The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins

Director Pietra Brettkelly
Genre Documentary
Runtime 109 minutes
Supplier Pietra Brettkelly
Festivals/Awards Sundance Film Festival Official Selection 2011
Release Date In theatres on March 20, 2009
DVD/Blu-ray available on May 11, 2010


Thirty African women lie face down on a white canvas on the floor of a fish market. Their eyes are shut, their bodies motionless. There is no talking and no sound. The artist Vanessa Beecroft makes wide, wild red paint strokes over their naked bodies. Genocide. Darfur. Jackson Pollock. The artist's ability to create a visual image that stings the mind. Cameras flash, video cameras roll. The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins follows Vanessa Beecroft's quest to adopt orphaned twins, Madit and Mongor Akot, and how this bleeds into her art and her personal life. Vanessa Beecroft operates in the world of high art and high society. Over the last few years Vanessa has been drawn to Africa and then ultimately to the Sudanese twins she met in an orphanage. As New York dealer Jeffrey Deitch states, with Vanessa there is no boundary between life and art. Alongside the adoption process she has photographed herself breast-feeding the twins, incorporating them into her provocative work. But at what cost to her personal life?

For sixteen months The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins follows Vanessa as, with an often brutal honesty, she exposes the truth about her life - her creative process, her struggle with depression, her volatile relationship with her husband, and her love for the twins. Vanessa found the undernourished babies in an orphanage, on her first day, on her first visit to Sudan. She had been breastfeeding her own child prior to flying to the Sudan. She wanted to "save" them - she spent months trying to adopt them - but is she just another wealthy white celebrity seeking to adopt an exotic child? Vanessa asks herself that same question.

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Cast & Credits

Vanessa Beecroft

Press & Articles

“International adoption blows up in Pietra Brettkelly’s stunning Hot Docs entry” - NOW Magazine

“'The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins': Star quality” - NOW Magazine

“From Sudan to Sundance, 'Art Star' Questions Celebrity” - The Washington Post

“A disturbing portrait of the artist as Lady Madonna ” - The Globe and Mail

“Adoption and artist's ego filmed ” - Sun Media

“Intersecting (and dissecting) cultures on film” - Los Angeles Times

The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins

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