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He was influenced by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. after reading Breakfast of Champions in high school.
In 1981, Bechard took a course on director Alfred Hitchcock at the New School for Social Research in New York City, and shortly thereafter found himself studying 16mm film production and taking uncredited courses part time there.
1983, Bechard shot his first feature film, Disconnected, while still studying film in New York City. Made on a budget of $40,000 and filmed in his native Waterbury, it was a creepy take on the horror movement of the time. A restored version of this film was released on BluRay by Vinegar Syndrome on November 24, 2017. His long-lost first documentary, Twenty Questions, was included as an extra on the BluRay release.
Bechard's first novel, The Second Greatest Story Ever Told, was published by Citadel Underground in 1991 and was called "a very, very funny book" by the Los Angeles Times. It tells the tale of God sending his quirky teenaged daughter to save the world. The book has been optioned by Hollywood numerous times, and has had many leading actress attached to play the role including Winona Ryder, who in the Hot issue of Rolling Stone magazine proclaimed her next role was playing the female Jesus, to most recently Rooney Mara, who can be seen on the cover of the paperback release of the novel.
In 1993, long before the widespread availability of broadband internet, he produced a multi-media web novel called The Hazmat Diary, which featured images, video clips, and music programmed in Flash. The site was eventually taken down in 2007, and the story was published in paperback form in 2010.
His next novel Balls was published by Penguin Books in 1995. It tells the fictional story of the first woman to play major league baseball. The book was optioned by 20th Century Fox but never made into a film.
Next came Good Neighbors, published by Carroll & Graf in 1998, of which Publishers Weekly said, "In his first mystery, novelist Bechard deftly captures the story's working-class neighborhood setting," adding "Bechard's ear for dark comedy and eye for social nuance are this book's strong suits."
In 2002, Bechard returned to filmmaking with The Kiss, starring Terence Stamp and Eliza Dushku. But once again the process made him question whether directing was a career path he wanted to travel.
In 2005, Bechard decided to take one last stab at filmmaking. He would do a micro-budget film where all the control was in his hands. The film, You Are Alone, a dark drama exploring how far some people will go to feel less alone, went on to play numerous film festivals and win many "best-of" awards before being released on DVD. In Letterboxd, Keith Dwyer wrote, "You Are Alone has one of the best scripts that I've ever come across. It's dialogue is so visceral and really grabbed at my insides. It's a conversation that spans an hour and a half, and is an analytical look at how we deal with the parts of ourselves that we are disgusted by or fear to confront. There are flashback sequences that are interspersed within the main conversation sequences to provide context for the characters and they play out just like that of memory with how simply yet effectively they're edited. It's hard to say whether it will pack the same punch for everyone as it did for me, but it's floored me."
Unwound, written under the pseudonym Jonathan Baine, and published by Onyx in 2007.
Color Me Obsessed, Bechard's first documentary is about legendary 80s indie rock band the Replacements. Called "the rock version of Rashomon" by the Village Voice, and one of "the seven best new music documentaries of the year" by Rolling Stone, the film has been playing the film festival and arthouse circuit since its premiere in March 2011. It was released on DVD in November 2012. Though the film "hasn't a single second of their music, zero interviews with surviving band members and only briefly shows a few photos of the band at its ending, Color Me Obsessed: A Film About the Replacements manages to be one of the best documentaries on any subject I've seen this year."
Bechard's film What Did You Expect? is a concert documentary capturing Archers of Loaf on their recent reunion tour. The film had its world premiere at the NXNE Festival in Toronto in June 2012, and was released on DVD in November 2012. In 2015, the band released the double album Curse of the Loaf, which is the Brian Paulson-produced concert audio from Bechard's documentary. The deluxe package also featured a copy of the film.
His last narrative film, 2013's Broken Side of Time, premiered at VisionFest in New York City in June 2013, and won the Audience Choice Award for Best Narrative Feature at CineKink 2014. It was released on DVD and streaming media in May 2014. In Blurt, Danny Phillips wrote, "Watching Dolce's slip into the abyss is somewhat like watching a car stranded on the tracks as a train barrels towards it. You really want to help, to scream 'Get out of the way!' but deep inside we want to see what happens next. Broken Side of Time is a look at a journey and a destination, a glimpse at what happens when you give all yourself to something and are used, tossed aside in return. Dolce is a train wreck personified and I could not stop watching."
