Jeremy Newberger, of Yorktown, along with two fellow area filmmakers will have their documentary film about controversial TV talk show host Morton Downey, Jr. premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival today.
Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie will be among the select films to be shown in New York City at the sold out April 19 premiere at 6 p.m., and will also be screened on April 21 (4 p.m.), April 24 (3 p.m.) and April 27 (5:30 p.m.)
"It's exciting," Newberger said. "It's a big moment when you've worked on something for four years."
Newberger, the CEO of the Garrison-based Ironbound Films, made the film with co-directors Seth Kramer of Red Hook, Daniel A. Miller of Cold Spring.
Morton Downey, Jr., a singer and songwriter who started his career in radio, became a popular talk show host in the 1980s. The success of his talk show The Morton Downey Jr. Show made him a pop culture celebrity. He is best known as a "chain smoking" and "screaming" arguer. He died in 2001.
"We wanted it to be a real look into his mind," Newberger said of the 90-minute film. "Show the populist entertainer and his motivations, what made him tick, what affects it had on his personal life when putting on that role."
The three filmmakers, who grew up in the suburbs of New Jersey and Long Island, watched the The Morton Downey Jr. Show as teenagers in the late 80s. They were the young impressionable generation, Newberger said, that was "eating it up" and having conversations about issues they otherwise might not have discussed if it wasn't for Downey Jr.
The 80s sensation, Newberger said, is the precursor of today's talking heads on Fox News as well as screaming Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.
To create Évocateur, the filmmakers got a hold of old tapes that were kept in storage by Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman – the man who created the The Morton Downey Jr. Show. They interviewed Downey Jr.'s friends and family to tell the story of his life on and off camera and give people a sense of who he was.
"I'm really thrilled with how the film came out," Newberger said.
The filmmakers hope the audience will figure out why such populist entertainers are so magnetic and then understand their importance. Their past documentaries include two Emmy Award nominated films – The New Recruits, which aired on PBS and The Linguists, which which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
Newberger, who lives in Yorktown with his wife Michele and their two kids, Samson and Annabelle, has also worked as a producer and on-air contributor to the Imus in the Morning television program on MSNBC.
For tickets to the Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie screening and more information call 866-941-3378 or visit www.tribecafilm.com.
Click on the video above to watch the official trailer of Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie.
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