Gorman Bechard

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Gorman Bechard
Filmmaker Gorman Bechard
Filmmaker Gorman Bechard
Born
Gorman E. Bechard III[1]

(1959-03-15) March 15, 1959 (age 59)
Other namesJonathan Baine
EducationNew School for Social Research
OccupationFilmmaker
Novelist
Screenwriter
Years active1983–present
Known forColor Me Obsessed, Psychos In Love, Who Is Lydia Loveless?
Websitegormanbechard.com

Gorman Bechard (born March 15, 1959)[2] is an American film director, screenwriter and novelist best known for his independent feature films Psychos in Love, Friends (with benefits), and You Are Alone; his four rock documentaries Color Me Obsessed: A Film About the Replacements, What Did You Expect? The Archers of Loaf Live at Cat's Cradle, Every Everything: The Music, Life & Times of Grant Hart, and Who is Lydia Loveless?; his animal welfare documentary A Dog Named Gucci; and his debut novel The Second Greatest Story Ever Told.[3]

Early life[edit]

Bechard was born in Waterbury, Connecticut to Gorman "Gary" E. Bechard Jr., a bar and restaurant entrepreneur, and Lucille Claire Bechard.[4] Lucille died when Bechard was 10 years old, so he and his sister Deborah were raised by his grandparents, William and Claire Roberts. He also has two half-brothers, Thomas and Sean.[5]

Bechard graduated from Holy Cross High School in Waterbury.[5] While in high school, Bechard became interested in writing after reading Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions and Richard Brautigan’s In Watermelon Sugar. He attended Western Connecticut State University, where he studied journalism.

Career[edit]

Bechard worked as the music critic for the Waterbury Republican & American newspaper and started a local music fanzine called Imagine.

In 1981, Bechard took a course on director Alfred Hitchcock at the New School for Social Research in New York City, and shortly thereafter found himself studying 16mm film production and taking uncredited courses part time there.

Early Films[edit]

In 1983, Bechard shot his first feature film, Disconnected, while still studying film in New York City. Made on a budget of $40,000 and filmed in his native Waterbury, it was a creepy take on the horror movement of the time. A restored version of this film was released on BluRay by Vinegar Syndrome on November 24, 2017.[6] His long-lost first documentary, Twenty Questions, was included as an extra on the BluRay release.

Bechard's next film, 1986's Psychos in Love,[3] was a horror comedy that has been called "the first Scream."[who?] Conceived as a slasher film in the style of Woody Allen, Monty Python and the Marx Brothers, Bechard's film went on to play a midnight run at the famed Bleecker Street Cinema in Greenwich Village before being released on video by Empire Pictures. In HorrorNews.Net, Todd Martin wrote, "It’s violent and gory while being sweet and funny at the same time and after everything was said and done I ended up digging it a lot more than I ever thought that I would."[7] A restored version of Psychos In Love was released on bluray from Vinegar Syndrome on September 26, 2017.

Bechard entered into a four-picture deal with Empire Pictures that was fraught with conflict. Empire went out of business, and Bechard, having had enough, shifted his career to writing novels and scripts.[8]

Novels[edit]

Bechard's first novel, The Second Greatest Story Ever Told, was published by Citadel Underground in 1991 and was called "a very, very funny book" by the Los Angeles Times.[9] It tells the tale of God sending his quirky teenaged daughter to save the world. The book has been optioned by Hollywood numerous times, and has had many leading actress attached to play the role including Winona Ryder, who in the Hot issue of Rolling Stone magazine proclaimed her next role was playing the female Jesus, to most recently Rooney Mara, who can be seen on the cover of the paperback release of the novel.

In 1993, long before the widespread availability of broadband internet, he produced a multi-media web novel called The Hazmat Diary, which featured images, video clips, and music programmed in Flash. The site was eventually taken down in 2007, and the story was published in paperback form in 2010.

His next novel Balls was published by Penguin Books in 1995. It tells the fictional story of the first woman to play major league baseball. The book was optioned by 20th Century Fox but never made into a film.[10]

Next came Good Neighbors, published by Carroll & Graf in 1998, followed by Ninth Square (Forge, 2003) and Unwound, written under the pseudonym Jonathan Baine, and published by Onyx in 2007.

