Date: Monday, October 10, 2016

Time: 7PM

Location: Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA

Director: Penny Lane

Film Details: 79 min, 2016, United States, color, DCP

Film Website | Facebook Event | Tickets

Director Penny Lane will attend in person for discussion with Erin Trahan, film journalist and Editor of the Independent. Feature preceded by a selection of Penny Lane’s short films.

Total program length: 108 minutes + Q&A

Synopsis: NUTS!  is a feature length documentary about Dr. John Romulus Brinkley, an eccentric genius who built an empire in Depression-era America with a goat testicle impotence cure and a million watt radio station.

Using animated reenactments, interviews, archival footage, and a hilariously unreliable narrator, NUTS!  traces Brinkley’s rise from poverty and obscurity to the heights of celebrity, wealth and influence in Depression-era America.

Along the way, he transplants tens of thousands of goat testicles; amasses an enormous fortune; is (sort of) elected Governor of Kansas; builds the world’s most powerful radio station; invents junk mail, the infomercial, the sound-truck and Border Radio; hosts some epic parties; and annoys the heck out of the establishment, until finally his audacious actions force the federal government to create regulations to stop him.

How he does it, and what happens when it all comes crashing down, is the story of NUTS!

“Playful, alive, inventive, and fun … a sharp examination of a media-savvy figure with an outsized personality…” – Film Comment

“An ingenious mixture of archival documents and animation that is zany, corky, informative, entertaining, and manages to surprise us til the end.” – Senses of Cinema

“A wildly entertaining piece of animated nonfiction, blending tall tale and courtroom documentary for a folk tale that can be viewed as much about modern charlatans as the specific subject of the film.” – NonFics


Prior to this feature screening, the DocYard will present the following short films by the filmmaker:

How to Write an Autobiography (2010, 4 min, digital file)

This video will teach you how to write your own autobiography, with examples from the narrator’s life.

Men Seeking Women (2007, 4 min, digital file)

A random survey of personal ads one night on Craigslist opens up performative possibilities for a corporate tool.

She used to see him most weekends (2007, 4 min, digital file)

A short story about growing up, a certain love song, and the apocryphal memories of childhood. Simple animations create a picture book whose story is scrambled by time and loss.

The Voyagers (2010, 17 min, digital file)

In the summer of 1977, NASA sent Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 on an epic journey into interstellar space. Together and alone, they will travel until the end of the universe.

Filmmaker Bio:

Penny Lane is an award-winning nonfiction filmmaker who was named one of Filmmaker Magazine‘s “25 New Faces of Independent Film” in 2012. Her most recent film NUTS! premiered at Sundance 2016, where it won a Special Jury Award for Editing. It has since been included in numerous other film festivals such as Hot Docs, Full Frame, Ashland, Maryland, Cleveland, Sarasota and BAFICI. It opens in select theaters this summer, beginning at Film Forum on June 22.

Her debut feature-length documentary OUR NIXON world premiered at Rotterdam 2013, had its North American premiere at SXSW, won the Ken Burns Award for “Best of the Festival” at Ann Arbor, and was selected as the Closing Night Film at New Directors/New Films. The film is in wide distribution, and has aired on CNN, ARTE France, and many other television outlets worldwide. Penny’s films have also screened at AFI FEST, Antimatter, IMPAKT, Images Festival, Oberhausen, FLEX FEST, Hot Docs, Full Frame, Rooftop Films, MoMA’s Documentary Fortnight and many other venues.

Penny has been awarded grants from Creative Capital, Cinereach, TFI Documentary Fund, Jerome Foundation, LEF Foundation, NYSCA, Experimental Television Center, IFP and Puffin Foundation. She was named “Most Badass!” at the Iowa City Documentary Film Festival in 2009.