Gorman Bechard’s latest feature film, A DOG NAMED GUCCI tells the story of a 10-week old puppy named Gucci who was hung by his neck, doused with lighter fluid, and set afire. Doug James, standing on his porch nearby, heard the puppy’s cries and ran to help. He scared away the thugs and at the request of Gucci’s 15-year-old runaway owner, took the dog in for the night. Thus began a 16-year odyssey of devotion and perseverance.
Together with local legislators, Doug and Gucci would see the “Gucci Bill” passed, changing the laws in Alabama, making domestic animal abuse a felony. Gucci would go from being a survivor to a rock star, the face of animal abuse in the south. And together they proved one voice can make a difference.
“After three rock documentaries,” Bechard explains, “I felt the need to do something slightly different. I wanted to make a difference in the world. But when you spend so long on a single film it needed to be about a subject I was as passionate about as rock 'n' roll. Shortly before leaving for a vacation for our 20th anniversary, my wife Kristine shared with me a story she read online. It was the story of Gucci. After reading about Gucci, and watching the news clips, I knew this had to be my next documentary project. The day before leaving on that vacation I emailed Doug, telling him of my passion. By the time Kris and I arrived at our destination, he had already written back. He too felt it was time Gucci’s story be shared with the world.”
The film is currently in the final stages of post-production and is expected to being screening in early 2015.
It follows his third rock documentary, EVERY EVERYTHING: THE MUSIC, LIFE & TIMES OF GRANT HART, which was released on DVD and streaming media in August 2014.
Called “beautifully sad” by Peter Gerstenzang in The Village Voice, The film is 100% unfiltered, unrestrained Grant Hart. The former Hüsker Dü co-songwriter/singer/drummer welcomes you into his world, immediately addresses any Hüsker Dü reunion possibilities in an old interview, and is shown wailing behind his kit during that renowned middle-American punk band’s heyday. And that all happens before the film’s title even appears.
What follows is a revelatory exploration of a singularly unique artistic force, one whose creative career is often overshadowed by that of his former band mate, and who finally, rightfully, gets a moment in the spotlight. It’s an oral, and aural, history of Hüsker Dü’s so-called “wild one”, from his rocky family life through the formation of his most well-known band; from their bitter break-up into the musical projects that followed; from his troubled past to his hopes for the future. This is one of the most off-the-wall, yet riveting conversations that you will witness for a long time, a no-holds-barred history of rock and roll and an insider view of the music industry.
Hart is a captivating, candid subject who holds the screen as he holds forth on everything from the mismanagement of seminal label SST, his relationship with William S. Burroughs, and his new double-album take on Milton’s “Paradise Lost.” Every Everything is an insight into a piece of American musical history, through the eyes and thoughts of a truly fascinating and intellectual individual, who is arguably one of the most influential musicians in the last thirty years. And as Reed Fischer, writing in Minneapolis’ City Pages said, the film “is everything it ought to be.”
Also released on DVD and streaming media in 2014 was the second film in Bechard’s “alone trilogy,” the heart-wrenching BROKEN SIDE OF TIME.
Over a million women have modeling portfolios online. This feature tells the story of Dolce, one of the models who've made a career of it. But now 30, and tired of competing with 18-year-olds, Dolce realizes what makes her feel most alive is also killing her. Before starting a new career behind the camera, she embarks on a long road trip home, shooting with her favorite photographers one last time, and shedding her lifestyle-acquired vices along the way. Combining real photoshoots shot cinéma vérité-style with a narrative based on some very real-life adventures in front of the lens, BROKEN SIDE OF TIME is a dark, sexual glimpse into a world never before captured in a film. A world where any woman can play the role of a model, and any man can be a photographer, and where even the best of them must consider whether the fame and money is worth the cost.
Danny Phillips, writing in Blurt Magazine, said, “Broken Side of Time is a look at a journey and a destination, a glimpse at what happens when you give all yourself to something and are used, tossed aside in return. Dolce is a train wreck personified and I could not stop watching.”
