imageWhile much of the documentary world was distracted by the Sundance Film Festival, Stranger Than Fiction stealthily announced the new talent acquisition of Bez Powers Neihausen, a manchild born on Jan 23, 2010 at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan. The deal was handled by STF executive director Raphaela Neihausen in a negotiation that began at 5:30 am and was concluded at 3:55 pm.

“Bez demonstrates that the year’s best discoveries aren’t necessarily happening in Park City,” said STF artistic director Thom Powers, who fathered the deal.

The infant is named after Raphaela’s paternal grandfather Bezalel Neihausen.

“We’ve been strategizing on this acquisition for a long time,” said Powers, “and Raphaela was nothing short of heroic in the final push to get it completed.” During the intense negotiations, she was heard to make profuse and uncharacteristic use of profanity. She shocked onlookers by declining drugs. “I guess THE BUSINESS OF BEING BORN made an impression on her,” said Powers.

Rumors of a new STF acquisition began swirling a week ago at the Cinema Eye Honors where Raphaela appeared in a gag video looking very pregnant. Discussion escalated at the Jan 19 STF Q&A of RUNNING FENCE where filmmaker Albert Maysles expressed his long held desire to film a childbirth. He was hoping to sell the footage as a Kleenex commercial. Gesturing to the STF audience, he noted, “there’s a pregnant woman in the audience tonight.”

“That’s my wife,” said Powers, the moderator. In subsequent days, industry observers speculated over potential filming of the event. “Maysles or [Fred] Wiseman?” asked Dustin Smith of Roadside Attractions. “If you go with Wiseman, that labor would be crazy long.”

Ultimately, the deal remained shrouded in privacy due to Lenox Hill’s policy of no video-taping. “When it comes to family documentation,” Powers said, “we’re not ready to compete with Doug Block or Nina Davenport.”

image Sorry, Al.
imageRaphaela with super doula Meghan Mahar (of Birthday Presence), in between contractions. It wasn’t always this pretty. In fact, you could say this photo is grossly misleading.
image Bez Powers Neihausen, a few minutes after signing on with STF.

image Powers discusses Bez’s future role in STF.

image I love this woman!

  • Carolina


  • Rabbi Eva Goldfinger

    What do you mean ‘uncharacteristic’ profanity.  Don’t be fooled by that sweet face smile.  Bez looks like he’s saying “Thank you very much, but I would have preferred the warmth and comfort of ‘inside’ rather than being forced to endure the cold wintry American weather.  Ah, but in the last two photos he seems more reconciled and perhaps comforted by being embraced in dad’s arms and snuggling up against mom’s warm breasts.

    What an amazing production!  Hope you will reap lots of benefit from your work…..

    Looking forward to seeing you in Toronto (I hope) later this year.

  • Dima, Anastasia and Nica

    Congratulations! Having recently concluded similar negotiations, albeit with the use of drugs (on the part of the father of the deal), we are glad to hear that yours was successful and not especially protracted, though, it probably did not seem that way at the time.

    Congratulations to Thom, Raphaela, Bez and the Powershausen families!!!Wishing you health, quick recovery and the occasional bit of sleep.

  • Cristina and Dominique

    What a production!!!!!
    Without a doubt the best STF experience! Besos to both and congratulations!!!!

  • Shelley Powers

    What a cutie! (no Thom, I was talking about Bez)This newest little addition is oh-so-lucky to be on board with a such great team.  Welcome Bez!!

  • Daphne :0)

    What a beautiful baby!!

  • Kyla Dunn

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!! What wonderful news! Welcome to the world, Bez! Well, if you’re not ready to compete with Nina Davenport on the home-documentation front, maybe you could just do a Nikita Mikhalkov and film him once a year on his birthday! smile xoxo

  • ale and danish

    !!congratulations to the powershausen clan!!  fantastic work on the delivery, rafferty of my heart!  can’t wait to meet Bez soon

  • Annemarie Jacir

    Congratulations to both of you!! Wonderful news! Mabrook!!

  • Mark Crilley

    Congratulations, Thom and Raphaela. That lucky little guy’s got an incredible life ahead of him guaranteed, courtesy of two of the coolest parents he could’ve hoped for.—mark

  • Teri

    You used the BEST Doula in all of Brooklyn. Congrats on the birth !

