Ren Faire: A Documentary Series Review

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The documentary series Ren Faire, which is set to debut on HBO, promises to be a fascinating look into the inner workings of the Texas Renaissance Festival. The largest ren faire in the world, the festival is not just a place for merriment and revelry, but also the setting for a fierce battle for power and control. Directed by Lance Oppenheim, the series delves into the lives of the festival’s key players as they vie for the opportunity to take over from the festival’s aging founder, George Coulam.

At the heart of the series is George Coulam, a larger-than-life figure who describes himself as a “sexually active Caucasian male entrepreneur” on his website. As the founder and ruler of the Texas ren faire, Coulam holds the power, glory, and vast wealth associated with being the majority shareholder of the festival. However, as he approaches the twilight of his life, Coulam must make the difficult decision of choosing his successor from among his loyal employees.

Among the candidates looking to claim the crown are general manager Jeffrey Baldwin, “Lord of Corn” Louie Migliaccio, and elephant trainer Darla Smith. Each contender brings their own unique strengths and personalities to the table, adding an extra layer of intrigue to the succession battle. As the tension mounts and the stakes get higher, the series promises to offer a gripping and dramatic insight into the world of the ren faire.

Director Lance Oppenheim brings a fresh perspective to the documentary series, drawing parallels between the cutthroat world of corporate politics and the whimsical charm of the ren faire. Through his lens, what initially seemed like a comedy of errors transforms into a tragic and compelling narrative. Oppenheim’s collaboration with cinematographer Nate Hurtsellers ensures that the fantastical elements of the festival are juxtaposed with the everyday drama of running a business, creating a captivating viewing experience for audiences.

At just 28 years old, Oppenheim has already made a name for himself in the world of documentary filmmaking. With a diverse portfolio that includes shorts, feature documentaries, and now a documentary series, Oppenheim proves himself to be a versatile and talented director. His ability to capture the essence of his subjects and bring their stories to life on screen is evident in his body of work, which has garnered critical acclaim and recognition from industry peers.

Ren Faire is just the latest addition to Oppenheim’s impressive body of work, which includes the feature documentary Spermworld and the acclaimed film Some Kind of Heaven. Produced by Darren Aronofsky, Some Kind of Heaven offers a glimpse into the hidden realities of “Florida’s Friendliest Active Adult 55+ Retirement Community,” showcasing Oppenheim’s knack for exploring the lives of individuals trapped in their own worlds.

As Ren Faire prepares to make its debut on HBO, anticipation is high for what promises to be a gripping and insightful look into the world of the Texas Renaissance Festival. With Oppenheim at the helm, audiences can expect a thought-provoking exploration of power, ambition, and the human desire for recognition and validation. Whether you’re a fan of ren faires or simply enjoy a good documentary series, Ren Faire is sure to deliver an engaging and unforgettable viewing experience.


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