% positive rating. (8)

The duo’s equally provocative follow-up, This Film Is Not Yet Rated, provided an irreverent investigation into the MPAA movie ratings system and American culture, marking the first time that the secretive industry organization had been exposed. The film was met with a standing ovation when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2006 and was released theatrically that fall by IFC Films (9).

Schmidt returned to the Sundance Film Festival for the fourth time in 2011 with Troubadours, directed by music documentary vet Morgan Neville. Troubadours, released theatrically before airing on PBS’ “American Masters,” tells the story of the ‘rise of the singer-songwriter’ in late 1960s/early 1970s Los Angeles, featuring Carole King, James Taylor, Jackson Browne, David Crosby, Bonnie Raitt, and many other luminaries. (10) The film was later nominated for an Emmy for Nonfiction Cinematography. (11)

Other media[edit]

In recent years, Schmidt has appeared as a pop culture pundit, guesting several times on G4's Attack of the Show, as well as on MSNBC, IFC, and other cable outlets. (12) He is featured in two documentaries directed by Jeffrey Schwarz for Starz/Encore, In the Gutter (2008) and Sex and the Cinema(2009).(13) Schmidt often moderates panels at film festivals or events, conducting talks with other well-known filmmakers and making memorable appearances at awards shows and industry events. (14)(15)

Schmidt has also worked frequently in television, producing, directing and writing both documentary and comedy series and specials for HBO, Lionsgate, E!, IFC, A&E, GSN, and Adult Swim.(16)

He appears as himself, along with Ira Glass and his own parents, in a 2004 episode of National Public Radio's This American Life ("Family Legend"), which re-ran in 2005 and is available on iTunes.(17)

Schmidt is currently in postproduction on a major music documentary for release in 2011, and is Executive Producer of the pop culture biopic Candyman: The David Klein Story, which debuted at the Slamdance Film Festival and Toronto's Hot Docs in 2010. Candyman, the bittersweet tale of the inventor of the Jelly Belly jellybean, also features "Weird Al" Yankovic, and makes its U.S. television broadcast debut on the Documentary Channel in November 2010 and its DVD debut from Indiepix in February 2011.(18)

In 2011, Schmidt was one of six documentary experts brought in as a program consultant to hash out Current TV’s final 50 Documentaries To See Before You Die, then counted down in a summer mini-series hosted by Morgan Spurlock. Schmidt also appears on-camera in the series discussing films like Truth or Dare, Dogtown, Z-Boys and Gasland.(19)

Schmidt also orchestrated the distribution of Harry Shearer’s feature documentary The Big Uneasy.(20)

Non-profit and public works[edit]

In addition to his film and television career, Schmidt served as the Board President of the IDA (International Documentary Association), a major, nonprofit community and resource for nonfiction filmmakers, since 2009. For the latter half of 2008, Schmidt served as the organization's day-to-day interim Executive Director, overseeing its 2008 DocuWeeks Theatrical Showcase and the 2008 IDA Documentary Awards, hosted by Morgan Spurlock, and honoring Werner Herzog (21)

During his time with the organization, Schmidt has re-energized its advocacy base, lobbying lawmakers for filmmakers’ rights with regard to fair use and net neutrality, among others. (22) (23) During filmmaker Joe Berlinger’s battle with oil giant Chevron over all 600 hours of his film “Crude,” Schmidt engineered an open letter signed by over 200 filmmakers, including 20 Oscar winners, as well as supplying amicus brief for Berlinger’s court case. (24)

Most recently, Schmidt was part of a major IDA effort petitioning the IRS to affirm the notion of documentary filmmaking as a for-profit enterprise. (25)

Author and satirist[edit]

Schmidt, along with MJ Loheed and Matt Patterson, authored the book, The Finger: A Comprehensive Guide To Flipping Off (1998). A definitive look at the middle finger gesture and its place in popular culture, and featuring cameos from John Waters, Harry Shearer, Ice Cube, and Julie Delpy, the book quickly became a top-seller during the 1998/1999 holiday season, hitting #75 on amazon.com, receiving a nomination for an American Library Award, and being dubbed the literary "Pick of the Week" by the LA Weekly. (26)

Schmidt, along with Patterson and Loheed, were pioneering internet satirists with the website ooze.com, one of the first digital humor publications to exist as early as 1993. Excerpts from ooze.com appeared in the McGraw-Hill book Internet Insider (1995), and the 'zine was hailed alongside the Onion in magazines such as Yahoo! Internet Life. (27)

In the late 90s, ooze began to incorporate video into its satire, receiving worldwide attention for mocking Fundamentalist Christians with "The Force Is A Tool of Satan," a fake video and website purporting to represent zealous Fundamentalists offended by the Star Wars myth. In 1999, ooze signed a deal with Fox Broadcasting Company to produce a TV series. (28) Although that did not materialize, during 2001–2007 the group continued to perform live and produce numerous video pranks targeting celebrities, PETA, tourism, and mainstream pornography, with total YouTube views of their stunts reaching over 500,000. (29)

Personal life[edit]

In 2001, Schmidt married production designer Rachel Kamerman (Gilmore Girls; Pretty Little Liars). They live in Los Angeles with their son. (30)

References[edit]

1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twist_of_Faith

2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/This_Film_Is_Not_Yet_Rated

3) http://www.thetroubadoursmovie.com/

4) http://www.documentary.org/

5) http://www.eddieschmidt.com/PDFs/vassar.pdf

6) http://www.metacritic.com/movie/chain-camera

7) http://www.amazon.com/Chain-Camera-Silva-Arzunyan/dp/B0009I7O3Y/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1283409215&sr=1-1

8) http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/twist_of_faith/

9) http://www.kirbydick.com/thisfilmisnotyetrated/Variety.pdf

10) http://www.thetroubadoursmovie.com/

11) http://www.emmys.com/nominations/2011/Outstanding%20Cinematography%20For%20Nonfiction%20Programming

12) http://video.tvguide.com/Results.aspx?primary=Search&searchvalue=Eddie%20Schmidt&sortby=Recent&display_mode=details&price=free

13) http://www.starz.com/titles/starzinsideinthegutter

14) http://www.variety.com/index.asp?layout=vpage_p_s&pic=3&articleid=vr1117997061

15) http://www.indiewire.com/article/2009/02/19/idas_schmidt_documentaries_boring_i_think_not

16) http://www.eddieschmidt.com

17) http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/270/family-legend

18) http://www.candymanfilm.com

19) http://www.documentary.org/node/22938

20) http://www.eddieschmidt.com/bio

21) http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/yuMZG23_S6K/International+Documentary+Association+24th/BTY7x5BHrQe/Eddie+Schmidt

22) http://www.digitalproductionbuzz.com/Archives/ShowNotes.php?date=2010-08-12

23) http://www.documentary.org/about-us/your-ida-at-work

24) http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/arts/BerlingerSupportLetterLOCKED.pdf

25) http://www.indiewire.com/article/update_in_the_irs_case_against_documentaries_do_docs_satisfy_the_nine-facto/P0/

26) http://www.amazon.com/Finger-Comprehensive-Guide-Flipping-Off/dp/1888358122/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1283456083&sr=8-2

27) http://www.amazon.com/Internet-Insider-Ruffin-Prevost/dp/0078820847/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1283456399&sr=1-1

28) http://www.ooze.com/live/

29) http://www.youtube.com/user/drbubonic

30) http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0772907/bio

See also[edit]