PART 2 OF 2
Stuart Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
[Anthony Brunelli, Gallery Owner] We've had this show planned in L.A. for a couple months.
So it's really ironic that the Wednesday before the opening is this 60 Minutes footage.
I think it will be fun. There will be a kind of a festive, party atmosphere.
We're not going into this with negative attitudes. We're going into this looking at it as partial vacation, getting away. What a great time to get away.
[Mark Olmstead, Marla's father] We're looking forward to the whole thing. I think it's gonna be fun. And I think it's ... It'll be a good thing, a good event, after our big event with 60 Minutes. Let everybody come see Marla's work.
[Laura Olmstead, Marla's mother] [To Marla] Too many people?
[Marla] Where are we going now?
[Mark Olmstead, Marla's father] We're going to go to Stuart's. Why are we going to Stuart's?
[Marla] To have a party.
[Mark Olmstead, Marla's father] What kind of party?
[Marla] I don't know. Just a party.
[Mark Olmstead, Marla's father] An art party?
[Marla] I don't know.
[Mark Olmstead, Marla's father] Whose art's on the wall? Tony's?
[Mark Olmstead, Marla's father] You, that's right.
Some day, it will be Marla and Zane. Zane's going to be a sculptor. Right, Zane?
[Marla] He already paints.
[Mark Olmstead, Marla's father] Zane will do interpretive dance.
[Marla] One of the ...
one of my paintings ...
[Amir Bar-Lev] That's my specialty.
[Mark Olmstead, Marla's father] You have to see it.
Especially when you're drinking, right? Well, look at you, you sharp guy. Did you run out of space, sharp-dressed man?
[Marla] Dad? Dad?
[Mark Olmstead, Marla's father] Yes, love.
[Marla] He painted one. I didn't paint it.
[Mark Olmstead, Marla's father] Zane does paint. You're right.
[Marla] I didn't paint any part.
[Mark Olmstead, Marla's father] What's that?
[Marla] Zane just painted the painting.
[Mark Olmstead, Marla's father] Cool.
[Marla] I didn't do anything on it.
[Mark Olmstead, Marla's father] Zane's a painter, too.
[Marla] The green one is Zane's.
[Newswoman] Clearly, Marla Olmstead has the sense of wonder and innocence ...
you'd expect from any 4-year-old.
But now, some are wondering if she might have had some help with her artwork.
[Newsman] Is 4-year-old painter, Maria Olmstead, a prodigy?
[Newswoman] Some question the authenticity of the artwork.
[Parents insist child painted costly artwork]
[Elizabeth Cohen, Columnist -- The Press & Sun Bulletin] It was all over. That was it. That was all she wrote.
All these papers, around the world, around the country, carried the story.
It was like, the father is the painter.
[Mark Olmstead, Marla's father] No, I don't paint for her. Yes, I've urged her.
The one time I did it was in the basement, with that camera.
And I was not myself and I was awful, and I felt terrible about it.
[Newswoman] Marla's dad, Mark, also dabbles in paint ...
and reports have suggested he may have doctored his daughter's drawings.
[Mark Olmstead, Marla's father] We're not going to fall into that type of trap again.
[Anthony Brunelli, Gallery Owner] A bunch of collectors called, who had bought paintings, and, obviously, they need to be reassured.
[Jackie Wescott, Marla Collector] I don't even know how to put it into words, because words really cannot describe how I'm feeling.
[Mark Olmstead, Marla's father] Marla has been the sole creator of her work.
[Laura Olmstead, Marla's mother] No one has touched any paint to her canvasses.
[Anthony Brunelli, Gallery Owner] You know, my reputation is on the line here, as well.
[Elizabeth Cohen, Columnist -- The Press & Sun Bulletin] Laura told me she felt like they just had a black mark on them around town, now.
She said she really felt like they were almost demonized.
And that the community bought it.
[Subject: Shame on you.