Recent Narrative Films[edit]

In 2002, Bechard returned to filmmaking with The Kiss, starring Terence Stamp and Eliza Dushku. But once again the process made him question whether directing was a career path he wanted to travel.

In 2005, Bechard decided to take one last stab at filmmaking. He would do a micro-budget film where all the control was in his hands. The film, You Are Alone,[11] a dark drama exploring how far some people will go to feel less alone, went on to play numerous film festivals and win many "best-of" awards before being released on DVD.

Bechard's next independent feature was 2009's Friends (With Benefits).[12] The film likewise played many film festivals and is being distributed by Cinetic Media.

His last narrative film, 2013's Broken Side of Time, was released on DVD and streaming media in May 2014. In Blurt, Danny Phillips wrote, "Watching Dolce’s slip into the abyss is somewhat like watching a car stranded on the tracks as a train barrels towards it. You really want to help, to scream “Get out of the way!” but deep inside we want to see what happens next. Broken Side of Time is a look at a journey and a destination, a glimpse at what happens when you give all yourself to something and are used, tossed aside in return. Dolce is a train wreck personified and I could not stop watching."[13]

Documentaries[edit]

Next came Color Me Obsessed,[14] his documentary about legendary 80s indie rock band the Replacements.[15][16] Called "the rock version of Rashomon" by the Village Voice,[17] and one of "the seven best new music documentaries of the year" by Rolling Stone, the film has been playing the film festival and arthouse circuit since its premiere in March 2011. It was released on DVD in November 2012.[18] Though the film "hasn't a single second of their music, zero interviews with surviving band members and only briefly shows a few photos of the band at its ending, Color Me Obsessed: A Film About the Replacements manages to be one of the best documentaries on any subject I've seen this year."[19]

Bechard's film What Did You Expect?[20] is a concert documentary capturing Archers of Loaf on their recent reunion tour. The film had its world premiere at the NXNE Festival in Toronto in June 2012, and was released on DVD in November 2012.[21] In 2015, the band released the double album Curse of the Loaf, which is the Brian Paulson-produced concert audio from Bechard's documentary. The deluxe package also featured a copy of the film.[22]

He directed two features that premiered in 2013. The first, Broken Side of Time, premiered at VisionFest in New York City in June 2013, and won the Audience Choice Award for Best Narrative Feature at CineKink 2014,[23] while Every Everything: The Music, Life & Times of Grant Hart,[24] a documentary on Grant Hart of the legendary 80s indie rock band Hüsker Dü,[25][26] premiered in London at the Raindance Film Festival and in New York City at the CBGB Festival in October 2013, and was the opening-night film of the Sound Unseen Film & Music Festival in Minneapolis/St. Paul in November.[27][28] In Tiny Mix Tapes, Paul Bower wrote, "Grant Hart is weird because he kind of gets how important he was for rock & roll and at the same time he doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about. While it’s a cliche to even bring it up, he has a definite Minnesota Nice quality in regard to discussing what he’s done with his artistic career and how much what he’s done might have influenced the world of modern Western music. Parts of Every Everything are frustrating, but they’re frustrating because the film’s subject himself is quintessentially frustrating. Bechard has done that rare thing in documentary filmmaking. He’s fully allowed his subject to dictate the tone of the film. As an audience, we’re better off because of it."[29] While in PopShifter, Chelsea Spear said, "Throughout Every Everything, Bechard paints a very human portrait of Grant Hart, who comes off as self-aware and clear-eyed after a series of setbacks and bad decisions. Ultimately, the film could illustrate another truism: 'living well is the best revenge.'"[30]