  • Heidi and John Hood

    Pleased to meet you Bezalel!
    You brought your charms into a really terrific family…AND you sure will woo your singing Grandmother.
    We wish all of you lots of love and hugs!

  • Erin Donovan

    Too cute! Congratulations to your family smile

  • Maureen O’Shea

    Congratulations and Best Wishes Welcome Bez

  • Grandma and Pappa Powers (Thom’s mom and dad)

    We sit here with tears streaming down our faces as we first see our beautiful grandson, Bez, held by his daddy and mommy.
    How blessed you are, Thom and Raphaela, and both families too, to have this precious gift of life in our midst.  We laughed out loud when we saw the doula’s name was Meghan, the very Irish name we’d chosen had a second daughter been added to our family of Thomas, Patrick, Jr and Maureen. And so the greatest journey ever begins for Bez and his parents.

    With hearts bursting with joy and gratitude to God, we send you our love.

  • Uncle PJ

    Congrats, bro and sis! Such a beautiful baby. Shelley and I can’t wait to see him in NY in a few weeks.

    Is it true that there is a bidding war for the Director’s Cut of the Bris?

  • Anna Kreditor

    Raphaela looks beautiful and glowing:) Great job, guys:)

  • roger Berkowitz

    Welcome Bez! And Mazel Tov to your parents. WE can’t wait to see all of your joyous faces in person


  • Joe Terrasi

    Tremendous! Congrats.

  • Maria Luise

    I have a feeling……. that Bez was already very present at our lunch last Sunday and – even more so -in the afternoon.
    Please come soon to the farm and stay long!

    ML and Horst

  • Nina Davenport

    i love the name!!!!!!!
    so feminist too!!!!
    can’t wait to meet him!!!
    jasper loves him already.

  • Alex T

    Dear Bez,

    Mazel tov! You couldn’t have picked a finer pair of parents to, er, represent you. Or to develop you? Make you manifest, express you—whatever they did, Powers and Raphaela did it beautifully! We can see that you’re a serious fellow, but we do hope you take the time to savor these first few days.

    I’m so excited for you both, you all three, and I can’t wait to see you. Congratulations and love.

  • Helen Leis

    Raphaela and Thom—Congrats and so glad everyone is doing well!  Can’t wait to meet Bez and welcome him to the world—enjoy your precious miracle!


  • Brian Geldin

    Congratulations Raphaela and Thom! Will Bez be moderating the next Q&A smile

  • Suni and Stephan

    We are absolutely thrilled for you three.

    Welcome to the world little Bez—many kisses await you.

    Suni and Stephan

  • Jeanne

    Congratulations! So much has happened since I was first introduced to you two. I can’t imagine two better parents for this lucky boy.


  • Ry

    A big big congrats!!
    I look forward to meeting him.

  • Andrew Rossi

    So cute! Congrats!

  • Russ Baker

    Marvelous accomplishment! My best to baby, mother, and father. Also my nomination for “best press release.”

  • Stella Fitingof

    Welcome Bez!  Warm congratulations to your parents Raphaela and Thom, and the PowerHousen families!

    Being a parent requires a sense of humour.  I would like to share with you a wonderful editor’s message from a Toronto parent magazine.  It goes like this:

    A parent’s job description, if it was advertised:

    Parents Wanted – Apply Within:
    Long-term team players needed for challenging permanent work in a chaotic environment.  Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work days, evenings, weekends and 24-hour shifts on-call.

    The rest of your life!  Must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily, until someone needs $5.  Also, must possess the physical stamina of a buck mule and go from 0 – 60 mph in 3 seconds flat, in case screams are not someone crying wolf.  Must maintain character and coordinate homework projects.  Must be willing to be indispensible one minute and embarrassed the next.  Must assume final; complete accountability for the quality of the end product.

    Possibilities for advancement:
    None!  Your job is to remain in the same position for years, constantly updating your skills without complaining.

    None!  You pay them.  A balloon payment is due when they turn 18, of the assumption that college will help them become financially independent. When you die, you give them whatever is left.

