When long-estranged father, dreamer and visionary architect, Glen Small bequeaths his daughter the task of writing his biography, she answers instead with an irreverent film about his precarious career and rocky private life – while he is still alive. Her father has always called himself a genius; Lucia Small is torn. On the one hand she fancies the idea that her dad might be amongst the undiscovered greats, but she also wonders if maybe he isn’t suffering from a giant ego. My Father, The Genius explores the precarious framework on which a career and family are built. How does a man dedicate his entire life to “saving the world through architecture,” yet miss some basics at home? How does one balance creative obsession with familial obligations? And how does a filmmaker daughter balance her father’s wishes with her own artistic vision?
Interviews with the brash, sometimes outrageous Glen Howard Small are juxtaposed with comments from his peers and former students, his clients, daughters, ex-wives and girlfriends. Archival footage, animation, and startling models and drawings of Small’s work combine to form a vivid, compelling portrait of an unfulfilled and uncompromising talent, and a daughter seeking to come to terms with the man. At 31, Glen Small was a rising star. At 61, he barely escapes financial ruin. The current drama is revealed: what happens toward the end of a dreamer’s life when his dreams are still unfulfilled? Where and when will his statement of architectural genius finally be made – now or never? And how does a daughters’ journey offer her not only new appreciation and compassion for her father’s life’s work, but a much deeper understanding of her own plight?
Lucia Small has been an independent filmmaker for over 15 years. My Father, The Genius is her directorial debut feature, which garnered several top film festival awards, including Grand Jury Prizes for Best Documentary and Best Editing at the 2002 Slamdance Film Festival. In 2003. The film was broadcast and featured as part of Sundance Channel’s newly launched DOCday series. It is distributed through New Yorker Films and internationally by CS Associates. In Summer of 2005, Small teamed up with seminal documentary filmmaker Ed Pincus to form Pincus & Small Films. Over the years, Lucia Small has accumulated a diverse list of credits ranging from co-producer of several nationally-televised programs to award-winning documentarian. Producing credits include The Mississippi: River of Song, a 4-part PBS series; Laurel Chiten’s The Jew in the Lotus, (PBS); and Beth Harrington’s The Blinking Madonna and Other Miracles, (PBS), and Laurel Greenberg’s independent film 94 Years and 1 Nursing Home Later(WGBH). From 2003 through 2005, Small produced Maureen Foley’s narrative film American Wake, and Bruce Twickler’s historical documentary film Damrell’s Fire. Small has worked as a freelancer for Scoutvision, Discovery Channel, USA Cable, C-SPAN, Media One, John Hancock, and on numerous feature films and narrative shorts, including MGM’s What’s The Worst That Could Happen? and the PBS drama The Blue Diner.