the art star and the sudanese twins

New Zealand | 2008 | 96 min

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Thirty African women lie face down on a white canvas. Their eyes are shut, their bodies motionless. The artist Vanessa Beecroft, makes wide, wild red paint strokes over their naked bodies. Genocide. Darfur. Jackson Pollock. VB61, Venice Biennale

the art star and the sudanese twins follows Vanessa Beecroft’s intentions to adopt orphaned twins Madit and Mongor Akot, and how this bleeds into her art and life.  Like Angelina and Madonna, Vanessa is a wealthy, white westerner intent on ‘rescuing’ third world babies.

Vanessa Beecroft is a pop star of the art world; she operates in the world of high art and high society. As New York gallerist Jeffrey Deitch states, with Vanessa there is no boundary between life and art. Alongside the adoption process she has photographed herself breast-feeding the twins, provocative work selling for E$35,000 a print.

For sixteen months we follow Vanessa as with an often brutal honesty, she exposes the truth about her life - her creative process, her struggle to keep her depression under control, her volatile relationship with her husband. Vanessa found the undernourished babies in an orphanage. She had been breastfeeding her own child prior to flying to the Sudan. Now she starts breastfeeding the twins.

Without the knowledge of her husband, Vanessa attempts to adopt the twins. In a bombed out building the father of the twins puts his thumbprint to 10 copies of an affidavit. When her husband Greg finds out about her adoption moves he is horrified. Alongside the fireworks of her personal life, we witness her artistic drive. A photo session is interrupted with a hammering on the church doors - women from the orphanage want the twins back.

the art star and the sudanese twins premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival and is released with the Sundance Institute #ArtistServices Initiative.

  • DIR Pietra Brettkelly
    SCR Pietra Brettkelly
    CAST Vanessa Beecroft, Greg Durkin, Jeffrey Deitch, Matthu Placek

    Official site