Davis Montgomery III was not always the refined lover of artisanal foods and probing art that he is now. Like many creative types, Montgomery struggled for years with societal hygiene standards and a desire to collect and save his own bodily waste.
But those days are behind Montgomery and many other Coma artists thanks to the efforts of one local woman. And a new documentary film will explore how Marilee Bumgartner works her miracles.
“The Soap Will Set You Free” chronicles Bumgartner’s efforts to track, trap, and clean various creators in town.
“Like the recently released Entourage movie, this is a story that just needed to be told,” said Shane Darvish, who is directing. “I expect it will appeal equally to intellectuals and people who love bubble bath.”
Unlike most documentaries, Darvish’s film features extensive chase scenes–mostly of Bumgartner’s water cannon-equipped van chasing down Coma artist-types and blasting them into soapy submission.
“The lack of alpha predators you would find the wild allows our local artists to become fat, lazy and fetid,” Bumgartner said. “We simulate the effects of nature, which would force the guys to at least run through a creek once in a while as they fled from packs of feral dogs with a taste for performance artist.”
But it’s not going to be all action sequences in the hygienic art film.
The film also will explore the close and loving bond Bumgartner has developed with many Coma artists.
“They view her almost as a maternal figure, and many will come when she calls and eat right out of her hand,” Darvish said.
Bumgartner laughs when asked if she ever worried for her safety interacting with artists outside the safety of the spray van.
“Once they put down the brushes, playdough and spray paint, most of they are just great big pussycats,” Bumgartner said.
Darvish, who credits Bumgartner with helping him first find hygiene, hopes to finish the film next month and debut it during Coma’s Fall Film Fest.
“I’m not sure Coma is ready for this amount of raw naked artistry–that’s not a euphemism–but it better get ready,” Darvish said.