Photo Credit: Charles Miller

“I AM a performer. When I am on stage, it is the only time I am truly happy.” -- Joan Rivers

JOAN RIVERS - A PIECE OF WORK exposes the private dramas of irreverent, legendary comedian and pop culture icon Joan Rivers as she fights tooth and nail to keep her American dream alive. A unique look inside America’s obsession with fame and celebrity - Joan’s story is both an outrageously funny journey and a brutally honest look at the ruthless entertainment industry, the trappings of success and the ultimate vulnerability of the first queen of comedy.

With unprecedented and unguarded access to Joan Rivers for a year, the film—interweaves home movies, stand up routines, and archival footage to reveal a rare glimpse of the comedic process and the toxic mixture of self-doubt and anger that often fuels it. Joan’s is the quintessential story of survival and of determination – a child of Russian immigrants - she is the female pioneer who cut paths and broke boundaries in the otherwise all-male world of comedy, opening the door for other women comedians to follow. Joan is the only woman to have ever held the position of host on a network late-night talk show. Her career has had dramatic highs and lows -- a Tony nomination, an Emmy awarding winning talk show, a husband who committed suicide, a heartbreaking feud with Johnny Carson and a booming entrepreneurial business – forcing her to constantly reinvent herself.


Photo Credit: Seth Keal

Hustling to find work, Joan stars in two television pilots, promotes her two books, performs stand-up around the country and participates in the NBC primetime show CELEBRITY APPRENTICE. As an aging performer, Joan is nothing without her stage and her audience. Joan fights to remain in the public eye by pushing herself working 18-hour days, 7 days a week. 

An inspiration to some, a plastic surgery joke to others, Joan Rivers’ controversial personas are what continue to fascinate the public. The film provides a rare look at Joan Rivers, an iconic performer, stripped of her comedy masks and laying bare the truth of her life and inspiration.

Directed and produced by Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg (THE DEVIL CAME ON HORSEBACK, THE TRIALS OF DARRYL HUNT).

Joan Rivers died on September 4, 2014 at the age of 81. 

Credits (Click to expand)

A production of Break Thru Films

Director and Executive Producer

RICKI STERN

Co-Director

ANNIE SUNDBERG

Producers

RICKI STERN

SETH KEAL

ANNIE SUNDBERG

Editor

PENELOPE FALK                                                                                                                             

Director of Photography

CHARLES MILLER

Music

PAUL BRILL

Writer

RICKI STERN

Sound Editor

BRAD BERGBOM

Sound Recordist

SETH KEAL

Additional Sound

MOLLY ABRAMS

BRAD BERGBOM

RACHEL HAMILTON

CHARLES MILLER

RICKI STERN

Additional Camera

Seth Keal

William Rexer

Guy Mossman

Visual Effects Design and Animation

YORGO ALEXOPOULOS

Motion Graphics Assistant (s)

AMBER KUSMENKO

Seth Keal

Additional Animatic Designs

Seth Keal

Opening Title Designer

YORGO ALEXOPOULOS

Featuring (in order of Appearance)

Joan Rivers

Jocelyn Pickett

Billy Sammeth

Larry Thompson

Graham Reed

Kevin Brennan

Debbie Brennan

Analie Berthel

Sean Foley

Emily Kosloski

Carrie Paff

Mark Philips

Denis Markell

Gilda Frost

David Dangle

Kathy Griffin

Adele Fass

George Lange

Dr. Joy Brown

Melissa Rivers

Raymond Rosario

Henry Edwards

Martyn Fletcher

Robbie Yule

Nathan Osgood

Stuart Slavicky

Graham McLusky

Martin Witts

Kevin Wilson

Kate Forrester

Lindsay Hill

Joe Castagna

Kiki Koh

Mohamed Darwish

William the Fan

Cooper

Jerry Mierzwa

Blaine Trump

Flo Fox

Larry Amoros

Marion Rosenfeld

Jon Stewart

Richard Belzer

Dennis Leary

Gary Shandling

Lily Tomlin

Bill Maher

Alex Homan

Denee Collay

Sabrina Miller

Debbie Green

Terry Wayne Sanders

Brad Garret

Greg Giraldo

Jeffrey Ross

Don Rickles

Tony Oppedisano

Lucy (Fan)

David Muir

Field Producers

Charles Miller

Seth Keal

Molly Abrams

Archival Research

Rachel Hamilton

Post Production Supervisor

Seth Keal

Production Assistants

Alexa Barrett

Rachel Hamilton

Abe Halpert

Hannah Robbins

Sonia Schnee

Eric Schwager

Max Traber

Annabel Seymour

Line Producer

Ricki Stern

Sound Design

Brad Bergbom

Audio Re-Recording & Mixing Services

Dig it  Audio

Sound Mixer

Tom Efinger

Digital Intermediate Services

Final Frame

Digital Intermediate Colorist

Stewart Griffin

DI Producer

Kristin Molina

Original Songs

Paul Brill and Amber Rubarth

Performed

Paul Brill and Amber Rubarth

Rob Jost - Ukulele, Acoustic Bass, Electric Bass

Noah Lebenzon - Banjo Ukulele

Bill Dobrow - Drums and Percussion

Antoine Silverman - Violin

Sarah Seiver - Cello

Katie Scheele - Oboe

Nuno Antunes - Bass Clarinet, Clarinet

Michael Leonhart - Trumpet

Recorded and Mixed at Casa de Rico y Luca, Brooklyn, NY

Additional Recording at Pyramid Recording, NYC by Robert L. Smith for Defy Recordings, LLC, Assisted by Anna Eliopoulos

