Part 13: Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405

“My mother was in black and white in my memory; my father was pink.  And sometimes he was red.” – Mindy Alper, Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405


Mindy Alper


Best Documentary Short Subject

My Two Cents

Tortured artists with mental illness is a common subject matter for documentaries.  There are  countless stories told from different perspectives that you can dig up in documentary land.  This is the story – told in 40 minutes – of Mindy Alper, a successful LA artist who suffers from mental illness, severe anxiety, and a story of abuse, much of which she puts into her artwork of drawings and sculptures.  She is about to open a gallery show of her art, all of which is deeply personal, and is seen struggling with her anxiety about the opening.

If you have ever wanted see what it means to be a brilliant and tortured artist from the artist’s perspective, this is a good documentary to watch.  Be patient with it; it can feel like a slow 40-minutes at times, but it’s an intriguing story.  What she is working to overcome is really incredible.  As it closes, she says, “but I am feeling much more hopeful.”  That’s such a simple but powerful statement coming from this woman.  And you can’t help but root for her and her artwork, which by the way is unreal.

This documentary hits most of my hot doc buttons.  Mindy Alper is eccentric and compelling in her interviews on many levels.  I actually really love the title of this one and I only think it works because it’s a well done bio – if you don’t understand her, the title flops. Good short documentary, but I don’t think it has the subject matter to garner a win.

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