In 2015 Bechard directed and co-produced with his wife Kristine Bechard the feature A Dog Named Gucci,[31] a documentary about animal abuse and the laws regarding such abuse in the United States,[32] The story of Gucci is set in Mobile, Alabama,[33] where "some local thugs got angry at a 15-year-old runaway girl because she wouldn’t do sexual favors for them. So they set her 10-week-old dog on fire. A professor down the street, Doug James, saw the flames and saved the dog, Gucci, by dousing them. Then he took in the dog, nursing him back to health with the help of a veterinarian. The thugs were caught, but the ringleader got a prison sentence of just six months. James was so incensed that he fought to get a state law passed to make such an offense a felony. Six years later, he succeeded."[3] The film had its world premiere at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in February 2015. The film was released on DVD from MVD Entertainment in April 2016. The end-credits song from the film, "One Voice," features the talents of Norah Jones, Aimee Mann, Susanna Hoffs, Lydia Loveless, Neko Case, Kathryn Calder, and Brian May. The single was released on Record Store Day, April 16, 2016, with the proceeds going to benefit animal charities.[34]

In July 2015, a Seed&Spark campaign was launched for a new documentary, Normal Valid Lives, a film about the Anoka-Hennepin school district bullying case which made national headlines.[35]

Bechard has also just completed a documentary on singer-songwriter Lydia Loveless called Who is Lydia Loveless?,[36] in which he documents the making of Loveless's album Real (2016),[36] as well as following her on the road and looking into what life is life for a band at her level in the music industry.[37] "I also wanted to look at stuff we normally don’t see a lot of. What are the finances for a band like this? Where does the money go? Who gets the money? Is Spotify good? Is Spotify bad? How does piracy affect you? What about the fans? I really wanted to go into all of that for a band that can sell out 200- or 250-seat venues and bars but is still traveling in an old Ford van. A good night is when they have a couple of hotel rooms. No one is rolling in the dough, so to speak. So what is it at that point when you have amazing critical success and acclaim but you’re not there yet?"[38] In October 2015, Bechard and his crew filmed a live Lydia Loveless concert at Skully's in her hometown of Columbus for the documentary. [39] The film had its world premiere at the Columbus International Film & Video Festival on April 7, 2016.[40] The documentary was released on DVD and streaming media on November 24, 2017.[41] Modern Vinyl said of the film, "Shot with Loveless and her band while on tour and recording her album Real, the film takes a hard look at what it’s like to be a musician in these modern times. It notably addresses the financial aspects of playing rock ‘n’ roll in an age of Spotify and YouTube, and what that means for someone's bottom line. Who Is Lydia Loveless? is the sort of documentary that gets inside the whys and wherefores of music, while also adding in some rather excellent performance footage, shot both on tour and at a ripping show at Skully's in Columbus, Ohio. It's heartfelt and honest, told in the words of those involved in bringing Loveless’ brutally honest music to life. While label folks and producers speak, there are no discussions with fans or family — this is a film about the music."[42]

Bechard also revealed during an iCRVradio interview on May 2, 2017 with Robin Andreoli that he had begun work on a rock documentary about North Carolina alt-country band Sarah Shook and the Disarmers called What It Takes: film en douze tableaux. The film, edited in the style of the Jean-Luc Godard film from which it takes half its name, had its world premiere at Independent Film Festival Boston in April 2018.[43] The film also played the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in August of that same year,[44] and will be released on DVD on November 9, 2018.[45] As the music blog If It's Too Loud says, "What makes Gorman Bechard's documentaries truly work for my is that he takes these high falutin' film concepts and uses them for film documentaries. Film documentaries are typically put out by a record company as a way to cash in on an artist and are little more than fluff pieces, or they focus on drama within a band. What it Takes: film en douze tableaux doesn't do any of that. While Bechard is an obvious fan of his subject, he shows them as is, and doesn't try to show them glossed over or hyped up."

And in May 2017, Bechard also launched a Kickstarter for a new animal documentary, this one called Seniors, that celebrates the brains, energy & sass of some of the coolest senior dogs on this planet and the people who love them.

It was also announced that a long-thought-lost first documentary from Bechard called Twenty Questions would have its world premiere at the New Haven Documentary Film Festival in June 2017. In the 60-minute film originally shot in 1987 and never screened publicly, twenty people, from all walks of life, are each locked alone in a room for the length of one 400-foot roll of 16mm film (11 minutes). They are each given the same set of twenty questions, which they can answer at random...if they're not completely distracted by their surroundings.

