With her documentary Sneak Preview, director Julie Checkoway hones in on a remarkable case study of a most unusual individual. For ten years, artist-in-training Billy Pappas has been working arduously on a single art project in his parents' attic, while supporting himself with monthly wages from his benefactor. The project involves "recreating" Richard Avedon's iconic photograph of screen siren Marilyn Monroe entirely in lead, with razor-sharpened pencils and powerful magnifying glasses. Pappas's method entails filling in one period-sized space at a time. Pappas's plan is to use the image to force the general public to forever rethink the potential of lead-based sketching and to launch his own career as an artist into hyperdrive by showing the finished product to David Hockney. Checkoway uses the character study to reflect at length on the implications of clinging doggedly to one persistent dream for a lengthy period of time and realizing it, with the final outcome shrouded in fog.
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