"Dear Mr. Brody"
Directed by the Austin-based documentary filmmaker Keith Maitland, the SXSW Online Film Festival entry Dear Mr. Brody recalls the strange and tragic story of the so-called hippie millionaire, Michael Brody Jr. In January 1970, Brody—the 21-year-old grandson of Chicago oleomargarine millionaire John F. Jelke—offered to give away his reported $25 million fortune to anyone who needed money. And many Americans responded to this generous and unexpected offer of assistance by sending “Dear Mr. Brody” letters to an aspiring rock star intent on bringing peace and love to the world. What starts as a documentary about Brody and his new wife Renee’s philanthropy soon turns into a haunting account of a mental health crisis and the disintegration of a seemingly perfect marriage. Dear Mr. Brodyfeatures interviews with many of Michael Brody Jr.’s friends and family, including his widow Rene, and those who wrote letters to Brody in January 1970. The documentary also features the reading of many “Dear Mr. Brody” letters found in the archives of the documentary’sexecutive producer Edward R. Pressman, the Wall Streetand Reversal of Fortune producer who planned to make a Michael Brody Jr. biography in the 1970s. Keith Maitland previously directed the documentaries Tower,A Song for You: The Austin City Limits Story, and The Eyes of Me. Dear Mr. Brody premieres 12 p.m. March 16 during SXSW Online, which runs through March 20
Aired: March 18, 2021.