While 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.”
Powers discusses Bez’s future role in STF.