Everybody Knows... Elizabeth Murray

by Kristi Zea. A co-production of Human Arts Association and RubyRed Productions

A determined single mother, with nothing but guts and vision, breaks through notorious art world barriers to become one of the preeminent painters of our time.

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Elizabeth Murray Portrait in her studio
Elizabeth Murray Portrait in her studio

Synopsis

Everybody Knows... Elizabeth Murray is an intimate portrait of the groundbreaking artist Elizabeth Murray. This film explores the relationship between Murray’s family life and career, and reconsiders her place in contemporary art history. Verité footage, home videos and excerpts from her journals, voiced by Meryl Streep, tell of Murray's internal struggles and incredible ambition. Exclusive interviews with art world luminaries provide the historical backdrop for the New York art scene.

Elizabeth Murray moved to New York City in 1967. In 2005, almost forty years later, Murray was the fifth woman to be celebrated with a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Everybody Knows... Elizabeth Murray traces Murray's life, from years as a struggling single mother to having a bustling, growing family and thriving career. From her early 1960’s "funk-inflected pop" to her painterly minimalism in the 70’s, and on to her dynamic fractured canvases of the 1990s and 2000s, Murray worked without hesitation through – and often in spite of – market trends, historical movements and her failing health.

Murray's paintings defy efforts at categorization. She broke convention, and made an indelible imprint on contemporary art. This film chronicles her remarkable journey from an impoverished childhood to artistic maverick, before she lost her life to cancer in 2007. Everybody Knows... Elizabeth Murray cements Murray’s legacy as one of the great painters of our time.

Credits/Bios

Kristi Zea, Director/Producer

Kristi Zea has been in the contemporary film scene for three decades. Zea has been acclaimed for her work as a production designer, costume designer and producer of major feature films. She production designed Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas (Academy Award Winner 1990), New York Stories (1989) and The Departed (Academy Award Winner 2006); Jonathan Demme's Manchurian Candidate (2004), Beloved (1998), Philadelphia (Academy Award Winner 1993), Married to the Mob (1988) and Silence of the Lambs (Academy Award Winner 1991), as well as Neil Jordan's The Brave One (2007); Brett Ratner's Red Dragon (2002); Roger Michelle's Changing Lanes (2002); Barry Levinson's Sleepers (1996); and James L. Brooks' Broadcast News (1987). Zea costume designed Fame (1980), Shoot the Moon (1982), and Terms of Endearment (1983). She was nominated for an OSCAR and a BAFTA for her production design work on Sam Mendes' Revolutionary Road (2008). Zea produced As Good As It Gets (1997) for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture and the independent film The Joneses (2009) starring Demi Moore and David Duchovny. In 1997, she was nominated for an Ace Award as director of Domestic Dilemma (1990), part of the HBO series Women and Men 2. Most recently Zea production designed the series American Odyssey for NBC and Nancy Meyer's The Intern.

Jacki Ochs, Executive Producer

Jacki Ochs is an award winning documentary filmmaker. Her films include Vietnam: The Secret Agent which was awarded Special Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival and Letters Not About Love which won the Best Feature Documentary at SXSW Film Festival. Jacki is currently producing Out of My Head, a feature documentary in post-production, about the disease migraine. She is Executive Director of the Human Arts Association, a fiscal sponsoring organization for art and media-based productions and teaches part-time as Associate Professor at Pratt Institute's Film Video department.

Caroline Goodman-Thomases, Producer

Caroline Goodman-Thomases is a New York based filmmaker and producer. She has worked for director Jonathan Demme's production company Clinica Estetico for many years, on projects including Rachel Getting Married, Neil Young Trunk Show, I'm Carolyn Parker and Ricki and the Flash. She is currently working on Mr. Demme's Justin Timberlake concert film and helping to develop projects with the director. She recently produced and directed a documentary, The Belles of Greenlee County, which premiered at the NewFilmmakers Festival at the Anthology Film Archives. She is currently in pre-production on a feature length documentary about the controversy in the East Ramapo, New York school system.

Jen Fineran, Editor/Producer

Jen Fineran is a New York-based film editor best known for intimate, non-fiction storytelling. She received an "Outstanding Editing" nomination for Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, which also won a Sundance special jury award. Her eclectic work can be seen in theaters, at film festivals and on TV. She recently edited and produced the Academy Award-winning film, I Married My Family's Killer about love and intermarriage in Rwanda. Her short documentary The Invisible World, featuring painter Mark Weiss, will premiere later this year.

Jenny Mccormack, Editor

Jenny McCormack is a New York-based film editor, experienced in all styles of editing: shorts, features, commercials, documentary and scripted. She has worked on Jonathan Demme's I Am Carolyn Parker, Geoffrey Fletcher's Violet and Daisy, Kristi Zea's Everybody Knows... Elizabeth Murray and 30 for 30 (TV series).

Madeline Warren, Producer

Madeline Warren is an Associate Director at Hauser & Wirth, the international contemporary art gallery. She began working on Everybody Knows... Elizabeth Murray in 2006, and had the privilege of spending time with Elizabeth during the last years of Elizabeth's life. This film is her first foray into documentary production.

Julia Lucas, Co-Producer

Julia Lucas is a photographer, writer and multi-media specialist often involved with film development and production. She has worked on projects directed by Martin Scorsese, Oliver Stone, Brett Ratner, Kristi Zea and Barry Sonnenfeld. Photographs she took on Tower Heist (2011) were featured in Architectural Digest online. She is a long-time meditation student of Bruce Joel Rubin, writer of Ghost. Julia is writing a transformational spiritual memoir.

Elizabeth Murray Documentary Film Poster
Elizabeth Murray Documentary Film Poster
Elizabeth Murray painting in her studio
Elizabeth Murray painting in her studio