February 24, 2009 13:29 ET

World of Wonders: VisionTV Documentary Series Driven By Vision Travels the Back Roads to Meet the Visionary Creators of Strange and Wonderful Handmade Shrines

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 24, 2009) -

Editors Note: A photo and video are included with this press release.

Towering cathedrals of recycled junk. Castles built by hand, with stones dug from a mountainside. Windmills and whirligigs assembled to offend politicians and charm old girlfriends.

On country back roads and urban side streets you will find them: strange and wonderful handmade monuments, lovingly constructed of scrap and detritus by some of the world's most eccentric visionaries. Welcome to the world of Driven By Vision.

This acclaimed documentary series returns for a second season on VisionTV, airing Wednesdays, starting March 11, at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT.

Produced for VisionTV by Toronto-based Markham Street Films Inc., Driven By Vision takes the viewer on an unforgettable road trip across North America, visiting homemade shrines and holy places constructed by ordinary people with extraordinary imaginations.

In this season's seven new half-hour episodes, Driven By Vision travels from the Georgia backwoods to the mountains of Colorado to tell the human stories behind these inspired and improbable creations.

The colourful cast of characters includes: a conspiracy theorist who has spent 40-odd years building a castle with hunks of granite collected from roadsides; an artist who likes to work in the nude as he constructs a hobbit house in the woods near a Ku Klux Klan enclave; and a dyslexic illiterate whose creations of welded tin and steel have taken him from the sharecropper fields of Alabama to the art festivals of Europe.

Driven By Vision is produced by Judy Holm and Michael McNamara for Markham Street Films Inc. Joan Jenkinson is the Executive Producer for VisionTV.

Said Michael McNamara: "This is a series with a host of themes: inspiration, creation, redemption, defiance. But ultimately it's about the people who brought these places into existence. What inspired them? What obstacles have they overcome? And why do some of these sites continue to live and breathe while others fall victim to the wrecking ball?"

Added Judy Holm: "As artists and filmmakers, we are fascinated by the subject of inspiration. The people who create these sites are compelled by visions and dreams to share their inner worlds. We feel privileged to have encountered these incredible men and women. It makes us see the world differently, and deepens our faith in humanity."

Discover Driven By Vision online at:

For more information on VisionTV programming, please visit

Driven By Vision - Season Two Episodes

SEASON PREMIERE: "Of Castles, Kings and Jesters"
Wednesday, March 11, 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT
In the foothills of the Colorado Rockies, Jim Bishop has spent more than 40
years working on his vision: a grand castle, complete with turrets,
walkways, bridges and 160-foot towers, built from chunks of Colorado
granite gathered in the woods and at roadsides; in Mullinville, Kansas,
76-year-old M.T. Liggett uses a welding torch and a wicked sense of humour
to create effigies of every politician he reviles and every woman he
admires - much to the chagrin of local townsfolk.

"Recycled Visions"
Wednesday, March 18, 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT
One man's trash is another man's treasure. In Austin, Texas, the creators of
Smutt Putt Heaven and the Cathedral of Junk graze dumpsters and curbside
trash bins for the materials they need to realize their unique visions. Near
a massive cemetery in Birmingham, Alabama, Joe Minter has spent years
fashioning a homespun sculpture garden devoted to the African American
experience, from the slave ships to the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina.

Wednesday, March 25, 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT
In Austin, Texas, Sharon Smith has filled her entire home with shrines to
the living and the dead, assembled from primitive folk art and her own
handmade pottery pieces, which are fashioned in part with the cremains of
departed friends and relatives; In Buena Vista, Georgia, a former Greenwich
Village street hustler called Eddie Owens Martin changed his name to Saint
Eom, founded a one-man religion and turned the family farm into a temple,
which - more than 20 years after his death - the local historical society is
now attempting to restore and maintain.

NOTE: April 1 and April 8 broadcasts to be pre-empted by Easter programming

"Are We Still in Kansas?"
Wednesday, April 15, 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT
"Expect the Unexpected" is the official town motto of Lucas, Kansas -
population 436. This tiny community is home to S.P. Dinsmoor's famed
Garden of Eden: a collection of enormous cement sculptures depicting the
ravages of big business, along with - incongruously - some of his favourite
Bible stories. Lucas is also known for such curiosities as a museum of
visionary art, a shrine of repurposed mutant Barbie dolls, and the
ever-popular "Worlds' Largest Collection of the World's Smallest Versions of
the World's Largest Things."

"Knock on Wood, or Letting the Chips Fall"
Wednesday, April 22, 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT
Benny Carter's handmade wooden birdhouses populate his yard in Mayodan,
North Carolina; over in Kingman, Kansas, Glenn Stark creates humorous wood
carvings that lampoon everything from doctor visits to church congregations;
Clyde Jones of Bynum, North Carolina refuses to sell his wooden "critters" -
but he'll give you one if he likes you.

"You're a Good Man, Charlie..."
Wednesday, April 29, 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT
Once a New York artist, Charlie Stagg came back to Vidor, Texas to look
after his mother and never left. Today, he cements together beer and soda
cans to create his country home and studio; Charlie Lucas of Selma, Alabama
never learned to read. So he interprets the world in his own way, calling
himself the "Tin Man" and creating intricate metal structures to tell his

FINAL EPISODE: "Don't Mess With Texas"
Wednesday, May 6, 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT
Houston, Texas postman Jeff McKissack created The Orange Show in honour of
his favourite fruit, transforming a neighbourhood lot into a maze of
walkways and balconies decorated with mosaics and brightly painted iron
figures. When McKissack died, a diverse group of art fans - including a
wealthy heiress, a funeral director and members of ZZ Top - set out to
preserve the site and build on his dream, launching local arts festivals and
tours of important visionary art sites. In this final episode, Driven by
Vision gives viewers a look at Houston's annual Art Car Parade and tours
the newly restored Beer Can House.

Driven By Vision - The Producers

Markham Street Films Inc.

Markham Street Films Inc. is a Toronto-based production company specializing in documentary and feature films. Formed in 2002 by partners Judy Holm and Michael McNamara, Markham Street has originated documentaries such as Flatly Stacked, Meet the Sumdees and Gemini Award winners Radio Revolution and 100 Films & A Funeral. The company's feature drama, Victoria Day, recently premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival. MSF is in pre-production on the feature length documentary Acquainted With the Night and in development on the feature comedies Sleephead and The Return of the Fabulous 7.

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