One Bad Cat: The Reverend Albert Wagner Story

One Bad Cat: The Reverend Albert Wagner StoryOVERVIEW

Language: English
Country of Origin: USA
Running Time: 81 minutes
Medium: HD

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Director: Thomas G. Miller
Producer: Nancy Dickenson, Thomas G. Miller
Associate Producer: Lorraine Gallard
Co-Producer: M.R. Stiff
Executive Producer: Nancy Dickenson
Editor: Lillian E. Benson, ACE, Thomas G. Miller, M.R. Stiff, Paul Wiesepape
Cast: Albert Wagner, self; family members
Narrator: Delroy Lindo
Writer: Thomas G. Miller, M.R. Stiff
Directory of Photography: Shana Hagan
Composer: Miriam Cutler
Production Sound: Noel Dannemiller
Photographs: Abe Frajndlich
Producer's Representative: Ostrow and Company


"Directed by Thomas G. Miller, "One Bad Cat" brings fresh light to the artist profile not only through his choice of subject, but also by his direct confrontation with the discomforting nature of Mr. Wagner’s work and the cultural complexities entailed when a poor black naïf is celebrated and collected by well-to-do whites." - Nathan Lee, The New York Times, August 15, 2008

"A bowling ball's black kitty face busting out of a white bag: Does this beguilingly simple sculpture evoke transcendence...or unconsciously expose a psyche-deep racial inferiority complex? In profiling the late African-American outsider artist Reverend Albert Wagner, who picked up a brush at age 50 and began to atone obsessively for past sins, filmmaker Thomas G. Miller answers "maybe" to both in this compellingly ambivalent portrait, which explores a taboo subject (racial divides in the viewing and collecting of art) with irresolvable complexity. Miller neither defends or apologizes: His remarkably candid footage (extending all the way to Wagner's deathbed and beyond) and interviews leave the man's sincerity (and his collectors') as open to scrutiny as his art." - Jim Ridley, The Village Voice, August 12, 2008


ONE BAD CAT is about the transformative role art plays in the tumultuous life of 82 year-old, African-American, renowned outsider artist Reverend Albert Wagner. He has been a lightening rod for controversy his entire life. Racism, ego and lust led him to the brink of ruin. Miraculously turned onto religion at age 50, he was inspired by God to paint, and become a famous artist for a mostly white clientele. From a racist Southern upbringing and now living in an impoverished neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio, his controversial artwork sometimes rails against the lifestyles of members of the African-American community. While encouraging them to strengthen their spirituality and live up to their potential, he simultaneously accuses the community of selfoppression, a disregard for familial responsibility and a weakness for sexual gratification. ONE BAD CAT explores why, during Albert’s own pursuit of salvation through his art, he creates as many detractors as champions.