Twin Cities-based Eric Tretbar has written and directed eight feature films that have won a Berlinale (Forum) Audience Award, an Independent Spirit Award Nomination, played on the Sundance Channel and German TV (WDR), and screened at The Walker Art Center and world film festivals, including Sao Paulo, Hong Kong, Vienna, Warsaw and Melbourne. He grew up in Kansas working summers on his uncle’s wheat farm, attending NYU Graduate Film school after Carleton College where he’s also taught filmmaking.
Tretbar is also a composer and musician, scoring many of his own films, and drumming for such seminal garage bands as The Funseekers and The Spectors (Minneapolis) and The Red Hearts (LA). His early films draw on his music scene experience, combining the formalism of international art cinema with a documentary interest in the real people and locations of his Minneapolis home. His first three films (THE USUAL, SNOW and GIGI 12×5) form a trilogy about life and love in the Minneapolis music scene.
Tretbar’s later work develops new cinematic language to explore American cultural mythologies. In ZENITH, a small Kansas farm town struggles to keep itself alive through the on and off-stage dramas of community theater. THE HORRIBLE FLOWERS explores the murky depths of rock and roll with a female Orpheus who nearly destroys herself when she returns to the underworld of her past. And INQ409 expresses the anxieties of freedom and authority with an imagined Bush Administration interrogation aboard Air Force One.
FIRST PERSON PLURAL synthesizes the thematic and aesthetic interests of Tretbar’s entire career, continuing to explore the intimate conflicts of love, family duty, women’s rights, and the intersection of faith and politics. Like all of his work, FIRST PERSON PLURAL was made for the people it depicts, encouraging their capacity for love and understanding while exploring new cinematic forms.