WINNER: SUNDANCE SPECIAL JURY AWARD FOR EDITING
Many folktales have been woven out of the plentiful yarn provided by the dustbowl of early 20th-century America. From Franklin D. Roosevelt to Howard Hughes, the Great Depression was full of the colourful characters that inhabit our modern myths. Somewhere along the way though, John R. Brinkley was forgotten, despite arguably having the strangest story of them all. Brinkley started out as a down-on-his-luck doctor, travelling around the United States practicing “Eclectic Medicine” during the 1910s, to little financial avail. When he came across the now forgotten town of Milford, Kansas, though, his life took a dramatic turn thanks to, well, goat nuts. Specifically, Brinkley pioneered a technique to treat (human) male impotence through the grafting of goat testicles onto existing anatomy. This rather unusual surgery catapulted Brinkley to fame. Only a few years later, Brinkley founded the KFKB radio station, and became a pioneer in media advertising when he used it to promote his goat gland practice. His popular radio show became the launching pad for a political campaign waged against the government, and medical officials skeptical of his practices. But did Brinkley deserve the empire he created, or were his political opponents right to label him as nothing more than a quack?
DOXA alumna Penny Lane (Our Nixon) energetically captures Brinkley’s life in all of its stranger-than-fiction glory in her latest film, Nuts!. Whimsical animation and almost equally quirky stock recordings take viewers on a fascinating ride that will surely leave a bigger smile on their faces than a swig of one of John Brinkley’s virility tonics. -CP