Movie Review: Geoff McFetridge: Drawing a Life – SXSW Award Winner Now in Theaters

I attended the SXSW Film & Television Festival in 2023 and unfortunately missed viewing the world premiere of this documentary feature film during the festival. It was the Audience Award Winner for Documentary Feature last year, and I was so glad to have viewed it in time for the theatrical release and future VOD release. Filmmaker and artist Dan Covert provides an in-depth look at the life and career of Geoff McFetridge, based on writer Amy Dempsey’s script (also credited is Covert, Erik Auli, and Tara Rose Stromberg on IMDb). He was an artist of many talents, starting with drawing and sketching in the 90s, attending school for graphic design, and ultimately staying true to his vision for work and family. The visuals in this film are gorgeous and pop off the screen. I am happy to have learned so much about an artist who did it his way.

The film has some footage of his parents talking about their life, his childhood, and his teen years. There is also great footage of the skateboarding and designs he was a part of at such a young age. He studied at the California Institute of the Arts in the early 90s, later creating some work for Sofia Coppola’s film The Virgin Suicides (1999). He has had plenty of commercial work for several products, and still, he returns to creating what he feels is an independent designer.

The documentary took a few years to complete, and it can be seen through interviews with McFetridge and Sofia Coppola, many archival photos, low-res videos, and mobile phone footage. The images of McFetridge’s artwork used in the film are great, especially for those unfamiliar with the artist’s name but who have seen his work over the years.

Sketching with a yellow #2 pencil is priceless and inspiring for any budding artist. I hope they can see their vision can be carried out with a simple pencil and grow from there.

Synopsis: One of the most prolific artists of his time, Geoff McFetridge, has undoubtedly influenced how the world looks. His art is everywhere—on your Apple Watch, in countless galleries across the globe, in title designs for films by Sofia Coppola and Spike Jonze, and in collaborations with Nike, Hermès, Warby Parker, and more. The antithesis of the archetypal artist fueled by drugs, alcohol, and chaos, what sets the prodigious McFetridge apart is his obsessive quest to balance family with a creative life. In Geoff McFetridge: Drawing a Life, director, and fellow artist Dan Covert offers unprecedented access into Geoff’s multifaceted world, painting an intimate portrait of a man guided by intention and authenticity.

Producers: Spike Jonze and Dan Covert, Co-Producer: Amy Dempsey

Running Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes. In NYC theaters June 21.

Available on VOD in North America via Gravitas Ventures on July 2, 2024, and available on VOD worldwide via Vimeo on July 2, 2024

Source: Dress Code, SXSW, Gravitas

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