A sharp-witted hard look at contemporary culture entering the intriguing world of Termite Art where film critic and painter Manny Farber coined the term “Underground Films”, revealed movies as a popular art form, and celebrated American Action Paintings. In today’s era of social media and film streaming, the film encourages viewers to contest celebrity glamour, theme park-styled art, thumbs up/down reviews, critics as cheerleading publicists, and cinema closures.

Throughout his life, Manny Farber worked hard to understand the experience of the modern image in contemporary visual culture. As a revered writer, film critic and innovative painter, his career intersected with defining moments throughout American culture.

Into the Underground is a feature-length essay documentary exploring the many sides of Farber’s work and life. In the decade since his passing, Farber’s artwork and writings have become the focus of renewed interest and a tool of dissent in our current cultural landscape. He has been embraced by a new generation of critics and artists as they engage their audiences amidst the ever-changing digital world.

Read Manny's Writings Discover Manny's Paintings Watch Clips from the film

Hear from those who knew him best

We have conducted interviews with filmmakers Paul Schrader and Fernando Trueba as well as film critics Kent Jones and Robert Polito, French writer Serge Toubiana of Cahiers du Cinéma, and curator Helen Molesworth. In the coming months, we plan to interview additional writers, filmmakers, and artists who have been inspired by Manny’s work.

Meet the Cast

Travel with Manny

From Paris, New York City & La Jolla to his hometown of Douglas, Arizona

The filmmaking team traveled along side Manny Farber as he shared thoughts on his work, struggled with the purpose of criticism and painting, and exposed the personal and professional detours in his life that crisscrossed many chapters of visual expressions in the 20th Century.

Meet the Filmmakers
Manny Faber Travel

I think there is very much a relationship between Farber's writing and Farber's painting. I think he started as an essayist, and I think the paintings are essayistic, and I think he started this idea in the writing, of Termite Art.

Helen Molesworth - Art Curator

No other film critic has ever written so inventively or flexibly from inside the moment of a movie.

Robert Polito - Farber on Film Editor

The crowing cock of individual interpretation: the very bedrock of modern film criticism. In the beginning was Manny Farber.

Paul Schrader - Screenwriter

Feature-length Documentary

Your tax-deductible contribution will help the documentary team complete INTO THE UNDERGROUND© with the goal of releasing the movie the following year at film festivals, theatrically and on network, streaming and pay-per-view platforms.

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