Exclusive: The film tells the story of 12,000 people who wrote a letter to a young hippie millionaire in 1970 asking for money.
In 1970, 21-year-old Michael James Brody Jr., heir to the Jelke Margarine fortune, went on television to announce that he would give $25 million to anyone who asked him for money. The event took the country by storm – Brody went viral, essentially, decades before social media was invented. He received thousands of letters, from everyone from children to the elderly, asking him for money. The fantasy project quickly went awry when it became clear that Brody didn’t have nearly as much money to give away as he had suggested, and the whole story quickly turned into a strange trivia story.
But the story is much more than Brody himself. “To Mr. Brody“, director Keith Maitland’s new documentary, explores events from a new perspective. Watch the full, exclusive IndieWire trailer, below.
Like Maitland’s previous documentary, “Tower,” the documentary draws on historical events to discuss issues that still resonate to this day. The film’s production team unearthed more than 12,000 unopened letters written to Brody asking for money. The film has the actors read these real letters and tells the story of Americans whose financial need leads them to solicit money from an eerie hippie millionaire. By shifting the focus from Brody himself to the people who wrote to him, the film opens the door to a larger conversation about the American economy in the early 1970s.
In his review from 2020 Telluride Film FestivalIndieWire’s Eric Kohn writes: “Brody is a hippie millionaire dedicated to saving the world, but he’s also a mentally ill drug addict with a Messiah complex. That conflict is still a jumble of questions 50 years later, but the enlightening documentary ‘Dear Mr. Brody’ by director Keith Maitland through a paradox, showing that the tragedy of Brody’s fate is grafted by the window into the American dream catalyzed by his offer. ”
“Dear Mr. Brody” will be shown in limited theaters at the Quad in New York City and Laemmle Monica in Los Angeles starting March 4. It also airs on Discovery+ later this year.
https://www.indiewire.com/2022/02/dear-mr-brody-trailer-1234700426/ The trailer for ‘Dear Mr. Brody’: Michael James Brody Jr Telluride Documentary