Terry Zwigoff traces his career in film back to 1978 when he found a rare 1934 recording by an unkown Chicago blues musician.
A musician himself, Zwigoff was so impressed by this old 78 that he began what was to become two years of detective work to discover who the artist was and what his life had been like.
, a documentary film released in 1985, was the result.
The film garnered enthusiastic critical acclaim and, although only 60 minutes long, played theatrically in over 25 cities, including a two-month run at the Bleecker in New York.
Roger Ebert said the film is "a delight from beginning to end -- it is a wonderful film," and Janet Maslin of The New York Times said it is "as colorful, lively and garrulous as the man it describes."
Zwigoff's next film, Crumb
, won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and became a runaway success with audiences and critics alike, appearing on over 100 "Ten Best" lists and being chosen Best Film of 1995 by a dozen major film critics.
It won every single film critics award for Best Documentary of 1995, including the NY, LA, and National Society of Film Critics Award (The latter also voted it runner-up to Babe as Best Picture of the Year).
Zwigoff also won the DGA award, the IDA award, and the National Board of Review award for Best Director.
Roger Ebert called Crumb
"A great and astonishing film."
Newsweek called it "An instant American Classic!" and Terrence Rafferty of The New Yorker said "[it] is a brilliant, scary movie -- by a wide margin the best American film of the year."
Andrew Sarris called it "one of the most amazing films ever."
became the third-highest grossing documentary film ever made.