A special little place
spam Summary 11/18/2005
BE BLESSED & REPLY]
[Ins@yahoo.jp] "Dear Parents, congratulations! You really know how to do business. Ripping off rich, pseudo-intellectuals is pure genius. Simply fabulous scam. Without prejudice, An Observer!
[email@example.com] You are a lying piece of crap. And even though you are fooling the right people, you will have to answer to God one day. Shame on you.
[firstname.lastname@example.org ] There will be a special little place in hell for Marla's parents. I guess it's ok for some of the scammed money to go the kid's college fund, but put some aside for therapy when she gets old enough to see what they've done with her. The basement wasn't the problem. The horse shit story is the problem.
[Tim and Michelle Belham, email@example.com
] It was quite obvious to me that you doctored up the other artwork. Sad that you are using your daughter like this. If I were the people who bought her past artwork I would demand my money back.
[__] Please, for the love of God, post a running tally of negative emails you receive like mine. I do love your quote on 60 Minutes, it sounded so French! "Oh my daughter is a true artist, ah, ah, ah, she cannot paint for you bourgeois peons under the glare of a hidden camera. We cannot understand this, ah, ah, ah, this has never happened before to her, you are ruining her creativity. Get a clue. Bob.
[Les Blenchorn, LesBlenchorn@msn.com
] As an art critic I have what I feel is some very valuable advice for you. Don't turn your daughter into a fraud! Art collectors do not spend tens of thousands of dollars to be defrauded. Your glee in making money will soon evaporate under the weight of many many lawsuits that are already in the works. I have heard that the Binghamton Police Department and the FBI are already starting investigations into your daughter's "art".
[__] I think that there should be an investigation. And I also think that the father looks very strange. He looked mentally disturbed.
[firstname.lastname@example.org] It may not be too late to back out of your predicament, but from what I saw on 60 Minutes you are a very stupid guy (yes you Dad the real artist) and you will probably stick to your guns until you are so far behind bars that they have to pump you oxygen. Well Marla can visit you in prison and paint you getting serviced by Leon, your 300 lb. "boyfriend."
[__] Marla's parents apparently gave her a helping hand in the creation and finishing of the paintings. I really don't care if they do or not, it's just sad that they compete with their own 4-year-old daughter if that's the case. Gee mom and dad, if its abstract, why are you messing with it, and telling her what and where to paint? Or maybe they just couldn't cut it in the art scene themselves, so they needed a gimmick? Who knows.
[__] Looks like Marla doesn't really do the paintings. She is a victim of greedy, fraudulent parents. Such a sweet kid. Makes me sick.
[__] Wow. Basically Marla's parents created them all and she is a big fake. People will do anything for money but anyone that would use their own child like this should be put in jail. I hope they return all the money the paintings have sold for.
[__] The sad thing here is the only one who is being hurt here is Marla while her parents cash in and capture the glory of attention ... shame on them. I hope someone in the media see my posts and view the tapings again ... SHAME!
[Elizabeth Cohen, Columnist -- The Press & Sun Bulletin] Right before 60 Minutes, I talked to Anthony on the phone.
And he said, "I'm thinking of running for Mayor of Binghamton. Some people have approached me, and I think the arts are going to be what saves the city."
After 60 Minutes, he was thinking about leaving town.
[Binghamton Public Access] Hey, how's the Marla artist going?
Still selling a lot of Marla paintings, Anthony?
[Anthony Brunelli, Gallery Owner] Turn off the camera.
[Binghamton Public Access] Do you think that Marla really paints those?
[Anthony Brunelli, Gallery Owner] I am not going to answer any of your questions.
I don't need to answer you.
[Binghamton Public Access] Why are you so angry?
[Anthony Brunelli, Gallery Owner] I don't want to be filmed. I don't want to be filmed.
You don't even know your facts, and that's your problem.
You're lucky I don't sue you for slander. You're so lucky I don't.
But I don't wanna deal with vermin like you.
[Binghamton Public Access] Truth is a defense.
[Anthony Brunelli, Gallery Owner] Turn off the camera!
