Controversy and Chaos: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Ren Faire Documentary

Controversy and Chaos: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Ren Faire Documentary

The documentary series Ren Faire is set to premiere on HBO, promising viewers a deep dive into the cutthroat world of the Texas Renaissance Festival. Directed by Lance Oppenheim, the three-part series sheds light on the power struggle to take over the reins of the world’s largest ren faire.

At the center of this medieval drama is George Coulam, the aging founder and ruler of the Texas ren faire. Described as a “colorful character” with a penchant for self-promotion, Coulam is portrayed as a larger-than-life figure who is ready to step down and find a romantic companion. The series introduces us to a cast of potential successors, including general manager Jeffrey Baldwin, “Lord of Corn” Louie Migliaccio, and elephant trainer Darla Smith.

During a Q&A session at the Independent Film Festival Boston, director Lance Oppenheim shared his insights on the documentary series. What initially started as a comedy soon turned into tragedy, with Oppenheim noting that the characters in Ren Faire are relatable in their own way. He and his cinematographer, Nate Hurtsellers, aimed to immerse the audience in the fantastical world of the ren faire while highlighting the human drama behind the scenes.

At just 28 years old, Lance Oppenheim has an impressive resume, with several shorts, documentaries, and feature films under his belt. He gained recognition for his directorial debut, Some Kind of Heaven, which delved into the darker aspects of a seemingly idyllic retirement community. With Ren Faire, Oppenheim continues his exploration of individuals trapped in their own realities and the consequences of their actions.

David Gauvey Herbert, an executive producer of Ren Faire, played a crucial role in bringing the project to Oppenheim. During the Boston Q&A, Herbert pointed out that the director has a fixation on characters who create their own worlds, a theme that is evident in the portrayal of George Coulam and his kingdom. The series promises to showcase the behind-the-scenes chaos and controversy of the ren faire world, where power dynamics and personal aspirations collide.

As the trailer for Ren Faire hints at the impending showdown for the crown, viewers can expect a rollercoaster of emotions and power plays. With Oppenheim’s keen eye for storytelling and the compelling characters at the center of the series, Ren Faire promises to be a gripping exploration of ambition, betrayal, and the pursuit of power in an unexpected setting.


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