On April 8, 2000, Mark Hogancamp was attacked outside of a bar in Kingston, NY, by five men who beat him literally to death. Revived by paramedics, Mark had suffered brain damage and physical injuries so severe even his own mother didn’t recognize him. After nine days in a coma and 40 days in the hospital, Mark was discharged with little memory of his previous life.
Unable to afford therapy, Mark decided to create his own. In his backyard, he built Marwencol, a 1/6th scale World War II-era town that he populated with dolls representing his friends, family and even his attackers. He used the small dolls and props to redevelop his hand-eye coordination, while he dealt with the psychic wounds from his attack through the town’s many battles and dramas.
After a few years, Mark started documenting his miniature dramas with his camera. Through Mark’s lens, these were no longer dolls; they were living, breathing characters in an epic WWII story full of violence, jealousy, longing and revenge. And he (or rather his alter ego, Captain Hogancamp) was the hero.
When Mark’s stunningly realistic photos are discovered and published in an art magazine, his homemade therapy suddenly becomes “art,” forcing Mark to make a choice between the safety of his fictional town and the real world he’s avoided since his attack.
Shot over the course of four years, Jeff Malmberg’s documentary intertwines the dual realities of Mark Hogancamp to tell the whole story of Marwencol; a surprising tale of love, secrets, pain, and adventure.
Following the screening, film subject Mark Hogancamp and co-author/film producer Chris Shellen will be doing a post-screening Q&A and signing of the new book “Welcome to Marwencol.”