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Feels Good Man
Directed by Arthur Jones
United States | 2020 | 92 min

Four short years ago, the election of Donald Trump exposed a seismic cultural rift in the U.S., and the country suddenly felt like a very different place. For underground cartoonist Matt Furie, this sensation was even more surreal: his comic Pepe the Frog, conceived more than a decade earlier as a laid-back cartoon, had unwittingly become a grotesque political pawn. Though Pepe was first innocently co-opted as a meme in the MySpace era, he later became a totem of the alt-right, deployed by white supremacists and school shooters, and declared a hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League. Today, just months ahead of the 2020 presidential election, Pepe remains a potent and confounding symbol. In a cultural and political landscape dominated by trolling, misinformation, and Q-anon conspiracies, understanding Pepe’s transformation is more urgent than ever. FEELS GOOD MAN is a Frankenstein-meets-Alice in Wonderland journey of an artist battling to regain control of his creation, while confronting a toxic cast of characters (including Alex Jones and Richard Spencer) who have their own peculiar attachments to Pepe. Now, as the meaning of Pepe continues to morph around the world, FEELS GOOD MAN offers a vivid, moving portrait of one man, one frog, and the courage required to fight back against the forces tearing our society apart.

When indie comic character Pepe the Frog becomes an unwitting icon of hate, his creator fights to bring Pepe back from the darkness. A Frankenstein-meets-Alice in Wonderland journey of an artist battling to regain control of his creation.

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The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.