Every Everything: The Music, Life & Times of Grant Hart is a documentary on Grant Hart of the legendary 80s indie rock band Hüsker Dü, premiered in London at the Raindance Film Festival and in New York City at the CBGB Festival in October 2013, and was the opening-night film of the Sound Unseen Film & Music Festival in Minneapolis/St. Paul in November. In Tiny Mix Tapes, Paul Bower wrote, "Grant Hart is weird because he kind of gets how important he was for rock & roll and at the same time he doesn't understand what all the fuss is about. While it's a cliche to even bring it up, he has a definite Minnesota Nice quality in regard to discussing what he's done with his artistic career and how much what he's done might have influenced the world of modern Western music. Parts of Every Everything are frustrating, but they're frustrating because the film's subject himself is quintessentially frustrating. Bechard has done that rare thing in documentary filmmaking. He's fully allowed his subject to dictate the tone of the film. As an audience, we’re better off because of it." While in PopShifter, Chelsea Spear said, "Throughout Every Everything, Bechard paints a very human portrait of Grant Hart, who comes off as self-aware and clear-eyed after a series of setbacks and bad decisions. Ultimately, the film could illustrate another truism: 'living well is the best revenge.'" In Letterboxd, Larry Yoshida writes, "This is the film I want to force all those mall punks and "I'm so Alternative" hipsters to watch."
In 2014, Bechard co-founded NHdocs: the New Haven Documentary Film Festival (NHdocs), which he co-directs with Yale Film and Media Studies professor Charles Musser. The festival expanded from one day screening four films in 2014 to three days and over 20 films in 2015. In 2016, the festival expanded to 11 days, showing over 40 films, including Bechard's Who is Lydia Loveless? followed by a solo acoustic performance from Lydia Loveless. The 2017 version of the festival featured over 80 films and a tribute to the legendary D.A. Pennebaker. In 2018 the festival featured tributes to Amy Berg (documentary filmmaker), Su Friedrich, and HBO's Sheila Nevins. While in 2019, the sixth edition featured over 100 films, including the completed Pizza, A Love Story, and a weekend long tribute to documentarian Michael Moore, with Moore in attendance being interviewed about his work by friends Peter Davis, DA Pennebaker, and Chris Hegedus. The festival screened seven of his most famous films including Roger & Me, Bowling for Columbine, Where to Invade Next, Fahrenheit 9/11 and Fahrenheit 11/9. In 2020, the festival moved to August due to Covid-19, but still screened over 120 films online and in-person, and also included a student competition, a quarantine film challenge, workshops, Q&As, and a tribute to Johnny Cash.
In 2015 Bechard directed and co-produced with his wife Kristine Bechard the feature A Dog Named Gucci, a documentary about animal abuse and the laws regarding such abuse in the United States, The story of Gucci is set in Mobile, Alabama, where "some local thugs got angry at a 15-year-old runaway girl because she wouldn't do sexual favors for them. So they set her 10-week-old dog on fire. A professor down the street, Doug James, saw the flames and saved the dog, Gucci, by dousing them. Then he took in the dog, nursing him back to health with the help of a veterinarian. The thugs were caught, but the ringleader got a prison sentence of just six months. James was so incensed that he fought to get a state law passed to make such an offense a felony. Six years later, he succeeded." The film had its world premiere at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in February 2015. The film was released on DVD from MVD Entertainment in April 2016. The end-credits song from the film, "One Voice," features the talents of Norah Jones, Aimee Mann, Susanna Hoffs, Lydia Loveless, Neko Case, Kathryn Calder, and Brian May. The single was released on Record Store Day, April 16, 2016, with the proceeds going to benefit animal charities.
