Directors Scott Ogden and Malcolm Hearn’s documentary, “MAKE,” is about four artists on the furthest fringes of our society. Isolated by their disabilities, they find a voice and try to make sense of a world that shuns them, through incredible works of art. These are the characters that inspired Sufjan Stevens‘ album, “The Age of Adz.” Stevens, who called the film “a beautiful and insightful look at the sublime task of making art when nothing will else do,” based his album’s narrative specifically on the life and apocalyptic work of the schizophrenic artist, Prophet Royal Robertson featured in “MAKE.”
Ogden first began documenting these people 12 years ago, beginning with a trip to visit Ike Morgan, and his paintings at the Austin State Hospital. The blind sculptor Hawkins Bolden, and severely disabled crafter, Judith Scott followed. Then Hearn joined Ogden in traveling the country, documenting more of their four subjects, along the loved ones and care takers in their lives. “Our lives have been drastically transformed by a dizzying expansion of consumerism and technology,” Hearn says. “Products are culture now, and we are blind to our own alienation. Ike, Judith, Hawkins, and Royal somehow had the strength to fight their alienation. Where is our strength?” he asks. “They hold lessons for us, these lives lived on the margins.”
“MAKE” includes a soundtrack with original compositions from Sufjan Stevens and Marc Bianchi (Her Space Holiday), along with music by Jim Guthrie, Oneida, Tommy Guerrero, and Au Revoir Simone. Watch this sneak preview the directors put together for us, in anticipation of the film’s screening and release party at the American Folk Art Museum, this Friday, June 17th in Manhattan.