[Elizabeth Cohen, Columnist -- The Press & Sun Bulletin] From the very beginning, you were kind of a wild card ...
because you weren't from a network.
You weren't going to be putting them on the evening news.
You were a guy who just wanted to make his own film.
What attracted you to it?
[Amir Bar-Lev] I saw it as a film about modern art. 60 Minutes took me completely by surprise.
I had totally accepted that Marla was doing the paintings.
[Laura Olmstead, Marla's mother] This is where the camera was, up here.
And they had it wired so that, in the laundry room, you could turn it on and off.
And then the painting had to be stationary.
There's one of Mark's paintings.
[Elizabeth Cohen, Columnist -- The Press & Sun Bulletin] They trust you. Obviously they do, or they wouldn't be letting you do it at this point.
[Amir Bar-Lev] They're expecting that this film is going to exonerate them.
[Elizabeth Cohen, Columnist -- The Press & Sun Bulletin] Redemption factor.
[Amir Bar-Lev] Yeah, and 60 Minutes raised some doubts in my mind.
And I haven't been 100% honest about having these doubts.
So now, yeah, they think that this film is going to clear their names.
[Elizabeth Cohen, Columnist -- The Press & Sun Bulletin] They want you to film a painting from start to finish.
[Amir Bar-Lev] Yeah.
[Elizabeth Cohen, Columnist -- The Press & Sun Bulletin] Of course they do. And put it on TV.
[Amir Bar-Lev] And I'm ready to do it. I need that for my film, too.
[Mark Olmstead, Marla's father] I wanna clear the air.
I don't want to hear any more about what a bad person I am, what bad parents we are.
Because it's so inaccurate.
And that's why I'm saying, "Film her." Let's do it the right way.
If you can't get it, let Laura get it, or myself.
Let's do it the right way, if that's what it takes to make people happy.
[Laura Olmstead, Marla's mother] I mean, it sounds ridiculous, but you guys should sleep over some night. And just be ...
We wake up and we have breakfast. That's how it goes. We wake up. We have breakfast. We hang out in our jammies.
She doesn't get dressed because she's going to get messy, and she gets in her underwear, and she paints.
[Marla] I'm not gonna paint.
[Laura Olmstead, Marla's mother] I feel pretty good about working with you.
It will be a gift for Marla, because we've been portrayed in the media so many crazy ways, and I think this will show her a more accurate representation of what was going on, what our thought processes were, and we really did have her best interests in mind, and we just love her so much.
And I hope it comes across. Because I don't remember that much from when I was four or five. You could tell me all kinds of things, and I would believe you.
Even though I do have good feelings about you, I still have moments where I'm like ...
"Wait a minute. Does he have some kind of ulterior motive?"
I opened myself up to you.
You know, I choose to trust you. So ...
[Marla] Zane. Do you want to paint?
[Mark Olmstead, Marla's father] You want me to get Zane a canvas?
[Mark Olmstead, Marla's father] Okay, then you can both do your own.
[Marla] Well, Zane's won't be in the art show.
[Mark Olmstead, Marla's father] That's true, it won't be in the art show.
[Marla] I'm done with the painting, Daddy.
[Mark Olmstead, Marla's father] Okay.
[Marla] You can put those back in the pile.
[Amir Ben-Lev] I just spent the day with the Olmsteads ...
trying to get the footage of Marla painting one of her paintings, beginning to end. This documentary has become something different, and I've been telling everybody how great it is for the film, that this potential scandal has come up. And right now, driving back, I'm not feeling that way. I'm feeling sad and conflicted. If they're lying, they're lying incredibly well. It's such a sad thing, if it exists, and I really, really hope it doesn't. I'd rather be stupid and not know about this kind of stuff. And it was only tonight that I realized ...
I'm going to have to call some people liars, who, on the face of it, are, like, the nicest people.
What's my investment in it? So people will think ...
I'm a great filmmaker, or whatever. You know? Why do I care?
