Director Miranda Yousef discusses Art for Everybody

May 23, 2023 A Documentary Series Screening in LA

Both celebrated and disparaged for his kitschy signature settings, the “Painter of Light” Thomas Kinkade rocketed to popularity in the ‘90s by marketing himself to American evangelicals and pitting himself against the elite art establishment. Yet beneath the pristine public persona were demons that would drive him to alcoholism, scandal, and death from an overdose in 2012. After his passing, Kinkade’s daughters uncovered a trove of unseen, unexpectedly dark paintings, a discovery that launched an investigation into their father’s true personality.

Through the voices of skeptical critics, adoring fans, and Kinkade’s closest friends and family, Miranda Yousef’s debut documentary, Art for Everybody, peels back the layers of Kinkade’s facade, delivering a portrait of a complex man divided by the same forces that continue to pull us apart as a nation.

On May 23, following the DGA Special Projects Documentary Series screening in Los Angeles, Yousef sat down with Documentary Series Subcommittee Chair Ondi Timoner (Mapplethorpe) to discuss the making of the film.

During the conversation, Yousef spoke about her creative process of applying her skills and expertise as an Editor in her debut as a feature-length documentary filmmaker. “Because so much of the film was archival material — we had hundreds of hours of videotape, hundreds and thousands of photographs, and hundreds and thousands of art works — I think I was able to rely on my editorial knowledge of in order for it to not be so daunting. [I said] ‘We are going to put processes in place to filter all this material and we can just work with it.' And that is how it all boiled down.”

Art for Everybody had its world premiere at the 2023 SXSW Film Festival. Prior to directing the film, Yousef worked as an Editor on numerous projects including documentary features such as Christopher Burke’s No Ordinary Campaign and Danny Alpert, Greg Jacobs and Jon Siskel's No Small Matter; and episodes of Bling Dynasty and American Masters. She also won the 2008 DGA Student Film Award for Best Woman Student Filmmaker - West Coast, for her short film, Collectibles.

Yousef became a DGA member in 2022.


Q&A photos by Elisa Haber – Print courtesy of Tremolo Productions

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