Making Good in Michigan
Ben Steinbauer and Bob Byington nab prizes at the Traverse City Film Festival
By Kimberley Jones,
3:35PM, Tue. Aug. 4, 2009
A couple of weeks back, we wrote about two Austin fimmakers, Bob Byington and Ben Steinbauer, who were going up to Michigan to show their films at Michael Moore's annual Traverse City Film Festival. Well, now, all hail the conquering heroes: Both Bob and Ben nabbed prizes at the event, with Bob receiving the Stanley Kubrick Award for Bold and Innovative Filmmaking, Fiction Film, for his films Registered Sex Offender and Harmony and Me, and Ben taking home the Founders Prize for Best Comedy Documentary for Winnebago Man.
Spout's Karina Longworth attended their panel on Comedy, American Style up in Traverse, and she had this to say about it:
"An overarching theme of the panel was that things that you’re not supposed to joke about make the best fodder for jokes. Moore recalled an early writing meeting on his show TV Nation, in which he made a list of a number of taboo subjects — the Holocaust, the death penalty — and set his staff to work turning each into comic theater. A similar impulse underlined Byington’s RSO, which screens here tonight and tomorrow. “I couldn’t believe that no one had ever made a film about a sex offender,” he said. “I thought, if you just followed a guy through all the stuff he had to do after getting out of prison, you couldn’t miss.”