My Father, The Genius

An anti-hagiographic and bravely personal look at a visionary architect fading into obscurity, helmed by his filmmaker daughter.

Available Online: Friday, June 26 – Thursday, July 16
Director: Lucia Small
Film Details: 2002, 82 minutes, digital, color, sound, English

Suggested Ticket Price: Donate to the Brattle Theatre.

New England Legacy Film! World Premiere and prize winner at Slamdance. Official selection of IDFA, Maryland, Provincetown, NWFF, VIFF, Mill Valley.

Filmmaker Lucia Small will attend via Zoom for a Q&A with the DocYard’s Guest Curator, Abby Sun at 3 PM EST on Wednesday, July 8.

Screen the film here!

View the recorded Q&A here!

About the Film:

While forging a career as a documentary producer, Lucia Small was told by her father that he wanted her to write his biography upon his death. Glen Howard Small was a visionary architect deeply embedded in the West Coast scene before his rising stardom plummeted. Deciding to make work on her father on her own terms, Small picked up the camera and focused on Glen, his former colleagues and students, his ex-wives, her siblings, and herself in this exploration of the meaning of fame and the value of maintaining personal relationships.

A long-time Bostonian but trained outside the Cambridge schools that pioneered the personal documentary, Small’s directorial debut forges a path of her own, majestically merging the biographical, architecture theory, and the personal. Archival footage of Glen in his younger days and animation of his theoretical creations allow us to get a picture of his work without his self-propagandizing. But the heart of this film is comprised of cantankerous and illuminating interviews between Small, Glen, and all those who currently or once orbited Glen. Viewed today, My Father, The Genius still stands out for its revelations about how we choose to shape our legacies. Edited with skill and compassion by the late Karen Schmeer, who picked up a jury prize at Slamdance for her collaboration with Small. (AS)

“To Lucia Small’s credit, the film is neither a fluff piece for the architect or a bitter account of a wayward father. Instead, she has used animation, archival footage, and extensive interviews with family, friends, clients and former students to craft a humorously disconcerting film that could be about anyone’s father…”  Dianne Bates, Los Angeles Times

Lucia Small Select Filmography
One Cut, One Life (2014)
Lower Ninth Ward (2008, short)
The Axe in the Attic (2007)
My Father, The Genius (2002)