Bechard’s second rock doc, WHAT DID YOU EXPECT? THE ARCHERS OF LOAF LIVE AT CAT’S CRADLE captured the influential Chapel Hill band on their 2011 reunion tour.
Writing in Music Film Web, Daniel Dylan Wray, said, “Shot over two shows in August 2011, with one of the seven cameras roaming the crowd and another in the catwalk above it, What Did You Expect? gets everything: the banging heads and fanatical sing-a-alongs; the people who don’t quite know the words but mumble along like they do; the guy who gets bumped from behind, turns with an emphatic grin to give his assailant a high five and is left hanging because the bouncing fan has already sailed off again. Concert films usually ignore the social dynamic in the audience, deeming it uncool or irrelevant, unworthy of cutting away from the band, but Bechard thrives on it, authentically capturing the reactions and relations forged within the band, within the crowd, and between the two when sharing a tight, sweaty space. Credit a great edit for that, and for the many explosive musical moments caught as well.”
The film was released on DVD and streaming media in November 2012.
His first documentary, 2011’s COLOR ME OBSESSED, A FILM ABOUT THE REPLACEMENTS, was named “one of the seven best new music docs of the year” by Rolling Stone.
Told through the eyes of fans, friends, and contemporaries, the film breaks from the traditional music documentary format of music and performances. “Not wanting to make a VH1/where-are-they-now style documentary, I decided to present the band in a more iconic way,” the director explains. “I thought, people believe in God without seeing or hearing him but rather through the passion, faith, and stories of others. After watching COLOR ME OBSESSED, I’m pretty sure music fans will believe in The Replacements in much the same way.”
Telling the band’s story was a project close to the heart for Bechard. Like many who were weaned on punk music he latched onto this brash young Minneapolis band with fervor. Dubbed “the last best band” by Spin Magazine, their live shows could be miraculous or downright disasters. Their fans, unwaveringly faithful. As critic’s darlings, their albums were wrought with angry guitars and passionate well-written lyrics that hinted at potential commercial success. Yet, somehow, the band managed to continually shoot themselves in the foot. Their relative obscurity was a motivating factor in presenting their story on film. “The Replacements should have been the next Rolling Stones,” says Bechard, who also edited, co-produced, and co-shot the film , “And to the people who loved them, I think they were.”
The 123 minute documentary is the third feature film from What Were We Thinking Films, a mini film studio that takes full advantage of the digital video revolution to produce quality motion pictures on realistic budgets. Premiering in March 2011, the film had over a hundred screenings, and was released on a deluxe 2-DVD edition and streaming media in November 2012.
Bechard’s 2009 feature, FRIENDS (WITH BENEFITS), is currently available on DVD, Huku and Amazon streaming. The eFilmCritic raved: “…an unusually charming example of a genre often plagued by mediocrity. It made me laugh, feel good, and even surprised me a couple of times, and that's what a romantic comedy is supposed to do.”
Filmed throughout the New Haven, Connecticut area, it tells the tale of Chloe and Owen, best buds since their sandbox days, who decide it’s time to blur the lines dividing friendship from relationship. Both in med school, attempting to balance the weight of their studies, his job, her band, their parents, their friends . . . their sanity . . . there’s just no time for relationships, but lots of time for the desire. Until one fateful day, a brave Owen proposes the “perfect” solution: Friends (read: no messy relationship stuff)…with benefits (read: insanely messy sex stuff). “Perfect,” that is…if the two hadn’t always been secretly in love with one another.
So what DOES happen when Chloe and Owen secretly hook up…and the rest of their tight knit group of friends finds out? The answer: complications arise. A LOT of complications. And they’re all revealed in FRIENDS (WITH BENEFITS), a tale of sexual identity, true love, and relationships redefined; a thinking person’s romantic comedy (with belly-laughs).
The 94-minute feature, which was directed, co-produced, co-written, and co-edited by Bechard, played in over twenty film festivals, winning awards such as Best Feature, Best of Fest, or Best Actress, on numerous occasions.
