Joel Potrykus

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Joel Potrykus
Joel Potrykus at the 2012 Belfort Entrevues Film Festival.jpg
Joel Potrykus at the 2012 Belfort Entrevues Film Festival
Born Alpena, Michigan, United States
Occupation Film director, screenwriter

Joel Potrykus is an American film director and screenwriter. His feature film debut Ape won the Best New Director prize at the 2012 Locarno Film Festival.[1]

Early life[edit]

Potrykus was born and raised in Alpena, Michigan,[2] then moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan to study film at Grand Valley State University. A stint as a stand-up comedian in New York City led to the inspiration for his first feature film, Ape.[3] While spending a year as a temp at a Michigan mortgage company led to the inspiration of his second feature film, Buzzard.[4]


After a series of 8mm and 16mm short films in college, Potrykus founded Sob Noisse Movies, which produced two larger-scale super 8 shorts,[5] the neorealist zombie film Gordon and the minimalist werewolf film Coyote.[6] His first feature film, Ape, made its world premiere at the 2012 Locarno Film Festival, where it won Best New Director and Best First Feature Special Mention at the festival.[7] It went on to make its North American premiere at the Vancouver International Film Festival,[8] and US premiere at AFI Fest in Hollywood.[9] His second feature film Buzzard, again starring Joshua Burge, as an angry temp worker, made its world premiere at the 2014 SXSW Film Festival, singled out by Janet Pierson as the stand-out in its field.[10] It is the third film in his Animal Trilogy which includes Coyote and Ape.[11]

Style and influences[edit]

Ape is seen both as a black comedy and rage fantasy, following failing stand-up comic and part-time pyromaniac Trevor (played by Joshua Burge) as he suffers one humiliation after another, both on stage and off.[12] The film is notable for reigniting the American indie slacker niche of the mid '90s, both in aesthetic and voice.[13] Buzzard continued the movement, focusing on a horror metal slacker's petty fight against "The Man".[14]


Feature films[edit]

Short films[edit]

  • Gordon (2007)
  • Coyote (2010)


  1. ^ "AFI Fest: J. Potrykus". American Film Institute. Retrieved November 1, 2012. 
  2. ^ Westrope, Andrew (September 14, 2012). "J. Potrykus Alpena News interview". Alpena News. Retrieved May 28, 2013. 
  3. ^ Serba, John. "Grand Rapids filmmaker overwhelmed". Retrieved September 5, 2012. 
  4. ^ Kenigsberg, Ben. "Joel Potrykus’s Film ‘Buzzard’ Is Inspired by Dead-End Jobs". New York Times. Retrieved February 27, 2015. 
  5. ^ Whyte, Jason. "Vancouver Film Festival 2012 Interview – APE director Joel Potrykus". eFilmCritic. Retrieved October 11, 2012. 
  6. ^ Ronny. "Coyote Review". Retrieved March 24, 2013. 
  7. ^ Deadline Team. "Locarno Award Announcement". Retrieved August 11, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Ape". Vancouver International Film Festival. Retrieved October 11, 2012. 
  9. ^ "AFI Fest:ApeAPE - AFI Fest 2013". American Film Institute. Retrieved November 1, 2012. 
  10. ^ "5 Observations About the 2014 Lineup With Insight From Film Festival Head Janet Pierson". IndieWire. January 30, 2014. 
  11. ^ Scheib, Ronnie (March 12, 2014). "SXSW Film Review: 'Buzzard'". Variety. Retrieved March 22, 2014. 
  12. ^ Rechtshaffen, Michael. "Ape Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 24, 2012. 
  13. ^ Harding, Michael-Oliver. "Ape Review". Nightlife Magazine. Retrieved October 30, 2012. 
  14. ^ Renfrow, Jae K. "Buzzard Review". Sound on Sight. Retrieved October 17, 2014. 

External links[edit]