When the eccentric cast of a mid-90s Public Access show in Detroit reunite after 20 years to make a new episode, they are forced to take a hard look at their lives and reconcile their teenage dreams with the realities of adulthood.
Generation X is forced to reconcile its teenage dreams with the realities of adulthood in this poignant and playful documentary. When the founder of a bizarre mid-90s Public Access TV show in Detroit reunites the cast after 20 years to make a new episode, he discovers that most of his childhood friends are struggling with issues ranging from mental illness and drug addiction to the mundane pressures of the daily grind. The group is forced to take a hard look at their relationships and decide whether the magic of their show was a fleeting youthful experiment or a creative community they will share for the rest of their lives. Reminding us that it’s never too late to chase your dreams, 20 Years of Madness is brimming with stunning cinematography, eccentric characters, and a heartfelt story about the desire to do something great while confronting the reality of failure.
“Despite the setbacks and the scars, 20 Years of Madness shows a group of friends whose deep affection for each other overrides time and difference.”
30 MINUTES OF MADNESS premiered on March 5th, 1992 in Oakland County, Michigan. The show is a bizarre video mixtape of improv and written comedy skits, non-sequitor vérité samples, and experimental video art. 30MOM embraces the 90s DIY grunge/punk counter-culture — unpolished and genuine. Some inspirations include Liquid Television, Saturday Night Live, Monty Python, Kids in the Hall, The Monkees and the trash art of John Waters and Andy Warhol. The 30MOM vibe lives on in shows like Jackass, Mr. Show, South Park, and Tim & Eric Awesome Show.
The 30MOM crew were outsiders, punks, skaters, nerds, freaks, weirdos, burnouts, theater geeks, and artists. What started in high school as something fun to do on the weekend became their driving passion. For the core group, the show was their life and would hopefully be their future. They continued to make episodes into their 20s, started a production company and moved in together. But they grew up and split apart, gradually at times and violently at others. Some of them moved to Los Angeles to follow their dreams while others remained in Michigan.
While the show had a small audience during its original run, it has achieved a cult following over the years. Their vault of video, music, photography, and artwork is a time capsule of the era: the 90s, the last pre-internet generation; when having access to video equipment and editing facilities was a minor miracle, and a broadcast television audience was mind-blowing.
Over the years, the group amassed a vault some 300 hours of analog video. 20 YEARS OF MADNESS draws deeply on this footage, both from the aired episodes of the show and the never-before-scene raw moments of their daily life and musings to highlight, contrast, and comment upon these vivid characters. We get to see how much they’ve changed, but also learn how they are still very much the same dreamers at heart.