NOTE: The original title of this documentary was SPIDER MITES OF JESUS, but it's been changed to simplify it for scrolling thru thumbnails on streaming sites.
Jerry has been the primary emcee for The Richmond International Film Festival for 7 years. There's always a panel of experts who listens to pitches from screenwriters and producers. This year, Jerry decided to step out behind the mic and take a crack at it. Here's the pitch:
When he was an infant, he suffered from the "Spider Mites of Jesus," because his mother couldn't pronounce spinal meningitis. This caused mental challenges that resulted in his lifelong illiteracy. At 13, he began selling his body on the streets as a drag prostitute. When he was arrested, he took a dump in the back of the police car, leading the cops to give him the moniker: Dirtwoman. Since then he's run for mayor, gotten kicked out of the inauguration of America's first black governor (Douglas Wilder), posed for his own pin-up calendar (weighing in at 350 pounds), offered crabs from his crotch for a GWAR video and hosted the annual Hamaganza fundraiser that provided "Hams for the Hamless."
When he died last year at 65, it was on the front page, top-of-the-fold of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and was featured nationally on NPR. I've interviewed more than 60 people from all strata of Richmond's society and combined it with previously unseen video and photos to tell the story of this genuinely sweet character and outrageous Richmond icon: DIRTWOMAN
Two of the Hollywood producers on the panel were excited by the pitch and asked what the title was: He replied "Dirtwoman." What could be more compelling? They were fascinated by "Spider Mites of Jesus" and he took their advice.