Ten years after that fateful day when Dan Rybicky and Aaron Wickenden stumbled onto a disheveled old man drawing pastel portraits at 2006 Whiting Pierogi Fest, Rybicky and Wickenden’s film about the life and art of Peter Anton, Almost There, is streaming for free on PBS’s website. The free streaming lasts until August 6.
You can also now purchase Almost There on DVD for a reduced pre-order price of just $19.99 before July 25. This special edition offer comes with a bevy of extra features including deleted scenes, a video update on what has been going on in Peter’s life after the documentary, and is housed inside a beautiful interlocking cardboard package with no plastics or adhesives used.
Aaron and Dan have made a special video update on what Peter has been up to since the film was completed, which can also be viewed on the PBS Indies site.
If you want to get a chance to see the film in a theater, there will also be an upcoming screening of the film and a panel discussion on July 30 at 5pm with the co-directors in person at INTUIT-The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, where Peter Anton had his first art exhibition back in 2010. Get details.
The film reaches into the tumultuous past, present, and future life of an outsider artist who literally lives and breathes his art, residing in the basement of a decrepit house with no heat or electricity, rotting floorboards, and the detritus of a chaotic life precariously stacked to the ceiling. But for the filmmakers, Anton’s home is a treasure trove, a startling collection of unseen and fascinating paintings, drawings, and notebooks, not to mention Anton himself, a character worthy of his own reality TV show. Though aging, infirm, cranky, and solitary, Anton also is funny and utterly resilient. The film’s remarkable journey follows a gifted artist through startling twists and turns. By its quietly satisfying ending, Almost There has provided enough human drama for a season of soap operas, plus insights into mental illness, aging in America, and the redemptive power of art.
After checking out the film and becoming enamored and strangely mesmerized with the unchecked charm of Peter Anton, you can head over to Pierogifest in Whiting Indiana from July 29th-31st where you can see Peter Anton himself, painting portraits, in what he is claiming will be his last year attending, in the same tent where this journey began ten years ago.
Almost There was nominated for the 2016 Cinema Eye Honors Spotlight Award, with its star, Peter Anton, named one of the year's "unforgettable" documentary subjects. The film world premiered at DOC NYC 2014, and was an audience favorite at True/False 2015 and in its international premiere at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2015. It has been honored with a Special Jury Award at the Sarasota Film Festival for "complex hands-on storytelling" and a Special Jury Award at Indie Memphis for "Visionary Storytelling." It also won the Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award at the Geneva Film Festival and the Audience Award at 2015 EBS International Documentary Festival (EIDF) in South Korea, before being broadcast on PBS in summer 2016.
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