In September 2017, Bechard launched a Kickstarter campaign for his sixth rock documentary, Where are you, Jay Bennett? one of the legendary guitarists from the band Wilco.[46]

He is also finishing up work on Pizza, a Love Story, a ten-years-in-the-making documentary about New Haven, Connecticut's three famous apizza restaurants: Sally's Apizza, Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana and Modern Apizza.[3] A trailer for the film was released in June 2015.[47] And a work-in-progress screening of the film was the opening night presentation at the New Haven Documentary Film Festival.[48]

Music Videos[edit]

In July 2016, two Bechard-directed music videos had their premiere in Rolling Stone magazine. The first was "Heal Me" from the album Sidelong by North Carolina musicians Sarah Shook and the Disarmers.[49] A few days later, "Longer," from the fourth Lydia Loveless album, Real, was released. It is also the first official Loveless music video.[50] And on August 19, the second Bechard-directed music video from Real was released for the song "Clumps."[51] Noisey, the music division of Vice magazine, called it "simple and gorgeous."[52]

In May 2017, another two Bechard-directed music videos were released back-to-back. The first, which was premiered by Diffuser.fm, was for “(I Just Died) Like an Aviator” for Matthew Ryan, which featured a group of teenaged girls lip-syncing and rocking out to the song. The video starred Chloe Barczak as the singer, Carina Begley as the guitar player, Chloe Lang as the bass player, and Erica Gonsiewski as the drummer. Realizing that having real teenagers behind the scenes as well as in front of the camera could only help the authenticity, Bechard brought on interns 17-year-old Charlotte Beatty and 15-year-old Isabella Germano to co-produce the video.[53] American Songwriter Magazine wrote: "a coltish, all-girl band plays the parts of Ryan and co., rocking out in the confines of a dingy basement, and the result is oddly effective. The song takes on an added poignancy as a charismatic teenaged singer mouths lines like “I’m pouring a drink/ And smoking a smoke/ Our guts are born in that fiery trench/ Between hurt and hope” in the raspy, cigarette drawl of a middle-aged man."[54][55]

The other music video for "Nothin' Feels Right But Doin' Wrong" by Sarah Shook and the Disarmers was premiered by Fader, for the Bloodshot Records re-release of the band's debut album, "Sidelong.".[56]

2018 brought two new Bechard-directed music videos to the world: "The Bottle Never Lets Me Down" from Sarah Shook and the Disarmers was premiered by Rolling Stone, for the Bloodshot Records release of the band's second album, "Years,",[57] and American Songwriter premiered the video for the acoustic version of “I Just Died Like An Aviator” from Matthew Ryan (musician).[58]

NHdocs: the New Haven Documentary Film Festival[edit]

In 2014, Bechard co-founded NHdocs: the New Haven Documentary Film Festival (NHdocs), which he co-directs with Yale Film and Media Studies professor Charles Musser. The festival expanded from one day screening four films in 2014 to three days and over 20 films in 2015.[59] In 2016, the festival expanded to 11 days, showing over 40 films, including Bechard's Who is Lydia Loveless? followed by a solo acoustic performance from Lydia Loveless.[60] The 2017 version of the festival featured over 80 films and a tribute to the legendary D.A. Pennebaker.[61] While in 2018 the festival featured tributes to Amy Berg (documentary filmmaker), Su Friedrich, and HBO's Sheila Nevins.[62]

Awards[edit]

On November 12, 2015, Bechard was awarded the ASPCA Media Excellence Award for his work on the film A Dog Named Gucci and for "focusing on animal welfare and inspiring others to join the fight against animal cruelty."[63]

Personal life[edit]

Bechard has been married to Kristine M Covello since 1992.[1] They live in Connecticut with their two dogs, Springsteen and Dylan.

Filmography[edit]

Films[edit]

Short films and music videos[edit]

In addition to his feature work, Bechard has made a number of short films and music videos, many of which are available on YouTube.