Bechard has also just completed a documentary on singer-songwriter Lydia Loveless called Who is Lydia Loveless?, in which he documents the making of Loveless's album Real (2016), as well as following her on the road and looking into what life is life for a band at her level in the music industry. "I also wanted to look at stuff we normally don't see a lot of. What are the finances for a band like this? Where does the money go? Who gets the money? Is Spotify good? Is Spotify bad? How does piracy affect you? What about the fans? I really wanted to go into all of that for a band that can sell out 200- or 250-seat venues and bars but is still traveling in an old Ford van. A good night is when they have a couple of hotel rooms. No one is rolling in the dough, so to speak. So what is it at that point when you have amazing critical success and acclaim but you're not there yet?" In October 2015, Bechard and his crew filmed a live Lydia Loveless concert at Skully's in her hometown of Columbus for the documentary. The film had its world premiere at the Columbus International Film & Video Festival on April 7, 2016. The documentary was released on DVD and streaming media on November 24, 2017. Modern Vinyl said of the film, "Shot with Loveless and her band while on tour and recording her album Real, the film takes a hard look at what it's like to be a musician in these modern times. It notably addresses the financial aspects of playing rock ‘n’ roll in an age of Spotify and YouTube, and what that means for someone's bottom line. Who Is Lydia Loveless? is the sort of documentary that gets inside the whys and wherefores of music, while also adding in some rather excellent performance footage, shot both on tour and at a ripping show at Skully's in Columbus, Ohio. It's heartfelt and honest, told in the words of those involved in bringing Loveless’ brutally honest music to life. While label folks and producers speak, there are no discussions with fans or family — this is a film about the music."
In July 2015, a Seed&Spark campaign was launched for a new documentary, Normal Valid Lives, a film about the Anoka-Hennepin school district bullying case which made national headlines.
On November 12, 2015, Bechard was awarded the ASPCA Media Excellence Award for his work on the film A Dog Named Gucci and for "focusing on animal welfare and inspiring others to join the fight against animal cruelty."
In July 2016, two Bechard-directed music videos had their premiere in Rolling Stone magazine. The first was "Heal Me" from the album Sidelong by North Carolina musicians Sarah Shook and the Disarmers. A few days later, "Longer," from the fourth Lydia Loveless album, Real, was released. It is also the first official Loveless music video. And on August 19, the second Bechard-directed music video from Real was released for the song "Clumps." Noisey, the music division of Vice magazine, called it "simple and gorgeous."
Bechard's next film, 1986's Psychos in Love, was a horror comedy that has been called "the first Scream." Conceived as a slasher film in the style of Woody Allen, Monty Python and the Marx Brothers, Bechard's film went on to play a midnight run at the famed Bleecker Street Cinema in Greenwich Village before being released on video by Empire Pictures. In HorrorNews.Net, Todd Martin wrote, "It's violent and gory while being sweet and funny at the same time and after everything was said and done I ended up digging it a lot more than I ever thought that I would." A restored version of Psychos in Love was released on Blu-ray from Vinegar Syndrome on September 26, 2017. In Letterboxd, Mondo Cinema wrote, "This is the best time I've ever had watching a slasher flick."
Bechard also revealed during an iCRVradio interview on May 2, 2017 with Robin Andreoli that he had begun work on a rock documentary about North Carolina alt-country band Sarah Shook and the Disarmers called What It Takes: film en douze tableaux. The film, edited in the style of the Jean-Luc Godard film from which it takes half its name, had its world premiere at Independent Film Festival Boston in April 2018. The film also played the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in August of that same year, and was released on DVD on November 9, 2018. As the music blog If It's Too Loud says, "What makes Gorman Bechard's documentaries truly work for my is that he takes these high falutin' film concepts and uses them for film documentaries. Film documentaries are typically put out by a record company as a way to cash in on an artist and are little more than fluff pieces, or they focus on drama within a band. What it Takes: film en douze tableaux doesn't do any of that. While Bechard is an obvious fan of his subject, he shows them as is, and doesn't try to show them glossed over or hyped up."
It was also announced that a long-thought-lost first documentary from Bechard called Twenty Questions would have its world premiere at the New Haven Documentary Film Festival in June 2017. In the 60-minute film originally shot in 1987 and never screened publicly, twenty people, from all walks of life, are each locked alone in a room for the length of one 400-foot roll of 16mm film (11 minutes). They are each given the same set of twenty questions, which they can answer at random...if they're not completely distracted by their surroundings. The film is a featured extra on the Blu-ray release of his first feature Disconnected.