It followed in the footsteps of his award-winning YOU ARE ALONE, which had its World Premiere at the BROOKLYN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL in June 2005, where the film won the BEST ACTRESS award for its star, Jessica Bohl. The film which was directed, written, co-edited and co-produced by Bechard, screened in over twenty film festivals, winning numerous awards. The dark drama, which also stars Richard Brundage, takes a look at how far its characters will go to relieve loneliness, even if only for an hour. It was filmed during September and October 2004, largely at the historic Hotel Duncan in downtown New Haven, and is available on DVD, and streaming on Vimeo OnDemand.
Bechard’s last novel, UNWOUND, was published in January 2007. Writing under the pseudonym Jonathan Baine, he crafted a dark and twisted SIXTH SENSE-like thriller, which generated preorders in the six figures range.
His fourth novel, NINTH SQUARE was published in January 2002, by TOR/Forge (and reprinted in paperback in May 2003). Taking place in New Haven, the book introduces William Shute, a smart mouth detective who really always wanted to be a rock n’ roll star. But his beloved Telecaster must take a back seat, as Shute investigates the world of internet prostitution and finds himself racing against the clock to locate a young woman whom his colleagues believe to be a murderer, but whom Shute knows is just another victim . . . of the hypocrisies of the religious right.
Rave reviews are pouring in. Here's what Rick Koster in the Dallas Morning News had to say: "New Haven, Conn., doesn't exactly rank up there with New York City, LA, or southern Florida as an exotic spot for detective fiction. But in frustrated New Haven cop/wannabe rock star William Shute, author Gorman Bechard has created a compelling hero whose knowledge of and love/hate relationship with the city is a refreshing new outpost. The debut novel in the announced series is Ninth Square, in which members of the Sons of God, a religious-right sect in New Haven for a convention, start turning up dead –––– and a strong connection is established to internet pornography and online escort services. Neatly mixing social satire and procedural elements, Mr. Bechard has hit one of the early home runs of the new year."
In 2003 he directed the short film, OBJECTS IN THE MIRROR ARE FURTHER THAN THEY APPEAR, which is based on the prologue to NINTH SQUARE. Starring Darielle Gilad, as 19-year-old Yale student Midori, who works as an escort one night a week to help supplement her scholarship, OBJECTS tells of one sweltering night when things go horribly wrong in a sleazy New Haven motel room as a John attempts to turn his favorite Biblical passage into reality.
In 2002, Bechard directed and co-wrote the romantic feature-length drama, THE KISS, which starred TERENCE STAMP, ELIZA DUSHKU, BILLY ZANE and ILLEANA DOUGLAS, and went on to a long run on the Showtime Cable network.
The film version of Bechard’s short story THE PRETTY GIRL, which had its world premiere in January 2001 on the now defunct iFilm website, had gone on to become one of the most viewed films (over 675,000 views, in the time before broadband or YouTube). In part an homage to the style of the classic LA JETÉE, Bechard’s short will combine black and white photography, with narration and a musical score. The film stars Irina Gorb, is narrated by Patrick Nicholas, edited in Flash by Stephen Handwerk, and scored by Bechard and Maya Rossi.
Bechard’s first music video, HOT ROD CIRCUIT’s FLIGHT 89 (NORTH AMERICAN), has played on MTV-2 and www.ifilm.com. The video, which is comprised of 417 digital still photographs dissolved together to create a flip-book on acid effect, stars Irina Gorb as an enraged girlfriend. The video he directed for DOWN ON ME by The Trollops had racked up over to 1.5 million views on ifilm.com back in 2002.
Bechard has also made IN HER EYES, a short anti-hunting film and THIS USED TO BE MY BEAUTIFUL HOME, a short film on the plight of abandoned dogs, for the Humane Society of the United States’ www.animalchannel.net, as well as one on the animal cruelty suffered at most county fairs titled: LIVE NUDE BEARS.
