BRIMSTONE & GLORY
USA, 2017 / 67 min / Spanish OV with EN subt. / Documentary
A poetical documentary about the small Mexican city devoted to making — and exploding — fireworks.
The National Pyrotechnic Festival in Tultepec, Mexico, is a site of festivity unlike any other in the world. In celebration of San Juan de Dios, patron saint of firework makers, a city-wide, explosive festival takes over life in town. More than three quarters of Tultepec’s residents work in pyrotechnics, making the festival more than revelry for revelry’s sake. It is a celebration that anchors a way of life built around a generation-old, home-grown business of making fireworks by hand. For Tultepec’s people, the National Pyrotechnic Festival is explosive celebration, unrestrained delight and real peril.
Both awe-inspiring and anxiety-inducing, Brimstone & Glory chronicle of an annual fireworks extravaganza in Tultepec, Mexico, is a visual, jaw-dropping spectacle like no other documentary before it.
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“A euphoric documentary about fireworks from the people behind Beasts of the Southern Wild. Remember the first 10 minutes of Beasts of the Southern Wild, when Hushpuppy was just running around with sparklers and the music was blaring and you were profoundly moved for reasons you couldn’t quite understand? Well, Viktor Jakovleski’s Brimstone & Glory is essentially the feature-length adaptation of that feeling. Produced and scored by Beasts mastermind Benh Zeitlin, this euphoric documentary is a veritable orgy of lights and sounds, a pyroclastic symphony of explosions in the sky that makes you happy to be alive, even if you’re not entirely sure why.” David Ehrlich, IndieWire, 17/11/2017
“Eye candy that’s a nutritious, full meal, Brimstone & Glory trains its ecstatic camera on Tultepec, a town in south-central Mexico famed for its manufacture of fireworks ‑ and an annual National Pyrotechnics Festival so giddily cinematic that the medium itself practically seems to roll over and wag tail in approval. Mixing sheer spectacle with modest but pleasing human-interest threads, Viktor Jakovleski’s first directorial feature is a poetical, entrancing documentary that should delight niche viewers across many cultural borders.” Dennis Harvey, Variety, 27/05/2017
- Jon Schlesinger Award – Best Debut Documentary, Palm Springs International Film Festival, 2018 (USA)
- Best Director – Documentary Features, Austin Fantastic Fest, 2017 (USA)
- Best Picture – Documentary Features, Austin Fantastic Fest, 2017 (USA)
- Special Citation – Best Documentary, San Francisco Film Critics Circle, 2017 (USA)
- Golden Gate Award – Best Documentary Feature, San Francisco International Film Festival, 2017 (USA)
- Special Mention – Art Doc Award, Sheffield Doc/Fest, 2017 (United Kingdom)
Viktor Jakovleski, born in 1983 in West Berlin, attended the German Film and Television Academy, and worked at studio Babelsberg. He made a name for himself producing videos for internationally renowned electronic musicians and produced LenaLove (2016) selected in Luxfilmfest 2017 Young Audiences programme. He spent four years making Brimstone & Glory (2017), returning three times to the annual festival in Tultepec.In 2015, Viktor was chosen as one of “the 25 New Faces of Independent Film” by Filmmaker Magazine.
- 2017 - Brimstone & Glory (documentary)
- 2006 - Angst (short)