Feels Good Man
October 19, 2020
Arthur Jones and Giorgio Angelini
Chronicles the surreal story of Pepe the Frog’s journey from laid-back cartoon character to registered hate symbol.
EXPLORE THE FILM
About the Documentary
Feels Good Man is the story of how artist Matt Furie, creator of a trippy, once-benign comic character named Pepe the Frog, fought an uphill battle to reclaim his iconic creation from those who turned it into a symbol of hate. An exploration of the power of online imagery and the fascinating spin cycle of memes in a culture where ownership and meaning can be wrested away from creators, Feels Good Man is a thought-provoking, wild ride through an Internet that transformed an unlucky cartoon frog, and then the rest of the world.
Created by Furie as a character in his comic Boy’s Club, Pepe was originally an embodiment of the laid-back lifestyles of young male college graduates finding their footing in the real world. After popping up in meme form on various fitness blogs, Pepe eventually started appearing on the anonymous online message board 4chan, where his image was quickly replicated and adopted as a symbol of misfits everywhere.
Feels Good Man follows Pepe’s surreal journey of being co-opted and twisted into an image of hate by extreme online communities through the eyes of his horrified creator, who finds himself increasingly powerless to stop this co-optation as it spirals out of his control. The film asks the questions: Does anyone truly own anything on the internet? Can an image that has been transformed into one of hate be transformed once again into one of hope?
Feels Good Man is Arthur Jones’s directorial debut, but he’s uniquely suited to tell the story. He’s a cartoonist who came up in the same indie comics scene as the film’s subject, Matt Furie. Jones published a book of his illustrations in 2011: Post-it Note Diaries. Over his career, his art-directed animation and motion graphics for journalists and documentary filmmakers, working with companies including The New York Times, VICE, The Center for Investigative Reporting and The International Consortium of Journalists.
Giorgio Angelini came into film from a longer, multi-faceted career in the creative arts. After touring in bands like The Rosebuds and Bishop Allen for much of his 20s, Giorgio enrolled in the Masters of Architecture program at Rice University during the depths of the 2008 real estate collapse. It was during this tumultuous time that the seeds for Giorgio’s directorial debut, OWNED: A Tale of Two Americas began to take shape. Giorgio launched a production company, Ready Fictions, in 2019 with producing partner Arthur Jones.
Sundance Film Festival
Special Jury Award for Emerging Filmmaker
Sundance Film Festival
Grand Jury Prize Documentary (Nominee)
Big Sky Documentary Film Festival
Best Documentary Feature Special Mention
Lighthouse International Film Festival
Learn more about the documentary
From Kilroy to Pepe: A Brief History of Memes
How a Cartoon Frog Became a Symbol for a "Confounding Moment in Our History"
Join the Discussion
Were you familiar with the Pepe the Frog character or image before watching this documentary? Do you have any other favorite art or characters who were misappropriated by others from its original meaning? Do you believe our culture is driven by memes?Comments