Screened as part of NZIFF 2008

The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins 2008

Directed by Pietra Brettkelly

NZer Pietra Brettkelly's Sundance-acclaimed portrait of controversial art world star Vanessa Beecroft as she attempts to adopt Sudanese twins. "Brutally honest." — LA Times

New Zealand In Dinka, English and Italian with English subtitles
98 minutes DigiBeta


Jacob Bryant


Irena Dol


Anika Moa


Vanessa Beecroft
Greg Durkin
Jeffrey Deitch
Lia Rumma
Matthu Placek
Alexa Hoyer


Sundance, Edinburgh 2008


New Zealand filmmaker Pietra Brettkelly’s Sundance-acclaimed documentary provides an intimate and revealing encounter with Vanessa Beecroft, a compulsively visible art-world performer and provocateur whose recent works frame western responses to the tragedy in Darfur. We meet her in South Sudan working on the now notorious portrait of herself as the Madonna breastfeeding baby Sudanese twins. She is also fighting a legal battle to adopt these supposed orphans. Brettkelly, who’d never heard of Beecroft until they met in Sudan, was chosen by the artist to make a film that would explore the concept of ’performance’ as it might apply to her private life. Though we’re privy to some awesome displays of egotism from Beecroft, the tone of the film is one of intrepid curiosity, not exposé. The portrait of an artist in whom life and art and privilege are indissolubly merged is fascinating, utterly of our time, and bound to provoke many arguments. — BG