Farts are destroying the world – seriously. Upon discovering this unfortunate and smelly truth, Kingston’s Albert Nerenberg had no choice but to find out everything there was to know about toots and their ecological impact. With the help of co-director Nik Sheehan and an intercontinental cast of authors, scholars and experts, the maker of fest faves like ESCAPE TO CANADA (KCFF06) has created a sometimes silly but always fascinating enquiry into all things flatulence-related that somehow asks some serious questions about climate change, too. Who could have known that there was so much to know about passing gas?
Born in London, Ontario in 1962, Nerenberg studied English Drama at McGill University in Montreal, where he formed Theatre Shmeatre, an improvisational theatrical company, and served as editor in chief of the McGill Daily.Formerly a newspaper reporter with the Montreal Gazette and talk radio host at CKGM, Nerenberg told the Montreal newspaper, La Presse, that he became a filmmaker after he smuggled a video camera through army lines during the 1990 Oka Crisis – a standoff between armed Mohawk Warriors and the Canadian military. The footage was later turned into his first documentary, entitled Okanada.
Nerenberg was recognized by the Cinémathèque Québécoise as a film innovator for having had a role in some of the developments in contemporary filmmaking; including the hand-held revolution, the Truvie where fictional films are shot in real situations, and in creating the format of fictional movie trailers. In 2001 Nerenberg was the subject of a retrospective at the Just for Laughs festival in Montreal.
Nerenberg is the founder of Trailervision. Trailervision is the idea that movie trailers are their own artistic medium. CNN has profiled Trailervision, calling it an “international cult phenomenon.”
Nerenberg has directed over 70 Trailervision trailers and over a dozen TV documentaries.
In 2005, Nerenberg directed Escape to Canada, a documentary about how Canada has unintentionally usurped America’s place as the Land of the Free.
In 2007’s Let’s All Hate Toronto, Mr. Toronto (Nerenberg’s eye-patched co-director Rob Spence) embarks on a coast-to-coast Canadian tour to promote “the centre of the universe” by waving a banner that reads “Toronto Appreciation Day.”
He was also founder of The World Stupidity Awards, an annual satirical awards show at the Just for Laughs festival honouring achievement in ignorance and stupidity. The awards are sponsored by Just for Laughs, one of the world’s largest and most prestigious comedy festivals.
Nerenberg is also known for a widely publicized prank performed at the 2000 Toronto International Film Festival. The director orchestrated the red carpet entry of a group of Trailervision actors as major movie stars to a major premiere. This was done by placing actors in the paparazzi who screamed the names of these fictional stars as they arrived by limo. The paparazzi responded by flashing their cameras frantically. The fake stars were rushed into the green room along with the real stars, “where they got drunk like showbiz kings”. The prank is described in the online Museum of Hoaxes as The Toronto Film Festival Hoax.
As an actor, Nerenberg is known for his portrayal of the Modeman character, a mentally disabled janitor, who can speak “modem” and create web pages with his mouth. He also plays a sermonizing priest in the popular Trailervision web trailer, Kung Fu Jesus.