[Anthony Brunelli, Gallery Owner] Sales have, kind of, come to a stop. They have interest, but I haven't sold a painting since two days prior to the airing of 60 Minutes.
[Laura Olmstead, Marla's mother] It slowed down the demand for the artwork, which, personally, I feel is a blessing. I really do.
The whole 60 Minutes episode was terrible.
It was such an awful portrayal of us, as a family.
But I remember the night that it aired ...
I caught myself just laying in bed smiling, with almost relief, that it was over.
Mark feels we were wrongfully, financially injured. Which we probably were, but at the same time, we kind of ... I mean, the money came, not through any hard work, or dreams, or anything of our own. It just sort of happened. So, things that just happen like that can very easily un-happen. And they did, and I'm fine with it.
[Anthony Brunelli, Gallery Owner] One of the things it made me do, is refocus myself on my own paintings. I felt like I had too much involvement with Marla.
It was too many responsibilities with Marla's career that I've kind of pulled back.
I mean, I have my gallery. I represent her when her work is here ...
and I've done all that I've done now, and it's time maybe for somebody else to kind of step in and take the leads with that, and I'm definitely happy with that.
One of the great things about Marla is that people are questioning. And, you know, in a roundabout way, that was really my whole intention from the very beginning. I've always felt that modern art ...
is somewhat of a scam.
I've been a realist painter all of my life, and I'm a photorealist painter. And there are times it can take me nine months to do a painting, and then you read about auctions and records set at Christie's and Sotheby's ...
for these abstract paintings with swatches of paint like this and that, and they're selling for millions of dollars.
You know, the most I've ever sold a painting for was $100,000, which is a lot of money. It's an awful lot of money. But when you look at the amount of time that I've put into that painting compared to what some of these paintings are selling for, that I don't get.
That I just don't get, because my kid could do that.
When I came across Marla's work, it was almost like a gift from God.
It was almost like me saying, you know, "Screw you, modern art world, I've got something for you." Now, finally, I've got an in to this world that I've never understood. Where I've never understood this abstract work and the value that it's gotten, I do understand the value of marketing and how it is that ... Why one person's painting could be $1 million, and another person's painting could be $100.
And they could be the same type of painting.
That's when it all started coming together. I said,
"I think I have history in the making here.
And I have something that is going to turn the art world on its ear.
And if I do this right, I'll succeed in that. And I did it right. And I called the right people ...
and I got the right kind of attention.
And it would have continued on, but it stopped because of the 60 Minutes piece. The paintings stopped selling, basically.
[Elizabeth Cohen, Columnist -- The Press & Sun Bulletin] They could have just rolled over and died, you know? But, I mean, really, they had to respond.
The story got taken away from them by 60 Minutes. So now this is about owning the story back.
They had to make a DVD from start to finish of a painting, because Charlie Rose was saying, "You couldn't."
[Statement Regarding Questions Brought by 60 Minutes: Marla is the sole creator of her artwork. As a shy child, she is reluctant to paint for the camera. Despite having extensive footage of Marla painting, 60 Minutes asked the Olmsteads for a "start-to-finish" video of Marla working on a piece. A stationary hidden camera was installed in the home, but logistics dictated that it be set up in the basement, an area where Marla had become unaccustomed to working. Marla disliked painting in the basement and several times during the process, asked to paint in another part of the house.]
[Anthony Brunelli, Gallery Owner] This is wonderful.
Mark and Laura did five hours of videotape of Marla painting.
The footage now is really great because it's start to finish.
It's all the stuff you didn't see on 60 Minutes.
And I think that they should have some sort of retraction. They almost will have to.
So it's great now because we have control.
We're ready to make our counter-attack, if you will.
[Mark Olmstead, Marla's father] We released this to show people, okay, this is the process. And that people who are on the fence are gonna say, "Okay, this helps the story and this makes more sense."
[Woman] I would send a copy to one of the competitive networks and say, "You know, fair is fair. Why don't you do an investigation using some of our film and stuff as a follow-up? And go up there and also interview." I think it would be a fascinating Primetime Live or something like that.
