Monday, December 10, 2012
Monday, October 1, 2012
We were in the edit suite all day and want you to know that we entered an exciting new phase of this project! First off, the new title for our documentary is: Inside the Speakeasy Dollhouse and we are almost done with a rough cut! That means we have a beginning, middle and end...and somehow it all make sense.
Next, we start the process of reviewing, making a few changes, and then the finishing touches. We will keep you updated on our progress.
Inside the Speakeasy Dollhouse shaped up beautifully thanks to the additional camera work of Damian Kolodity and the amazing photography of Margee Challa.
Part of the editing process means that we watch the same footage over and over again. And no matter how often we watch the footage from the Speakeasy Dollhouse play, we are constantly impressed by the performances of the "Dolls", especially actors Russell Farhang (as Frank Spano) and Silent James (as John Guerrieri). But don't take our word for it, check out their performances for yourself.
We're thinking back to almost a year ago when we met Cynthia von Buhler and started this Kickstarter campaign. Not only do we feel so fortunate to have stepped into Cynthia's Speakeasy Dollhouse world, but we are so grateful to the many people who have supported us. We truly appreciate it.
Meanwhile, if you haven't already, check out the New York Times article on Cynthia! If you want more dolls and murder, follow our facebook page. We update quite often. In fact, we just updated about some mysterious Speakeasy doll doors springing up all over NYC.
And if you haven't yet watched Of Dolls & Murder, go to our website, Netflix streaming, iTunes, or Amazon.
Yours in Dolls, Murder & Speakeasies,
Filmmakers Susan Marks & John Kurtis Dehn
PS Check out our photos from the edit suite below.
Saturday, September 29, 2012
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Read more about Suzy and her many accomplishments here.
The mayor of Minneapolis proclaimed September 10, 2012, Suzy Greenberg Day.
I wrote a little bit about Suzy for an online memorial:
The loss of Suzy Greenberg is indescribable and will be felt for years to come. She meant so much to so many people - in and out of the arts community. And as much devastation as I feel over this indescribable loss, I feel equally lucky to have been a close friend and colleague of Suzy's.
She was the real deal and the smartest person in any room. Suzy's generosity was boundless and she inspired and motivated her fellow artists to try, just a little harder. She had great respect for artists and their work, especially young artists who were finding their way.
Suzy and I worked on several big projects together, including a documentary film about dollhouse crime scenes. She loved the film when it was just a giddy idea that she helped nurture along. We also workshopped concepts together and it was always enlightening and exciting. I would often find myself marveling at her new, brilliant ideas.
I think the best way we can honor Suzy's memory is by following her lead in generosity, creativity, and support, and by trying, just a little harder.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Sunday, July 8, 2012
We will be interviewing the executive director, William Tyre and family members for the sequel. If you have any questions you want us to ask, just let us know!
Saturday, June 2, 2012
Saturday, May 19, 2012
Monday, May 7, 2012
“Of Dolls and Murder” Baltimore Premiere
By Bruce Goldfarb
Join us June 5 at the Hollywood Theatre in Arbutus as Welcome To Baltimore, Hon! hosts the area premiere of Of Dolls & Murder an award-winning documentary by Minneapolis-based filmmaker and author Susan Marks that features the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death.
Of Dolls and Murder uses the Nutshell Studies as a springboard to explore forensic science, from CSI to the Body Farm at University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Marks also followed Baltimore City homicide detectives as they worked a case.
At the center of the documentary are the Nutshell Studies and Frances Glessner Lee, the remarkable woman who made them in the 1930s and 40s. On display at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, the hand-crafted dollhouse-size models reconstruct actual crime scenes. They were used–and still are–to train cops in an annual seminar.
John Waters loans his voice by narrating Of Dolls and Murder.
The documentary will be shown for the first time in the Baltimore area on June 5 at 7 p.m. at the Hollywood Theatre. A question-and-answer period with the filmmakers and members of the medical examiner’s office follows the filming. Tickets can be purchased in advance online for $8 and will be available at the door for $10.
Sunday, May 6, 2012
Thursday, May 3, 2012
Friday, April 27, 2012
Not Your Usual Doll House: Tiny 'CSI' Death Scenes Featured in Hollywood Theatre Premiere
Not Your Usual Doll House: Tiny 'CSI' Death Scenes Featured in Hollywood Theatre Premiere
An award-winning documentary about a unique collection of miniature death scenes and the woman who made them is slated to have its Baltimore-area premiere at the Hollywood Theatre on June 5.
Of Dolls and Murder, by Minneapolis filmmaker Susan Marks, is about the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, an unusual set of 19 dollhouse-size crime scene models at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore.
The Nutshell Studies were hand-crafted in the 1930-40s by Frances Glessner Lee, a wealthy Chicago socialite who founded a program to train police in forensic investigation. The models are still used for training to this day.
Largely based on actual cases, each model depicts death scenes in exquisite detail--with working lights, doors and windows that open and close, sweaters knitted with straight pins, and tiny hand-rolled cigarette butts in ashtrays.
Marks' documentary, narrated by John Waters, traces the emergence of forensic science into the popular mainstream through shows such as CSI, visits the Body Farm in Tennessee where researchers study the decomposition of human bodies, and follows Baltimore City cops as they respond to a homicide.
