Past Film/Video | Documentaries | The Box

Vera Brunner-Sung

Character (2020)

Stream | Artist Residency

Actor Mark Metcalf, lying down on a flat surface, has a sheet pulled over his head

This month The Box presents the latest short film by Ohio State’s Vera Brunner-Sung—a fascinating look at character actor Mark Metcalf’s storied career.

It’s fair to say Metcalf has spent his four-decade career as “The Man.” However, for better or worse, playing aggrieved authority figures in movies (National Lampoon’s Animal House), TV series (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Seinfeld), and music videos (Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It”) have locked him into very specific roles.

Balancing between essay and portrait film, Character takes a critical look back on Metcalf’s life and career in a meditation on power, privilege, and the perils of becoming a “type.” Completed with the support of the center’s Film/Video Studio, Character had its world premiere at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, and a work-in-progress version was screened as part of last year’s Unorthodocs festival at the Wex. (video, 16:47 mins.)

Actor Mark Metcalf, lying down on a flat surface, has a sheet pulled over his head

Character, image courtesy of Vera Brunner-Sung

An image of a face is projected on actor Mark Metcalf's face

Character, image courtesy of Vera Brunner-Sung

Actor Mark Metcalf dressed as a military officer

Character, image courtesy of Vera Brunner-Sung

A portrait of Mark Metcalf and Vera Brunner-Sung seated together

Mark Metcalf and Vera Brunner-Sung, photo: Spencer Lookabaugh

More about the artist

Vera Brunner-Sung chevron-down chevron-up

An Assistant Professor in Ohio State’s Department of Theatre, Film, and Media Arts, Vera Brunner-Sung is a core faculty member of the university’s Moving-Image Production program. Using experimental, documentary, and narrative techniques to explore the relationship between place and identity, her works have been presented at festivals, museums, and galleries in the US and abroad, including Italy’s Torino Film Festival, MoMA PS1 in New York, San Francisco International Film Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, and Toronto’s Images Festival. In addition to making films, Brunner-Sung is a writer and educator, with essays, reviews, and reports appearing in Sight & Sound, Cinema Scope, and Millennium Film Journal. More on the artist’s website.

Cardinal Health
Kaufman Development

Rohauer Collection Foundation

Greater Columbus Arts Council
L Brands Foundation
American Electric Power Foundation
The Columbus Foundation
Ohio Arts Council
Mary and C. Robert Kidder
Bill and Sheila Lambert
Institute of Museum and Library Services
Nationwide Foundation
Adam R. Flatto
Arlene and Michael Weiss

Michael and Paige Crane
Axium Plastics
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Lisa M. Barton
Business Furniture Installations
Our Country Home



Past Film/Video

Vera Brunner-Sung