    While no health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays, and no stock options are offered, this job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth, unconditional love, lots of laughter, and free hugs and kisses.

    Raphaela and Thom, you are obviously up for the job!  Mazel Tov!

    All our love,

    Stella, Kobi and Eitan

  • James Longley

    How wonderful! The world is already a better place. Congratulations, Thom and Raphaela!

  • Irina Konon

    The fruit of creation of your love that you have for one another is the perfect joy of having that baby boy cuddling warmly in your arms. Congratulations on the birth of your baby boy, BEZALEL!!)

    My Best wishes!

  • Debraj Ray

    Dearest Thom and Rafaela

    Warmest congratulations!

    Thom, your fathering an infant truly puts this event in the STF category. (You would probably respond that it’s Bezness as usual.)

    Much love to both of you and Bez.


  • Zeva (mother of twins)

    Congratulations Thom and Raphaela!
    He’s beautiful and best of all—he’s only one!

  • Veronica Velez-Burgess

    felicitaciones! i hope our boys can meet one day soon!

  • Ilona & Andy Mack

    Congratulations to you all – what wonderful news! And big big CHAPEAU for doing it all without silly interventions and drugs!!!

    Welcome to the beautiful exciting world, Bez!

    Lots of love from London

  • Helen Erlich and Barry Razmov & Families – Thorn

    Mazel Tov !!!!!!  We are all very excited by this wonderful news. Way to go Raphaela and Thom. We know that your parents, grandparents and all family members are elated. We look forward to seeing you in Toronto later this year.

    Best wishes !!

  • Auntie Marianna


  • Amelia Hanibelsz

    What a brilliant article and an even more brilliant ending !!!

    Can not wait to see you both and I am so very happy for you – congratulations .This is very exciting !!!

    STF Groupie and Filmmaker

    amelia oxoxoxoxo

  • Almudena Carracedo

    Raphaela and Thom, CONGRATULATIONS!!! What a beautiful baby. It’s so awesome, just 9 months of production… 20 years of distribution though!

    We’re next in the production pipeline -hoping for an equally auspicious premiere!

    Our best wishes,

    Almudena and Robert

  • Jennifer

    Mazel Tov!

    I remember reading a story in religious school in the ‘70’s about a kid with that name (the gentile teacher wanted to call him Butch or Buzzy), but google-fu is failing me as to who wrote it.

  • Theresa Loong

    Dear Thom and Raphaela,

    I love the blog post and the photos!  I was distracted by my first visit to Sundance (spectating and meeting folks) and arrived home to read about the great news.

    Congratulations and best wishes.


  • Madlena

    My warmest congratulations, Raphaelochka! Molodetz!
    Your new Commander in Chief is great! Lots of joy, happiness and strong health for little Bez and his wondrful parents!
    Very happy for you,
    Madlena, Dima Kroshka’s mum.

  • Elizabeth Westrate

    Standing ovation. Much love to you.

  • Dusty

    BEZ!!! Congratulations Thom and Mrs. Thom! I have indeed been lost in the Sundance fog, but this is definitely the best news of the week. Very cool. Wishing you the best of luck and at least a little sleep.


  • Howard Weinberg

    And the winner for the best photo layout and script introducing a new actor with superb supporting roles for his parents…Bez!  Congratulations! —Howard

  • Gita Pullapilly

    Congratulations! What a gorgeous addition to the family!

  • Matt Smith

    Beautiful baby!  I hope the furniture is ready.  Can’t wait to meet Bez.

    Matt, Alicia and family

  • Pat Aufderheide

    Congratulations on the cutest baby ever and pretty much the best baby announcement too! Enjoy every minute!

  • Roli Chaturvedi

    Congratulations once again !!
    This is the most unusual and a beautiful welcome note…would love to see him sometime.

  • Birender & Kulvir

    Wow,  how amazing.  Congrats to the whole family!!  Bez is adorable.  Hold him tight, because he is going to grow up before you know it.  We loved the announcement.  Can’t wait for regular updates.  Hope to catch up with you guys in the summer.  All our love,

  • Johanna Samuel

    Congratulations!!!! So happy for both of you- Love, Johanna