Special Guests

Special Guests

Penelope Spheeris

Spheeris’ lucrative resume begins with her legendary punk rock documentary:  The Decline of Western Civilization (1981).  She followed up with The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years, this time about the Los Angeles heavy metal scene of 1988, with footage and interviews of legendary metal bands such as Kiss, Ozzy Osbourne, Aerosmith, Megadeth, and Motörhead. She later returned to the streets of Los Angeles and the punk rock scene in 1998 for the documentary The Decline of Western Civilization Part III.  Our festival this year chose to showcase her  cult classic, Suburbia (1983); well known for its haunting portrayal of the American Dream failing Gen X featuring a raw look at the punk subculture that was the only form of community these disenfranchised youth knew. 

Probably the most endeared of her mainstream work was 1992’s Wayne’s World including the iconic music video accompanying the film for Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”, which earned a Grammy Award nomination. In 1996, she directed We Sold Our Souls for Rock ‘n Roll, a documentary about the Ozzfest, produced by Sharon Osbourne, which explored life on the road. Also to be noted…she directed Dudes (1987) featuring our other amazing guest this year, Catherine Mary Stewart!

Other films Spheeris has directed include The Beverly HillbilliesThe Little Rascals (for which she co-wrote the screenplay); the Chris Farley/David Spade comedy Black Sheep; the Marlon Wayans-David Spade team-up Senseless; and The Kid & I.

The moving image collection of Penelope Spheeris is held at the Academy Film Archive which has preserved several of Spheeris’ films, including BathHats Off To Hollywood, and Shit.

She will be best remembered for her docu-style – raw in your-face-infusion of pop culture into her narratives. She skillfully captures the zeitgeist in all of her work….a sign of a true visionary!

Catherine Mary Stewart

CMS has been the MVP of the festival this year. She was the first to RSVP and through her sincerity and enthusiasm, convinced me that I made the right decision to continue the festival when others had postponed or gone virtual.  What went from a screening of Night of the Comet in a curated program became our opening night film and reunion. Quite frequently in my field I get to meet those that inspired me to be who I am, and it is one of the most rewarding experiences of what I do.  Catherine Mary Stewart delighted me in The Apple, throughout all her work in the 1980s and gave the gift of laughter to the Nakelski family in our favorite: Weekend at Bernie’s.  On behalf of the Zeitgeist Film Festival, we would like thank her and welcome her wholeheartedly. We can’t wait to keep up with her future projects and adventures! DO THE BIM!

Some of her other notable roles in case you didn’t already know…she was on the soap opera Days of Our Lives, playing the original Kayla Brady from January 1982 to December 1983. In 1984, she also starred in the unforgettable The Last Starfighter as Maggie Gordon She later played a leading role in the teen comedy Mischief. And was in Penelope Spheeris’ Dudes! (1987)

In the mid-1980s, Stewart appeared in two miniseries: Hollywood Wives (1985) and Sins (1986), where she played the younger version of Joan Collins’s character. She made guest appearances on television series such as Knight RiderHotelAlfred Hitchcock Presents and The Outer Limits. She starred in several made-for-TV movies such as Murder by the Book (1987), Passion and Paradise (1989), Perfect Harmony (1991) and Ordeal in the Arctic (1993).

Beginning in the mid-1990s, she scaled back her appearances to raise her family. As her children have now grown, she has again been appearing in numerous television and film roles, and has expressed an interest in directing. In 2010, she appeared in the film A Christmas Snow. In 2016, she directed the short movie A Walk to Remember. She starred in the Hallmark holidays movies Rock N’ Roll Christmas in 2019 and A Christmas Comeback in 2020

Joe Clark

Joe Clarke is an award winning filmmaker from the state of Iowa, currently residing in Beverly Hills. He has written and directed seven feature films, which have been bought by Netflix, Redbox, Family Video, Target, Walmart, and have also been featured on Xbox Live, DirectTV, and iTunes. His Holiday film, “Up on the Wooftop,” opened behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens in several South American territories. In addition, the film was sold to over ten international territories. Joe has also been featured on Funnyordie.com, and has had films featured in film festivals across the world. His latest film, “Headstrong” was in the top 25 documentaries on iTunes.

@joeclarkecitywww.backrowstudios.com

Chris Hudson

Curiosity about the world, it’s languages and the people who live in it has always been Chris Hudson’s driving force in life. This curiosity inspired Chris to film and document people groups in Yap, Guatemala, Brazil, Germany, South Dakota, and for his latest documentary The Mayberry Effect, superfans and Tribute Artists across the southeast of the United States. An Emmy-Nominated and Silver Telly Award winning documentary filmmaker from Clemmons, North Carolina, Chris holds two degrees; a Bachelor of the Arts in Communications from Queens University of Charlotte and a Masters in Fine Arts in Documentary Film from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Having worked in documentaries, television, and the film industry for over 21 years, Chris’ love for good storytelling started when he was eight years old when he became an avid consumer of PBS documentaries by Ken Burns and travelogues featuring Rick Steves. Since then, Chris has dreamed of working in the entertainment and film industries.


For four years at Queens University of Charlotte, Chris had more film and video equipment than the entire school and was consistently hired to shoot, produce, and edit a number of videos for various departments within the school. As a sophomore at Queens University of Charlotte, Chris interned at WTVI, Charlotte’s PBS station, and learned how to become a documentary filmmaker, television producer, director and
editor. Graduating in 2002, Chris stayed on at WTVI to produce World War II documentaries like How I Survived WWII (Emmy-Nominated 2007/Silver Telly Award 2007) and If They Could See Us Now; The Story of Charlotte’s 38th Evacuation Hospital (2007). From 2005 to 2013 Chris also produced local, regional, and national TV commercials for a cable company both in Charlotte and Greensboro, NC and in 2011 he and his wife, Angie Hudson opened their own business, Creative Drama Children’s Theater in Clemmons, NC teaching students theater, dance, voice, piano, acting and video production. Chris is the Executive/Marketing Director at their studio and has helped their business grow from 37 students in 2011 to 600 students in 2020. In addition to helping build every musical set they produce, Chris is the proud father of two daughters, Selah Hudson (9) and Sadie Belle Hudson (6).
 From 2015 to 2018 Chris went back to school and got his MFA in Documentary Film from Wake Forest University. His thesis film project, The Mayberry Effect, started as a 45-minute short film and has now been extended into a 90-minute feature-length documentary over the past year and a half. The Mayberry Effect, is a thought provoking film investigating the topic of nostalgia through the lens of The Andy Griffith Show
asking the questions; did a simpler time actually exist, how did the show influence our American culture and society and will future generations continue to enjoy the sitcom or will it fade away like so many other television shows over the past 60 years?

Kelli Maroney

“I’m not the phone company…nobody’s the phone company anymore!”

What could be more iconic than Maroney in her cheerleader costume while wielding her defective Smith & Wesson Model 19 musing to Regina that: “Daddy would have gotten them Uzis!”?

Her unforgettable spunk contrasted with moments of vulnerability in NOTC are a testament toher skills as an actress to create a believable and relatable little sister in Samantha Belmont. Seen prominently in those moments we discussed earlier about this film having “heart” that derives from the sisters’ compassion for each other despite traumatic circumstances. Instead, the Apocalypse is an opportunity for Samantha to evolve into adulthood.  If there is one thing Maroney taught me about the end of the world… is that you can be strong and survive, yet have fun and look fabulous doing so!