The Marina Experiment



The LAB section of the Clermont-Ferrand Film Festival contained the most beautiful discovery, the first film by American director Marina Lutz, eighteen extraordinary and exciting minutes. One is reminded of Yoko Ono’s sad and famous documentary Rape. Marina Lutz presents us with no holds barred Trauma Cinema, reusing the existing nauseating and toxic material (left behind by her father) to give birth to the artist within her…Rarely has found footage revealed so many intimate issues.”

– Thierry Méranger, Cahiers Du Cinema


“The Marina Experiment raises many complex issues, not least the sensitivity and controversy of using children in art. Some see The Marina Experiment as compelling insight into her long-suffered abuse, others as a perversion of her father’s art — that in reversing the lens, Lutz portrays only the most controversial of images and without their context. It is a brilliant piece of filmmaking from somebody who had absolutely no knowledge of how to do it: ‘I did it instinctively,’ Lutz says.”

– Louise Carpenter, Observer Magazine,


“Brutally cut, Marina lays bare the secrets of her abuse, denouncing her father through her own mortification. We’re enthralled by the awful voyeurism, the concept that someone might have violated his daughter’s privacy so fervently. Is The Marina Experiment her father’s cruel ambition realised?”

– Clare Conway, New Statesman

“Mr. Lutz was an obsessive freak, an erotomaniac, a psychological abuser and, possibly, a pedophile.”

– Alejandro Gándara, El Mundo

“The Marina Experiment” redefines the notion of ‘home movie’ … Marina Lutz has combed through the family archives and created a brave and provocative short about parental voyeurism … disturbing echoes of “Capturing the Friedmans” and Michael Powell’s “Peeping Tom.”

– Glenn Lovell, Film Critic/Author (“Escape Artist: The Life and Films of John Sturges”)

“Following her father’s death, Marina Lutz began sorting through and cataloging more than 10,000 photographs, Super 8 home movies, and reel to reel audio tape. As the evidence in the archive slowly mounts, she uncovers a childhood defined by her father’s aggressively obsessive voyeurism and her mother’s passive complicity. Using the footage once gathered to humiliate her, Marina turns the table on her father to create a chilling document of psychological abuse and fractured survival while also serving as a reminder that many bruises are deep, unseen, but no less damaging.”

– John Ginn, DaVinci Film Festival

“The Marina Experiment is the result of over 10,000 photos and hours of home footage that Marina Lutz’s father made of the director during her upper class upbringing in 1960s and 1970s Manhattan. A both eerie and infinitely fascinating archive that she herself has now sorted out and reassembled. Her father’s transgressive voyeurism is turned against himself, while a courageous self portrait simultaneously grows out of the almost incestuously intimate ‘home movies’. The result is a family exposé that can’t be shaken off that easily, and which in an intelligent and absolutely unique way raises the question about the right to not be seen – a question that has become even more relevant in the meantime.”

– Mads Mikkelson, CPH:DOX Copenhagen Int’l Film Festival

“The Marina Experiment is extremely NSFW and distills down into 17 minutes a lifetime of child abuse. It is a stunning and deserving film.”

– Mike Everleth, Bad Lit (The Journal of Underground Film)

“Creepy, amazing and weird, in a good way!!”

– NYSCA (New York State Council of the Arts)

“As a young girl, Marina Lutz was the object of her father’s obsession. Throughout the 1960s and ’70s, Abbot Lutz snapped more than 10,000 photographs of his daughter, shot endless reels of Super 8 footage of her playing around the house, and recorded hours upon hours of tape in which he verbally probed every aspect of her existence – yet through it all, he remained emotionally distant. In this documentary short, Marina looks back on the archives of her life while recalling just how it felt to be greeted by a camera lens or a microphone at the most inopportune moments.”

– Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide

“A violently honest shortdoc featuring home video footage taken by the director’s late father, a man who had a few things to hide. Although the editing is very rough and has a distinct “home made” feel to it, the effect of the film is nonetheless haunting.”

– J.R., Lovedox

“Many of the filmmakers at the Melbourne Underground Film Festival are passionate about their projects, films made on low budgets and on very personal levels. And they don’t get more personal than The Marina Experiment. Made up entirely of photos and home movies, the film documents the unhealthy obsession of Abbot Lutz with his daughter, director Marina Lutz. For 16 years, she endured psychological abuse from her father, and the wounds apparently have yet to heal; her emotional response during the post-screening Q&A was every bit as harrowing as the film itself.”

– Ernesto Zelaya, UrbanCinefile

“…a subtle view of non-physical child abuse. I remain convinced that her work is of great import and her rendering superb. I believe she seeks to fearlessly confront the subtle nature of abuse and the mercilessly complex blood trail that leads to the victims. Everyone should view this work.”

– Guy Neal Williams,