SPRINGVILLE — Before entire networks were built on populist personalities; before reality morphed into a TV genre; many Americans fixated on a single star: talk show host Morton Downey, Jr. In the late 80s, Downey tore apart the traditional talk format, by turning debate of current issues into a gladiator pit. His blow-smoke-in-your-face style drew a cult following, but also the title, “Father of Trash Television.”
“Evocateur: The Morton Downy Jr. Movie” will be screened at Springville Center for the Arts on Thursday, Sept. 5 at 8 p.m. Director Daniel Miller will be in attendance, to present his film that dissects the mind and motivation of a television agitator.
Evocateur features interviews with Herman Cain, Pat Buchanan, Chris Elliott, Gloria Allred, Sally Jessy Raphael, Alan Dershowitz, Curtis Sliwa and Richard Bey. Never-before-seen footage reveals Downey’s behind-the-scenes fistfights and foibles. Animation recreates the legends of Downey, that bounce between nightmare and fantasy.
The film also features an exclusive interview with Steven Pagones, the white assistant district attorney accused in 1988 of raping black teenager Tawana Brawley. Brawley advocate Al Sharpton declined to be interviewed for the film, but there is footage of him taped during a Morton Downey Jr. Show commercial break.
Directors Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller,and Jeremy Newberger of Ironbound Films directed the Emmy-nominated documentaries “The New Recruits” and “The Linguists,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Evocateur recently premiered at Tribeca. Miller will present the film and answer questions about the production and subject, after the SCA screening.
Springville Center for the Arts is located at 37 North Buffalo St. in Springville. There is an admission charge. For more information, call 592-9038 or visit SpringvilleArts.org
. The film is rated R.