Marwencol

Marwencol

  • BY Jeff Malmberg | IN Arts & Culture
    Premiered April 26, 2011

About the Film

On April 8, 2000, Mark Hogancamp was attacked outside a bar in Kingston, New York, by five men who beat him literally to death. Revived by paramedics, Mark had suffered brain damage and physical injuries so severe even his own mother didn't recognize him. After nine days in a coma and 40 days in the hospital, Mark was discharged with little memory of his previous life. MORE

Unable to afford therapy, Mark decided to create his own. In his backyard, he built Marwencol, a 1/6th scale World War II-era town that he populated with dolls representing his friends, family, and even his attackers. He used the small dolls and props to redevelop his hand-eye coordination, while he dealt with the psychological trauma from his attack through the town's many battles and dramas.

Mark started documenting his miniature dramas with his camera. Through Mark's lens, these were no longer dolls — they were living, breathing characters in an epic WWII story full of violence, jealousy, longing, and revenge. And he (or rather his alter ego, Captain Hogancamp) was the hero.

When Mark's stunningly realistic photos are discovered and published in an art magazine, his homemade therapy suddenly becomes "art," forcing Mark to make a choice between the safety of his fictional town and the real world he's avoided since his attack.

Shot over the course of four years, Jeff Malmberg's documentary intertwines the dual realities of Mark Hogancamp to tell the whole story of Marwencol — a surprising tale of love, secrets, pain, and adventure.


The Filmmaker

Marwencol is Jeff Malmberg's directorial debut. The award-winning film premiered at the SXSW Film Festival where it won the Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary. As director, Jeff was honored with the HBO Documentary Films Emerging Artist Award at Hot Docs. Jeff produced and edited Red White Black & Blue, which aired on Independent Lens in 2007.

As a film and television editor, Malmberg's credits include the critically acclaimed BET documentary series American Gangster, TV One's Unsung, A&E's Biography, ESPN's SportsCentury, and numerous shows for the History Channel. He is a graduate of USC's School of Cinematic Arts.

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Film Credits

Directed, Produced,
and Edited by

Jeff Malmberg

Produced by
Tom Putnam
Matt Radecki
Chris Shellen
Kevin Walsh

Original Music
Ash Black Bufflo

Camera
Jeff Malmberg
Tom Putnam
Matt Radecki
Kevin Walsh

Sound Designer
Pete Kneser

Colorist
Brian Hutchings

Music Supervisor
Annie Lin

World Film Sales
Andrew Herwitz

Advisors
Kaz Brecher
Amy Himsel Radecki
Edwina Lantigua
Chris Mortensen
Kate O’Brien-Clarke
Dan O’Connor
Lori Putnam
Mark Rowland
Teri Shellen
Naomi Spiro

Special Thanks
Jeff Blauvelt
David Courier
Different By Design
Peter Grant
Joel Heller
Anne Hixon
Joan Lamb
Lesley Langs
Tod Lippy
David and Ann Malmberg
David Naugle
Nora Noonan
Janet Pierson
A.J. Schnack
Spectra Film & Video
Village Voice
White Columns Gallery
Robert Williams

Music

“Honeysuckle Rose”
Written by Andy Razaf and Fats Waller
Performed by Django Reinhardt and the Quintet of the Hot Club of France featuring Stephane Grappelli
Courtesy of RCA Victor, a unit of Sony Music Entertainment
By arrangement with Sony Music Licensing

“Moonlight Serenade”
Written by Glenn Miller
Performed by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra
Courtesy of Bluebird/Novus/RCA Victor
By arrangement with Sony Music Licensing

"I'm Making Believe"
Written by Mack Gordon and James V. Monaco
Performed by The Ink Spots
Courtesy of MCA Records
Under license from Universal Music Special Markets

"Dream"
Written by Johnny Mercer
Performed by The Pied Pipers
Courtesy of EMI Records Ltd.

"We Did It Before"
Written by Tobias Friend
Performed by Clyde Lucas and His Orchestra
Courtesy of Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

This program was produced by Open Face LLC, which is solely responsible for its content.

© 2010 Open Face LLC. All rights reserved.

At screenings of Marwencol, audiences often express a fear that if the New York art world gets its claws in Mark that he could lose some of his innocence, or worse, be taken advantage of by greedy art dealers. What sorts of emotions did the film evoke for you in the end?

AWARDS

  • Independent Spirit Award
    Truer Than Fiction Award
  • International Documentary Association
    Jacqueline Donnet Emerging Filmmaker Award
  • South by Southwest Film Festival
    Grand Jury Award
  • Silverdocs (AFI Docs)
    Cinematic Vision Award
Please review our comment guidelines.
At screenings of Marwencol, audiences often express a fear that if the New York art world gets its claws in Mark that he could lose some of his innocence, or worse, be taken advantage of by greedy art dealers. What sorts of emotions did the film evoke for you in the end?