Morgan Capps is a filmmaker based in Santa Fe, NM. She studied film at Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, where she served as a Continuing Studies Fellow from 2013-2015. Her work in documentary storytelling has covered the lives of coal miners struggling against a shifting economy in Appalachia to Native American food movements taking root across the U.S. After moving to Santa Fe in 2015 to work on another
film, Morgan quickly fell in love with the motley crew at Meow Wolf and turned her camera on them. This is her directorial debut.
Jilann Spitzmiller is an award winning filmmaker and educator with
credits including SHAKESPEARE BEHIND BARS which premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival and picked up 11 festival
awards. Jilann’s work has been shown on outlets such as NBC, PBS, BBC, Sundance Channel, Starz/Encore, Canal + and Al Jazeera. She co-directed and co-produced CRITICAL CONDITION which aired on POV. Her film STILL
DREAMING premiered at DOCNYC and aired on PBS in 2018. She has also created two critically acclaimed doc projects for National PBS, HOMELAND and CIRCLE OF STORIES. She is a 3-time recipient of ITVS funding and a 2-time recipient of Sundance Institute funding. She has been a Sundance Documentary Fellow and is frequently a mentor and presenter for organizations such as NALIP Producer’s Academy, Oregon Doc Camp and Berkeley Advanced Media Institute.
In the early days of the collective, the Meow Wolf artists would all gather late at night for what they called “Throw Downs.” The drill was, people would amble into the warehouse after a shift of doing food delivery, or whatever they had as a day/night job, and would just begin to work with the materials that happened to be available – house paint, glue, refuse from the dumpster at Salvation Army. As an artist, you never knew what you would find, and you never knew what you were going to make. But you knew you would probably have a good time doing it.
Putting together this massive ensemble piece spanning more than 10 years with so many different facets and perspectives has at times felt to us like a cinematic Throw Down. Just when we thought we’d dug up every last bit of archival footage, someone would text us saying, ‘Hey, I have this old drive full of videos, do you want it?’ We had a veritable treasure trove of material – from casual cell phone videos to full-on animations – that the group had created over the past decade. And with each new piece, the spirit of Meow Wolf began to emerge. As we threaded them together with in-depth and surprisingly candid interviews, the film took on the maximalist quality for which Meow Wolf is so famous. We wanted the film’s aesthetic to truly echo the raucous energy and creative daring that’s engrained in the collective’s culture. And as storytellers, we felt that continual struggle between chaos and order, a dynamic that lies at the very heart of Meow Wolf’s prodigious creative endeavors.
Making Meow Wolf: Origin Story has been an inspiring journey, as we’ve delved into how a group of millennial artists has managed to collaborate from the humblest of beginnings to unexpected, immeasurable success. Meow Wolf is continually asking themselves, ‘What does success look like – does it look like where we are now? Are we doing it well enough? What more can we do?’ That drive to “get it right” has permeated our experience making the film and we hope that you enjoy this wild ride.