Soundtrack available on Scarlet Shame Records

www.scarletshamerecords.com

Production Counsel

Paul Brennan, Esq., Sloss Eckhouse Brennan LawCo LL

Shatzkin & Mayer

Karen Shatzkin

Publicity

42 West

Distribution Advisor:

Josh Braun/ Submarine Entertainment

Insurance

Reiff & Associates

Pun Consultant

Mamrie Hart

THANK YOU:

David Beach

Emerson Bruns

Rachel Dratch

Ana Egge

Amy Foote

Cullen Gallagher

Paul Kloss

Sinead Kinnane

Rusel Parish

Doug Parsons

Bari Pearlman

Dallas Rexer

Toby Shimin

Michael Stern

Marjorie Stern

Michael Tully

Michael Vanderbilt

LOCATIONS and THANKS TO:

GOD’S LOVE WE DELIVER

Flo Fox

George Lange

SLIPPER ROOM

James and Camille

WILLIAM IVEY LONG STUDIOS

William Ivey Long

Brian Mear

WOR, RADIO

Joan Hamburg

Dr. Joy Brown

THE CUTTING ROOM

Jacqueline Crawford

Chip Duckett

Susan Hathaway

Mark Thiry

Steve Walter

Ben Wymer

THE BALMORAL HOTEL, Edinburgh

Matthew Bauman

THE GRAMERCY THEATER

Harvey Leeds

Jorelle Aronovitch

LiveNation

THE KENNEDY CENTER

THE LAURIE BEECHMAN THEATER

West Bank Cafe:

Phil Bond

Kenny Bell

Steve Olsen

THE UNDERBELLY

Edinburgh and Cow

Charlie Wood

Ed Bartlam

TAHOE KEYS MARINA

TV LAND

Valerie Frankel

Robbie Yule

LEICESTER SQUARE THEATER

Martin Witts & Sean Foley

Lesley Ackland

Joe Castagna

Gilda Frost

Anna Gorska

Lindsay Hill

Andrew Ivanov

Simon Kitts

Emily Kosloski

Graham McLusky

Nathan Osgood

Carrie Paff

Mark Phillips

Alice Power

Stuart Slavicky

Paul L Martin

Julie Sproule

Kate Forrester

John Pemberton

Paul Lamputt

Alistair Pullan

Kevin Wilson

Donald Trump

Peter Tilden

Lac Du Flambeau, Wisconson

Lake of the Torches Casino

Mike Broderick

Eddie Sandas

Harrah’s Casino Lake Tahoe

QVC

David Dangle

Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco

Michal Gordon

Madam Tussauds

Castro Theater, San Francisco

Robert Kolotny

Rory Paull

Rrazz Productions

Voltaire Books Key West

Peter Rogers

BRAZILIAN COURT HOTEL, Palm Beach, Fl.

Maureen O’Sullivan

TENNEESEE WILLAMS THEATER, Key West, FL.

SIRIUS RADIO

Howard Stern

Frank Decaro

HARRAH’S CASINO, Lake Tahoe, NV

Butch Austin

Elfie Klementi

DAUGHTERS OF ISRAEL

Peter Tilden

COMEDY CENTRAL

Elizabeth Porter

JJ Klein

The Mall of America

Tara Hunter

MGM Grand at Foxwoods Casino

Jennifer Baker

Mark Burnett

Amy Rosenblum

Barry Poznic

Ben Simms

GIUSEPPE NOVIELLI

MASSIMO IACCARINO

WAYNE RODNEY

Michael Rivers

Z ROCK

Mark Farrell

Mark Efman

Lynne Koplitz

NIGHTLINE

David Muir

Photos Courtesy of:

Joan Rivers

Michael Rivers

ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE

Historic Films Archive, LLC

 NBC

Carson Entertainment Group

Sofa Entertainment

E! Entertainment

PGHM Productions/Tribune Entertainment

The Archive of American Television

Universal Media Inc.

Fox Broadcasting Corp.

Davis Entertainment

Mark Burnett Productions

WETA-TV

Comedy Partners

Mansfield Avenue Productions

Newsweek

Pheonix Gazette

People

Evening Star

The Long Island Press

The Village Voice

OUR SPECIAL THANKS TO

Kevin and Debbie Brennan

Henry Edwards

Martyn Fletcher

Kathy Griffin

Sabrina Miller

Tony Oppedisano

Joceyln Pickett

Graham Reed

Don Rickles

Mellisa Rivers & Cooper

Billy Sammeth

Larry Thompson

Digby Trout

...and of course Ms. Joan Rivers!

© Break Thru Films, Inc. 2010


Also on CBC