Strange Culture Directed by Lynn Hershman Leeson, 2006
In this moving and wildly innovative film, director Lynn Hershman Leeson tells the terrifying true story of how one man’s personal tragedy turns into persecution by a paranoid and overzealous government.
Steve Kurtz’s nightmare began on May 11, 2004, when he awoke to find his wife Hope dead of a heart attack. Police responding to his distressed 911 call became suspicious of scientific paraphernalia in his house (materials for an art project on genetically modified food) and contacted the FBI. Soon his world was turned upside down. Only hours after his wife’s tragic death he was suddenly a murder suspect, an accused bioterrorist, and a pariah to all but his closest friends.
Told through a unique blend of interviews, documentary footage, and reconstructed scenes starring Tilda Swinton, Thomas Jay Ryan, and Peter Coyote, Hershman’s critically-acclaimed film is a sophisticated, look at how the traumatic events of 9/11 altered American society and undermined its long-held values.
Crew:Steven Beer (producer), Lisa Swenson (producer), Hiro Narita (cinematographer)
"Strange Culture ingeniously marries medium to message, resulting in a provocative and often unsettling cinematic hybrid... Hershman Leeson deserves praise not only for bringing an important and little-known chapter of American civic life to light, but for doing so in a wholly new and vibrant way."
- The Washington Post