[Woman] My initial inclination was to send it to every competitor to CBS. But I am the largest collector of Marla's pieces.
How is that going to be viewed by people, if I do something? When you calm down, and at the end of the day you say, "Come on, don't stoop to their level."
I really do believe in taking the high road.
[Stuart Simpson, Marla Collector] I agree, we have to take the high road in this thing. We have to be better than them. But the one issue, and Mark brought it up, and Tony brought it up, when this piece aired two days before my gallery opened, a lot of people were saying, "Well, she didn't do the work. Well ..." And I don't know how many hundreds of thousands of dollars I lost in sales because of this inaccurate reporting on Charlie Rose.
[Mark Olmstead, Marla's father] All right, here's the beginning.
[Laura Olmstead, Marla's mother] Mark's pacing.
[Anthony Brunelli, Gallery Owner] Did you show this to Janet yet?
[Laura Olmstead, Marla's mother] We gave her a copy. We wanted everyone that mattered to have a copy.
[Stuart Simpson, Marla Collector] That's cool.
[Marla] That makes pretty colors.
Where's the dark blue?
[Anthony Brunelli, Gallery Owner] The fact of the matter is, there may never be any film crew that will ever be able to get what the parents get.
[Laura Olmstead, Marla's mother] This one?
[Anthony Brunelli, Gallery Owner] Because watching Marla in that video almost feels like a voyeur.
[Laura Olmstead, Marla's mother] What do you say?
[Marla] Thank you.
[Man] I like the little Mickey Mouse ears.
[Anthony Brunelli, Gallery Owner] It was exciting for me to actually be in the same room with you when you watched Ocean for the first time. Because I've always felt that you have been neutral. You kept your, kind of, opinion to yourself. But I don't think anybody who can watch this footage could come out of it feeling anything other than the fact that Marla completely does these paintings.
[Anthony Brunelli, Gallery Owner] And I would admit, that 60 Minutes painting was not as strong as the others. Ocean, on the other hand, I think, is right up there.
[Anthony Brunelli, Gallery Owner] I can't tell you the excitement of having this show and being able to debut the DVD. Anybody that walks in here, sees this work and watches that DVD, I don't think there's a person that can walk out of these doors feeling anything but the fact that she is, truly, I mean, I really feel that she's a genius.
I mean, she really is. It boggles my mind each time I get a new painting. And they're all so different. Yet, they're all Marla's. You can definitely see her thumb in every single one of them.
That one is called Gorgeous and that's $20,000.
That almost looks like a Dali.
And then the triptych is $20,000 as well, the three-panel piece.
Sick Teeth is $11,500.
This is At the Lake.
[Woman] "At the Lake."'
[Anthony Brunelli, Gallery Owner] I think it looks like a Monet.
[Woman] Yeah, this is, like, from the water. I like Monet a lot.
[Anthony Brunelli, Gallery Owner] And then this is the one on the DVD. I like it.
This is where she's starting to get a little bit more figurative.
[Woman] Kathleen says, "Don't get the one with the Mickey Mouse."
[Man] Well, that's why you buy it.
[Woman] That's why you buy it.
[Man] Because she said not to.
[Anthony Brunelli, Gallery Owner] Who said that?
[Woman] My daughter-in-law. She was looking at the pictures, she said, "Oh, I like all of them." Ocean was the one, she said. Because of the Mickey Mouse ears, she said, "It looks like Mickey Mouse."
[Anthony Brunelli, Gallery Owner] This is on the DVD, so this painting becomes special.
[Anthony Brunelli, Gallery Owner] This becomes almost like a landmark painting.
[Woman] This is easy on the eyes. This one.
I look at that, and my mind is working hard. It's not relaxing.
[Anthony Brunelli, Gallery Owner] What's going to happen is .... I know what's going to happen. If this doesn't sell opening night, people are going to go watch this DVD, and then they're going to come back and say ... Because they're going to see how this little girl created it.