"Because of the generosity of the Baltimore City Police Department, we were able to access so much that the public doesn't get to see," Marks said.
Of Dolls and Murder won first prize at the International Thriller and Spy Film Festival in Washington, D.C., in 2010.
The film, which has never been shown in Baltimore, will make its premiere at the Hollywood Theatre at 7 p.m. on June 5. Tickets are available online for $8, or $10 at the door.
The showing will be followed by a question and answer session with Marks and others who worked on the film.
"This is like a homecoming for us," Marks said. "I'm so excited to return to Baltimore with my filmmaking team. We were so touched by how wonderfully we were treated."
Since the premiere is scheduled during the training seminar at the medical examiner's office at which the models are used, Marks said that a large number of cops from Baltimore and elsewhere are expected to attend the showing.
"A lot of people in Baltimore have been waiting a long time to see this film," Marks said.
Additional showings of Of Dolls and Murder may be scheduled if the 7 p.m. show sells out, she said.
A note of disclosure: The June 5 premiere is being coordinated in collaboration with Welcome To Baltimore, Hon!, a web site maintained by Arbutus Patch editor Bruce Goldfarb.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
As many of you know, when we finished Of Dolls & Murder we embarked on another dollhouse murder film project - documenting Cynthia von Buhler's Speakeasy Dollhouse. Cynthia, like us, was so inspired by Frances Glessner Lee that she set out - rather artistically - to solve the murder mystery surrounding her grandfather's death. We had the wonderful opportunity to film Cynthia in her studio with her own dollhouse crime scenes. And we interviewed Cynthia in her cinematic home. (Really, her home is just begging to be filmed!)
Also, we filmed an evening at Cynthia's ongoing immersive play. It was like nothing we've ever experience. The cast, audience, venue, and musicians were nothing short of amazing. You simply must experience it for yourself. Ticket info here.
Since the shoot with Cynthia, we've been pretty busy getting Of Dolls & Murder to new audiences, but lately we've had some time to edit the Speakeasy footage and it's getting pretty exciting. Look for more updates soon! Meanwhile, follow Speakeasy Dollhouse and Of Dolls & Murder on facebook.
And don't forget, Of Dolls & Murder will be screening on March 25th in Chicago at the childhood home of Frances Glessner Lee - The Glessner Museum. You must have reservations. More info here.
Monday, February 27, 2012
The Glessner House Museum, located at 1800 S. Prairie Avenue in Chicago's South Loop neighborhood, will host the Chicago premier of a feature-length documentary film entitled Of Dolls and Murder on Sunday, March 25, 2012 at 7 p.m.
The documentary, Of Dolls and Murder, explores a haunting collection of dollhouse crime scenes created by Chicagoan Frances Glessner Lee (1878-1962), a respected pioneer in the field of homicide investigation and the first female state police captain in the country. From criminally minded college students and real-life detectives, to CSI and a visit to "The Body Farm," John Waters narrates the tiny world of big time murder. Official website www.ofdollsandmurder.com.
The screening will commemorate the 134th anniversary of Frances Glessner Lee’s birthday. Filmmakers will be present to introduce the film.
Glessner House Museum is a National Historic Landmark and the last surviving work by H. H. Richardson in Chicago. Completed in 1887, the museum is recognized nationwide for its groundbreaking architecture as well as its important collection of original decorative arts.
The cost for the event is $15 per person. Reservations are required and may be made by calling 312-326-1480. The museum is easily accessible by taking the #3 or #4 bus south on Michigan Avenue to 18th Street, and then walking 2 blocks east.
Friday, February 17, 2012
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
BY SPECIAL REQUEST, AN ENCORE SCREENING!
“Of Dolls and Murder”:
A Crime Scene Dollhouse Documentary by Susan Marks-Narrated by John Waters
Tuesday February 21, 2012 7:0pm(doors at 6:30pm)
Lo Fi Coffee, 105 W. Main, Mesa, AZ 85210(street parking or Park in Rear)
$6.00 admission cash only/refreshments available for purchase
Sponsored by Loi Fi Coffee- http://loficoffee.com/
Before forensics, DNA, and CSI we had dollhouses – an unimaginable collection of miniature crime scenes, known as the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death.
Created in the 1930s and 1940s by a crime-fighting grandmother, Frances Glessner Lee created the Nutshells to help homicide detectives hone their investigative skills. These surreal dollhouses reveal a dystopic and disturbing slice of domestic life with doll corpses representing actual murder victims, or perhaps something that just looks like murder. Despite all the advances in forensics, the Nutshells are still used today to train detectives.
The documentary film, Of Dolls and Murder, explores the dioramas, the woman who created them, and their relationship to modern day forensics. From the iconic CSI television show to the Body Farm and criminally minded college students, legendary filmmaker and true crime aficionado, John Waters narrates the tiny world of big time murder.
Director, Writer, Producer-Susan Marks is a Jerome Grant recipient, award-winning independent documentary filmmaker, and screenwriter. Her first documentary film, The Betty Mystique unearths the secret life of Betty Crocker, as does her companion book, Finding Betty Crocker.
In her feature directorial début, Of Dolls & Murder, Susan explores the tiny world of big time murder through dollhouse crime scenes – the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death.