His third novel, GOOD NEIGHBORS -- published in June 1998 by Carroll & Graf Publishers -- introduced Juke Miller to the mystery reading public. A former police detective, Juke, a broken and lonely man since the tragic murder of his wife, is forced to step from behind the shield of his oak bar, as tragedy once again strikes too close to home. When his best friend and neighbor, Reggie is murdered, Juke knows the case is not as open and shut as his former police colleagues seem to believe. He takes matters into his own hands, unveiling dark secrets which rock his peaceful community, forever shattering the lives of his good neighbors.
Booklist raved: "The author of two comic novels, Bechard hits the ground running with this superb first mystery---good enough, in fact, to make some of the genre's veterans look over their shoulders." While Mostly Murder said: "This melancholy look at a man's life and death breaks new ground for those who like their mysteries dark."
Bechard’s first novel, THE SECOND GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD -- published in November 1991 by Citadel Press, an imprint of the New York-based Carol Publishing Group -- is the story of the second coming. A second coming in which God, in His infinite wisdom, sends His daughter, Christ's kid sister, Ilona Ann Coggswater, to save not humanity, but the planet. (God's thinking being that by the time humanity was saved there'd be little planet left.) It is a feel good book for cynics, tackling all the big issues: Good, Evil and Rock 'n' Roll. The L.A. Times called it "a very, very funny book."
His second novel, BALLS, was published by Dutton/Penguin USA in March 1995. Taking place in the year 2000, BALLS tells the story of Louise "Balls" Gehrig's debut season as the first baseperson for the Manhattan Meteorites, a National League expansion team. From the Supreme Court ruling that grants her the right to "play ball," to the threats from psychotic fans and players alike (not to mention newly appointed baseball commissioner, Dan Quayle), to the promise from Republican Presidential nominee, Rush H. Limbaugh, that " . . . once elected, I will sign into law a bill prohibiting women from participating in Major League baseball," Louise needs every ounce of strength just to concentrate on the game she so loves. Then she meets the man of her dreams. Only problem . . . he's a pitcher for an American League team . . . the team the Meteorites will most likely face in the World Series.
Also, his short story, PIG, appeared in editor Paul Sammon's SPLATTER PUNKS II, which was published by TOR in the spring of 1995.
Bechard is also well known for the near cult classic film, PSYCHOS IN LOVE, which he directed, co-wrote, produced, edited and photographed. Just released in a deluxe edition from Media-Blasters, with four hours of extras, PSYCHOS IN LOVE is best described by a review that appeared in the monthly publication Video Times as, "...an imaginative, fun-filled, pseudo-splatter flick that is loaded with juicy and clever satire and one liners. This is a film that should be sought out." The movie also played a midnight stint at the world famous Bleecker Street Cinema in New York's Greenwich Village and was adapted into a play in July 2003 for the infamous Broom Street Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin. It is available on deluxe DVD with hours of extras, and on Amazon streaming.
Recently he has also directed three music videos for singer/songwriter Matthew Ryan: ALL HAIL THE KINGS OF TRASH, the theme song from his film of the same name BROKEN SIDE OF TIME, and the title track from Ryan’s new album BOXERS.
Next up for Bechard: PIZZA, A LOVE STORY, a new feature-length documentary in which he takes on the three greatest pizza places in the planet, Sally’s Pepe’s and Modern. He is also in development on a fourth rock doc, and another film in the world of dogs. Plus he is putting the finishing touches on a long-overdue return to the horror film genre.
Bechard is also well-known for his crowdfunding skills, having run 26 successful KickStarter campaigns since 2009. His last six features have been financed completely through crowdfunding. He has also moderated panels on the subject at film festivals such as Big Sky Documentary Festival and the CBGBs Festival.
When not working, Bechard enjoys indie rock, the TV show Survivor, the love of his dog Springsteen, the Downtown Blend coffee from Willoughby’s, and a lot of that famous brick oven apizza with Kristine, his wife of 22 years, in their hometown of New Haven, CT.