And you will be so amazed when you see how she created it.
[Man] Why don't you buy it?
[Woman] Because it doesn't look like the same person's painted it. It looks like it was painted by ... I mean, I know it wasn't. It's just different than ... It's different from the normal painting that she does.
[Anthony Brunelli, Gallery Owner] I don't know if you remember, the expert did say in the very beginning ...
"This kid could be right in the Metropolitan and you could get away with it." Whatever. This stuff is amazing. Clearly this is her.
So now it goes back to, this kid belongs in the Metropolitan.
[Man] That's on the DVD. Works for me.
[Woman] Well, I suppose I'll get the Mickey Mouse one, and my daughter-in-law will just never talk to me again.
[Man] Is that your choice?
[Woman] I guess.
[Woman] I guess, yeah.
[Anthony Brunelli, Gallery Owner] Congratulations. In my opinion, you picked the right one.
All right. See you tomorrow.
August 12, 2005
[Laura Olmstead, Marla's mother] It's amazing how quickly the 60 Minutes piece has receded in our minds.
We've survived. Everything's okay and just, sort of, it's a relief. It's over.
[Elizabeth Cohen, Columnist -- The Press & Sun Bulletin] So, it seems like controversy is a positive thing. When I found out she was having another show, I felt like ...
"Wow, you know, catch your breath and think about this."
I mean, in one year, a girl has been globally famous and then debunked. And now she's getting famous again.
And it just seems like, doesn't every child deserve a childhood?
Isn't that one of those inalienable rights?
To just be a child?
She doesn't need to be on TV anymore. She doesn't need to be in a movie.
[Amir Bar-Lev] So, if you were in my position ...
[Elizabeth Cohen, Columnist -- The Press & Sun Bulletin] Well, I did just kind of jump on you, there.
[Amir Bar-Lev] No, that's okay.
[Elizabeth Cohen, Columnist -- The Press & Sun Bulletin] And I'm sorry about that, but it has occurred to me that this is a continuation of what's happened to her. You're going to make a documentary about this little girl ...
and it's just like, one more throwing Marla out there.
It's kind of, at a certain point, like being thrown to the wolves.
And by the way, mea culpa. Because I'm just another person who's writing about Marla. I think I've written my last column about it.
I followed the arc of the story, but I feel like the story's reached its logical conclusion for this reporter at this time.
[Anthony Brunelli, Gallery Owner] They've opened their lives. I've opened my life. We're an open slate to you. What, specifically, are you looking for now? That's kind of where I'm at a loss because ...
Is it ... Where are you going with it now? What is it?
If you were to walk out of here today, and the Olmsteads called you up and said ...
"Whatever you want. What is it that you want? Let's do it." What is that?
[Amir Bar-Lev] I want footage of Marla painting.
That will put my doubts to rest.
[Anthony Brunelli, Gallery Owner] Yeah, yeah. It's, you know ... The problem that we have here ...
and it's happening with you now, which I didn't think it was going to happen, is that I think that ... Everybody's trying to shape the story into something that they want it to be. And not letting the story be what it is.
[Mark Olmstead, Marla's father] That's like your wand, isn't it?
[Marla] Your turn to do it.
[Mark Olmstead, Marla's father] No.
[Marla] You, paint a face.
I'll tell you what to do.
[Mark Olmstead, Marla's father] You'll tell me? You'll coach me? I'll have to get my own to do that.
[Marla] Then go get one.
All right, just help me dude.
Or tell me to be done or help. What one? Pick.
[Mark Olmstead, Marla's father] Marla.
[Marla] I'm only going to do one of those things.
[Mark Olmstead, Marla's father] You do what you want, sweetheart.
[Marla] You have to tell me what to do right now.
[Mark Olmstead, Marla's father] You see, here's a good comment for this is, you see when she knows what's going on. You can get a sense of what's happening, like compared to what Laura shot. And when she starts talking and says, "You do it. You make a face."