Works and publications[edit]

  • Bechard, Gorman. The Second Greatest Story Ever Told: A Novel. New York, N.Y.: Carol Pub. Group, 1991. ISBN 978-0-806-51263-1
  • Bechard, Gorman. Balls. New York, N.Y., U.S.A.: Plume, 1995. ISBN 978-0-452-27294-1
  • Bechard, Gorman. Good Neighbors. New York: Carrol & Graf Publishers, 1998. ISBN 978-0-786-70512-2
  • Bechard, Gorman. Ninth Square. New York: Forge, 2002. ISBN 978-0-765-30146-8
  • writing as Baine, Jonathan. Unwound. New York : Onyx, 2007. ISBN 9780451412317[73]
  • Bechard, Gorman. Hazmat Diary. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2010. ISBN 978-1453690550

References[edit]

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  2. ^ "Gorman Bechard - United States Public Records". FamilySearch. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d Beach, Randall (28 February 2014). "Local filmer favors two yellow dogs and some red pizza pie". New Haven Register. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
  4. ^ "Bechard, Gorman E., Jr". Hartford Courant. Legacy.com. 22 January 2013. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
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  6. ^ "Rock! Shock! Pop! - Disconnected". rockshockpop.com. Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  7. ^ "Film Review: Psychos in Love (1987) | HNN". horrornews.net. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
  8. ^ Fielding, Justin (1 October 2005). "Last Tango in New Haven". NewEnglandFilm.com. Archived from the original on 22 January 2015. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
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  30. ^ "Movie Review: Every Everything: The Music, Life, And Times Of Grant Hart - Popshifter". Popshifter. 2014-05-02. Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  31. ^ Shryock, John (15 August 2013). "Abused pit bull "Louis Vuitton" to be focus of documentary". WSFA. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
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  34. ^ Tribbey, Ralph (2016-03-19). "DVD & Blu-Ray Release Report: Filmmaker Gorman Bechard's A Dog Named Gucci To Make Its DVD Debut On Apr. 19". DVD & Blu-Ray Release Report. Retrieved 2016-04-12.
  35. ^ "Without Passion, Film Is Nothing - Pyragraph". 2015-06-25. Retrieved 2016-07-09.
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  37. ^ from and interview on the Americana Music Show #299, published May 10, 2016
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  39. ^ http://www.columbusalive.com/content/stories/2015/10/15/the-ten-best-rock-docs-of-all-time-in-the-humble-opinion-of-a-rock-documentarian.html accessdate=15 October 2015
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  43. ^ "SARAH SHOOK SHAKES UP CAMBRIDGE // PVDLive ROADTRIP //". PVD Live. 2018-05-03. Retrieved 2018-09-05.
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  49. ^ "Sarah Shook & the Disarmers - 10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: July 2016". Retrieved 2016-07-09.
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  52. ^ "Watch Lydia Loveless Pine for Romance In a Record Store with "Clumps" | NOISEY". Retrieved 2016-08-21.
  53. ^ "Archive – iCRVradio". icrvradio.com. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
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  55. ^ "Watch Matthew Ryan's Poignant New Video For "(I Just Died) Like An Aviator" « American Songwriter". American Songwriter. 2017-05-05. Retrieved 2017-05-14.
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  65. ^ GormanBechard (2010-01-02), FRIENDS (WITH BENEFITS) trailer, retrieved 2016-04-12
  66. ^ GormanBechard (2011-12-11), COLOR ME OBSESSED trailer, retrieved 2016-04-12
  67. ^ GormanBechard (2012-09-28), What Did You Expect? the Archers of Loaf live at Cat's Cradle - long trailer, retrieved 2016-04-12
  68. ^ GormanBechard (2013-04-24), Broken Side of Time - trailer #1, retrieved 2016-04-12
  69. ^ GormanBechard (2014-01-18), Every Everything: the music, life & times of Grant Hart - TRAILER, retrieved 2016-04-12
  70. ^ GormanBechard (2016-02-29), A DOG NAMED GUCCI - official trailer, retrieved 2016-04-12
  71. ^ GormanBechard (2016-01-01), Who is Lydia Loveless? - OFFICIAL TRAILER, retrieved 2016-04-12
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  73. ^ "Gorman Bechard.com". gormanbechard.com. Retrieved 2015-07-05.

External links[edit]