Skip to main content

devil and daniel johnston, the

USA, 2005 (MIFF 2005, Backbeat: Music on Film)

Director: Jeff Feuerzeig

devil and daniel johnston, the
According to Kurt Cobain, Daniel Johnston was the greatest songwriter on earth. Musician, cult outsider artist and manic depressive, Daniel Johnston's wild behavioural fluctuations, downward-spirals and delusions of grandeur have ensured that he remains an enigma to the music industry, but to others he is simply an unrewarded genius. As a reclusive teenager, Johnston showed signs of unusual artistic ability, creating intuitive super-8 films and expressive comic-book-style drawings in the basement of his family home. After falling out with his fundamentalist Christian family, he literally ran off to join a carnival, before landing in Austin, Texas, broke and alone. It was here that he began to hone his musical career. But just as he was making a name for himself locally, Johnston's inner demons began to take hold. Featuring interviews with Johnston and those closest to him - as well as amazing concert and home super-8 footage - [The Devil and Daniel Johnston] is a stunning portrait of this troubled artist, and the winner of the Director's Award for Documentary at Sundance.
D Jeff Feuerzeig P Henry S. Rosenthal WS Complex Corporation TD video/col, B&W/2005/109mins Jeff Feuerzeig was born in New Jersey, USA. His films are [Jon Hendricks: The Freddie Sessions] (1990), [Half Japanese: The Band that Would be King] (1994).

See also...


Generally unheralded at the time, the early 80s, hardcore punk rock scene in America gave birth to much of the rock music and culture that followed. There would be no Nirvana, Beastie Boys or Red Hot ... More »


“The good music documentaries don't begin by assuming you care; they end by making you.” - Keven McAlester ... Former music journalist, Keven McAlester, portraits one of rock ‘n' roll's most ... More »


“In this age of VH1-sponsored hyperventilating over the Doobie Brothers' legacy, it's refreshing to see a doc in which the biggest boldfaced name is Flea, who gushes over Watt and Boon's reluctance ... More »

Bound to lose

A steady diet of amphetamines has left The Holy Modal Rounders' co-founder Peter Stampfel with a nervous, Woody Allen manner that drives his partner in crime, Steve Weber, crazy. Stampfel gave away ... More »


The roots of the 1990s' grunge phenomenon lay in the melding of punk and metal into the stadium-meets-CBGB styling of bands such as Malfunkshun, Green River and Mother Love Bone. Andrew Wood ... More »


Combining punk-influenced rock with a distinctive surf sound and fronted by the off-beat vocals of Black Francis, the Pixies' eclectic style heavily influenced the alternative rock explosion of the ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director