That's exactly what 60 Minutes decided to air. So ... And that's never the way she paints. Well, excuse me, that is the way she paints when she's playing and having her way with me. So it's kind of funny. She says funny things all the time, but when you're on camera, forget about it.
For all we know, it's true, but it's not. So it's kind of funny.
But that's ... I don't want this documentary to be about 60 Minutes. Although it seems like everybody wants to talk about 60 Minutes. But I'm not.
Because I don't talk about it ever until you guys are around.
[To Laura on the phone] They got the footage they needed.
She's telling me to do a face on it, and telling me to paint on the painting and stuff like that. All the stuff you love. She was just saying, "You do it."
But I wasn't asking her to do anything. She was just being silly.
[Amir Bar-Lev] I have something I want to say, first of all, which is this. Putting you guys in this situation is painful for me. But, okay, basically what it comes down to, just to be 100% candid, is that, to me, if Mark helped a little bit here and there, in some way, I could see that explaining what really went on, if you had to explain the complexity of just like ... Yeah, occasionally, like, I'll say, "Hey, how about a little bit over here?" Or whatever. I'm not putting words in your mouth, but it would be really hard to explain on the stage of The Jane Pauley Show. "Do you help her at all?" Whatever, it's easier to just say no. And I mean, I don't know. Am I completely off base?
[Laura Olmstead, Marla's mother] I think so. I mean, I think it's wrong.
[Mark Olmstead, Marla's father] I mean, all I can think about is when she started. You know? And this was a lot of the interviews in the beginning, "Did you have any real help or influence?" I said, "I'm pretty much her assistant." I used to tell her not to push the brush, but to pull it. So I mean, was that the type of stuff that had happened.
There's that small element, but from a direction standpoint, how do you direct a child to make a crazy abstract painting? You can't really do it. You know? Had I had some kind of influence, all the paintings would go pretty quickly, but there are some that just sit there.
[Laura Olmstead, Marla's mother] What do you mean?
[Mark Olmstead, Marla's father] Like the painting that she has in there. If she wants to do it, she'll do it.
[Laura Olmstead, Marla's mother] I didn't know quite what you meant by, "All the paintings would go pretty quickly."
[Mark Olmstead, Marla's father] If I said, "Marla, why don't you do this?" Or, "Marla, this is a great idea," then, first of all, she probably wouldn't ...
[Laura Olmstead, Marla's mother] I would never, ever, I mean especially ... At the beginning it wasn't even in our thoughts or in our minds. But I would never, ever, ever ...
allow him to influence her. You know what I mean? What?
[Mark Olmstead, Marla's father] That's very true. You can only get a glimpse of that, but there's no ... Laura has been adamant about that.
She's been adamant about that prior, well prior, to any of this becoming the deal that it is.
[Amir Bar-Lev] I guess I feel as though some of the paintings seem to have big ideas. You know, big, kind of, adult-type ideas. And then, the footage that we've gotten, it just doesn't make it seem like that's how she paints.
[Laura Olmstead, Marla's mother] We did that one. Ocean is start to finish.
[Amir Bar-Lev] I think the feeling I had is that Ocean, and the other one that was done on 60 Minutes, that some of them look like they have more polish than others.
[Laura Olmstead, Marla's mother] I don't think Ocean shows less polish. But I don't know what polish is, either.
[Mark Olmstead, Marla's father] I thought Ocean, some of the things she did in Ocean, were really, really great.
Some of the ways she did. And I'm naive or I'm just ... I don't know. I'm not an art expert, by any means.
[Laura Olmstead, Marla's mother] It's not about art to me, though. It's about my family's reputation.
I need you to believe me.
I mean, that's what I'm after. I want to take a polygraph.
I do. I want to get this done. I never want to revisit it again in my life.
And I don't think I would ever allow someone ...
to come in and dissect us again. I really don't. It's just not fair to ... You know what? It was ...
Mark and I are adults and we can handle it.
It's so unfair of us to put our family, as a whole, up to this.