In May 2017, Bechard also launched a Kickstarter for a new animal documentary, this one called Seniors A Dogumentary, that celebrates the brains, energy & sass of some of the coolest senior dogs on this planet and the people who love them. The film premiered on March 5, 2020 at the Belcourt Theatre in Nashville. The film "is a documentary by Gorman Bechard with three interwoven stories that include Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary, which cares for about 90 senior dogs on-site with about 300 more placed in foster homes" and also highlights the late Chaser (dog) the Border Collie, referred to as the smartest dog in the world, and Jane Sobel Klonsky, whose work has included capturing the bond between elderly dogs and their owners." Released on DVD and pay-per-view on September 29, 2020, the film received rave reviews. Robin in Reeling Reviews writes, "Documentary writer-director-participant Gorman Bechard does just what I expected when I started watching “Seniors.” He takes a subject matter that, on the surface, might turn off potential viewers. A documentary about old dogs and their last days should be a bummer, but not here. Here we have a true life story about love, dignity and the quality of life for our old canine friends." While Pam Powell in The Daily Journal says, "Watching this film will change how you see dogs, and perhaps even your own buddy, thanks to Bechard’s keen perspective bringing this film to life." and adds, "Yes, you’ll need a tissue or two, but be prepared for many more involuntary smiles that go from ear to ear."
In September 2017, Bechard launched a Kickstarter campaign for his sixth rock documentary, Where are you, Jay Bennett? one of the legendary guitarists from the band Wilco.
In May 2017, another two Bechard-directed music videos were released back-to-back. The first, which was premiered by Diffuser.fm, was for "(I Just Died) Like an Aviator" for Matthew Ryan, which featured a group of teenaged girls lip-syncing and rocking out to the song. The video starred Chloe Barczak as the singer, Carina Begley as the guitar player, Chloe Lang as the bass player, and Erica Gonsiewski as the drummer. Realizing that having real teenagers behind the scenes as well as in front of the camera could only help the authenticity, Bechard brought on interns 17-year-old Charlotte Beatty and 15-year-old Isabella Germano to co-produce the video. American Songwriter Magazine wrote: "a coltish, all-girl band plays the parts of Ryan and co., rocking out in the confines of a dingy basement, and the result is oddly effective. The song takes on an added poignancy as a charismatic teenaged singer mouths lines like "I'm pouring a drink/ And smoking a smoke/ Our guts are born in that fiery trench/ Between hurt and hope" in the raspy, cigarette drawl of a middle-aged man."
2018 brought two new Bechard-directed music videos to the world: "The Bottle Never Lets Me Down" from Sarah Shook and the Disarmers was premiered by Rolling Stone, for the Bloodshot Records release of the band's second album, "Years,", and American Songwriter premiered the video for the acoustic version of "I Just Died Like An Aviator" from Matthew Ryan (musician).
Directed by Bechard, and co-produced with long-time musical collaborator Dean Falcone and New Haven historian Colin M. Caplan, the love story to New Haven's holy trinity of pizza restaurants, Pepe's, Sally's, and Modern, had its world premiere at IFFBoston in April 2019. It screened at a number of films festivals including the Greenwich International Film Festival, NHdocs: the New Haven Documentary Film Festival, Sidewalk Film Festival, the Woods Hole Film Festival, and the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival in 2019. The film was released on DVD and pay-per-view on September 29, 2020. In reviewing the film, Deborah Brown of The Swellesley Report called it “An important film of staggering genius that needed to be made.” While in Letterboxd, Michael Viers writes, "What could have very easily been a bunch of people gate-keeping pizza turned into a very weird, funny documentary full of pizza nerds."
In the summer of 2019, Bechard and producer, Bill Kraus, launched a Kickstarter campaign for FACTORY, a new feature-length documentary about the many varied and crazy lives of the New Haven Clock Company factory. Portions of the documentary were previewed in an exhibit at the New Haven Museum and Historical Society in February 2020.
Gorman was born in Waterbury, Connecticut.
Currently, Gorman Bechard is 63 years, 6 months and 16 days old. Gorman Bechard will celebrate 64th birthday on a Wednesday 15th of March 2023. Below we countdown to Gorman Bechard upcoming birthday.