Jonathan Berman joins BYOD to discuss his stunning features, "Commune,"
and "My Friend Paul," along with his latest project, "People of Earth."
on the Black Bear Ranch commune, as well as his bank-robbing buddy
Paul, and how the 60's have been a through line for his work, Jonathan
has a resounding sense of humor and the good natured manner of your
favorite college professor.
He shows his creative inspirations and offers advice to aspiring doc makers in this full length interview.
Berman's non-fiction feature films explore subculture and identity,
challenging how alternative people, groups and ideas are represented in
His film, "Commune," (2006), delves into a seminal 1960's
commune who ultimately discover that each person has their own idea of
utopia. The film premiered
at the Slamdance Film Festival, and played
in movie theaters, top festivals, and on the Sundance Channel and on
DVD from First Run Features.
His first directorial effort, "The Shvitz"
is a popular exploration of the last traditional American steambaths
that was supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and released
on DVD by New Video.
"My Friend Paul" (1999), his second documentary, is an edgy look at the intersection of mental illness, friendship, and crime.
current project "People of Earth," explores the legacy of George Van
Tassel and his fantastical Integratron dome near Joshua Tree,
The project uses the story to consider the how 20th
century technology intersected with belief in Southern California