What have I done to my children?
Putting them through this?
What kills me is we put ourselves here. You know?
[Mark Olmstead, Marla's father] We did it again.
[Laura Olmstead, Marla's mother] It's so stupid.
[Mark Olmstead, Marla's father] Right.
I don't think we're stupid. A bit naive.
[Laura Olmstead, Marla's mother] [Crying] I never cry.
[Mark Olmstead, Marla's father] I know.
[Amir Bar-Lev] I'm sorry that I brought this into your house.
[Laura Olmstead, Marla's mother] It's documentary gold.
[Michael Kimmelman, Chief Art Critic, The New York Times] Cartier-Bresson, the photographer, used to say that photographing people was appalling. That it was some sort of violation of them. It was even barbaric, he said. Because you were, essentially, stealing something from them. You were imposing something on them.
He sensed the inherent unfairness of this transaction. All writers, all storytellers are imposing their own narrative on something. I mean, all art, in some ways, is a lie.
It looks like a picture of something, but it isn't that thing. It's a representation of that thing.
Your documentary is, on some level, going to be a lie. It's your construction of things.
I mean, I'll say that right now, if you'd like. It's true.
I mean, your documentary is, itself, going to be a lie. It's a construction of things. It's how you wish to represent the truth, and how you've decided to tell a particular story. By that, I don't mean that certain things don't happen. Of course they do.
It's not that there's no such thing as truth. But we come to like and trust a certain story ...
not necessarily because it's the most, absolutely truthful ...
but because it's a thing that we tell ourselves which makes sense of the world at least at this moment.
[Elizabeth Cohen, Columnist -- The Press & Sun Bulletin] To me, in my mind, it's a story about what happens with stories. This 4-year-old girl, who is now five, has had world fame, plus she's had an expose.
The whole story, really, is about grownups. It's really not about this kid.
She's just a little girl, painting in her house.
Produced and directed by Amir Bar-Lev
[Newsman] And finally today is Marla Olmstead. Now Olmstead is a 6-year-old painter.
Six years old.
Last week, she had her solo show, and it was a big week.
She also graduated from kindergarten.
The asking price for her paintings? $25,000. Just wait till she gets to be 12.
Executive Producer: John Battsek
Co-Executive Producer: Andrew Ruhemann
Executive Producer for the BBC: Richard Klein
Co-Producer: Stephen Dunn
Associate Producer: Sara Nolan
Editors: Michael Levin, John Walter
Directors of Photography: Matt Boyd, Nelson Hume, Bill Turnley
Additional Editing: Anne Alvergue, Penelope Falk, Liam Lawyer, Aaron Lubarsky, Trevor Ristow, Gabriel Rhodes
Online Editor/Color Correction: Will Cox, Final Frame
Assistant Onlien Editor: Sandy Patch
Animation: Anthony Kraus, Noisy Neighbor Productions, Stefan Nadelman, Tourist Pictures
Post Production Supervisor: Chris Kenneally
Additional Camera: Amir Bar-Lev, Bryan Donnell, Guy Florita, Jason Lelchuk, Rachel Libert, Jenna Rosher, Latch Soomekh, John Walter, Dan Zappin
Sound Recordist: Ryan Carroll
Post Production Sound: 701 Sound, Marlena Grzaslewicz, Marlusz Glabinski, Ira Spiegel
Mix Facility: Tandem Sound NYC
Re-Recording Mixer: Eric Offlin
Dobly Sound Consultant: Paul Sacco
Research and Clearances: Jessica Berman-Bogdan, Holly Cara Price
Archival Consultant: Carl Deal
Archival Material Courtesy of: ABC News - 20/20, BBC Motion Gallery, F.I.L.M. Archives, Steve Garlock, Getty Images, ITN Archive, Dr. J. Fred MacDonald, Streamline Films, UCLA Film and Television Archive, WBNG-TV, WIVT, WSTM
Art by Robert Motherwell
is © Dedalus Foundation, Inc.
Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY