Marnie Ellen Hertzler, USA 2020, 73’
Dark City Beneath the Beat

This film is a perfect fit for the combined editions of New Horizons and the American Film Festival: a documentary that blurs the line between truth and fiction, a shamelessly personal formal experiment, and at the same time a film that references archetypes deeply rooted in the consciousness of pop culture. The protagonists might as well appear in a joint project by Judd Apatow, Harmony Korine, and a necessarily stoned Werner Herzog. The director follows a group of college friends—independent rappers growing marijuana and recording music that they put online. Over the course of eight days, she films their everyday life, rehearsals, and ritualistic smoking of joints, as they wonder whether they might be the last people on Earth destroyed by the apocalypse. A surprising, ambivalent portrait—a combination of documentary, feature, and experimental film—of young people who have abandoned social norms in favor of living on the margins of civilization.

Jakub Demiańczuk

Marnie Ellen Hertzler

Marnie Ellen Hertzler is a director and screenwriter; she also occasionally works in the areas of set design, editing, and animation. Her films combine various media and techniques, and their premieres and festival screenings are often accompanied by performance art, live performances, art installations, and specially designed websites. In her work, she brings together her interest in art and psychology by examining issues of interpersonal relations and the way in which modern technologies define people. She lives and works in Baltimore.


2014 Dream Throat (short)

2016 Biscayne World (doc. short)

2017 Growing Girl (short)

2018 Hi I Need to Be Loved (doc. short)

2019 Dirt Daughter (short)

2020 Crestone

Cast & Crew

director Marnie Ellen Hertzler
screenplay Marnie Ellen Hertzler, Corey Hughes
cinematography Corey Hughes
editing Albert Birney
music Animal Collective
cast Champloo Sloppy, RyBundy, Sadboytrapps
producer Riel Roch-Decter, Sebastian Pardo
production Memory
sales Memory
language English
coloration colour
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