Cynthia Rockwell is blogging from the Silverdocs documentary festival in Maryland this week, and she's got a report from Penelope Spheeris' keynote speech. Spheeris got her start documenting punk and metal kids in Suburbia and the Decline of Western Civilization movies. But after ties to Lorne Michaels led to an assignment to direct the first Wayne's World movie, she got trapped on the Hollywood carousel, churning out cash-motivated crap (her resume includes Black Sheep and The Beverly Hillbillies movie ... and those are highlights). Eventually a bad drug experience led her to re-evaluate her career and life, and now she's funnelling her ill-gotten fortune back into passion projects (although, according to IMDB, one of ther most recent projects was written by and stars Tom Arnold, which is never a good sign).

As Cynthia points out, it's hard to feel sorry for a woman who's made millions of dollars, even if she had to sell out a little to do so, but Spheeris' career trajectory is a curious thing nonetheless. At any given point in time there are probably less than five name-brand female directors in Hollywood; here's one that gave up her place in the game to do what she really loves.
categories Movies, Cinematical