Super Duper Supermensches

January 18, 2015 | By

Supermensch_mThere are many strokes of luck that occurred during Shep Gordon’s career as a manager for high profile musicians Alice Cooper, Teddy Pendergrass, and Anne Murray (yes, really), and as directors Mike Myers and Beth Aala reveal, a lot of CanCon connections as well.

It’s fair to say Cooper’s career benefited from recording and touring in Canada as well as the U.S. and Britain, and Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon (Anchor Bay) illustrates how Gordon’s gift was a clever combination of timing, cooperation, and establishing relationships based on fulfilling the needs of several clients and associates rather than one individual.

He’s also a pioneer of publicity stunts designed to draw media towards clients and yield strategic attention, and a man who changed career gears and moved into film distribution, created the concept of the celebrity TV chef, and became a chef himself, and yet the life of this magician behind the curtain was pretty much unknown to the general public.

Supermensch was released prior to the Hot Docs 2014 favourite  Super Duper Alice Cooper (EOne), but the two docs are very much companion pieces because both men figure prominently in each other’s life stories. Super, though, is unique in telling the story of the original shock rocker with elaborate, elegant visuals and audio from taped interviews rather than talking head footage, making the film another creative leap in the use of Adobe After Effects to deepen the visual scope of archival materials resourced for a documentary.

It’s nothing that hasn’t been seen before – The Kid Stays in the Picture (2002) and The U.S. vs. John Lennon (2007) are pioneering examples of After Effects used to re-render flat stills into multi-dimensional images through which the camera flows – but Super goes further, relying exclusively on archival images rather than filmed interview footage, freeing filmmakers Sam Dunn, Scot McFayden, and Canadian Reginald Harkema to create fluid transitions between stills and rare concert footage. It’s a remarkable technical achievement, but Super‘s also a solid doc packed with stories and crazy career twists, and its eponymous subject emerging as another survivor of hard living in the rock world.

Coming next: Burt Lancaster goes to war in Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) and The Train (1964) from Twilight Time!




Mark R. Hasan, Editor

Tags: , , , , , , ,


Comments are closed.