Documentary film: Strange Powers – Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields.

A feature documentary directed by Kerthy Fix and Gail O’Hara

Executive Produced by Paul Kloss, Kerthy Fix and Pamela Tanner Boll

Produced by Kerthy Fix, Gail O’Hara and Alan Oxman

Edited by Sarah Devorkin

Ten years in the making, Strange Powers is an intimate documentary portrait of songwriter Stephin Merritt and his band the Magnetic Fields.

With his unique gift for memorable melodies, lovelorn lyrics and wry musical stylings that blend classic Tin Pan Alley with modern sounds, Stephin Merritt has distinguished himself as one of contemporary pop’s most beloved and influential artists. Both a prolific recording artist and composer of theater and film scores, he performs most famously as the Magnetic Fields, whose 1999 three-disc opus 69 Love Songs is widely considered a masterpiece of traditional songcraft and irresistible synthpop.

Strange Powers explores Merritt’s songwriting and recording process, and focuses on his relationships with his bandmates and longtime manager Claudia Gonson, revealing an artist who has produced one of the most engaging and confounding bodies of work in the contemporary American songbook.

In the film: Stephin Merritt, Claudia Gonson, Sam Davol, John Woo, Shirley Simms, Daniel Handler, Mike Yesenosky, LD Beghtol, Charles Newman, Alix Merritt, Laura Ballance, Martin Hall, Carrie Brownstein, Peter Gabriel, Drew Daniel, Chris Ewen, Gaylord Fields, Michael Fusco, Neil Gaiman, Dorothy Gonson, Sasha Frere-Jones, Tim Page, Emma Straub, Kenny Mellman, Ann Powers, Kurt Reighley, Sarah Silverman, Cyndi Stivers, and Irving Berlin the chihuahua. Audio appearances by Monica Lynch, Chelsey Johnson and Irwin Chusid.

Running Time: 85 mins

Screening Format: HD, DV, DVD

Dates of Production: 1999-2009


Upcoming Screenings

The San Francisco Film Society and the Noise Pop Film Festival will present a sneak preview of the Magnetic Fields documentary on

Sunday, February 28, 2010 at 8pm

Mezzanine (444 Jessie Street at Mint), San Francisco

Tickets are available at or by calling 925-866-9559.


World Premiere

March 12-20th

Austin, Texas