Freaks & Errors: A Rare Collection, is the first, feature-length documentary about postage stamps, collectors and the life-long quest for the obscure.
For a majority of the last 170 years, stamp collecting was more than just a hobby. At one time, it was a miniature window to the world. A random box of worldwide stamps would allow the average person to peer into foreign cultures, discover native people, learn about art, geography, history, music and literature, as well as get an eerie, sneak peak into country’s political intentions, all without leaving the house.
Now though, how many stamp collectors do you know? Our current generation belong to fewer organizations that physically socialize, we barely know our neighbors, or meet with friends and family as frequently as our parents did. That’s a different story in the stamp community. Our film follows some lifelong collectors, who at first-glance seem to have nothing in common. But a closer look reveals the oddly familiar traits that connect them to each other and uncovers the all-consuming influence that stamp collecting has had in defining their lives.
We have pursued legends in the hobby, treasure hunters, shrewd investors, eccentric millionaires, all who have added rumors, tales and staggering value to the world of stamp collecting. In addition, we’re talking to the everyday collectors, the accumulators who have devoted their lives to their hobby, always with the slight hope that they’ll come across the one stamp that could bring them a fortune. Mystery writer Lawrence Block, billionaire hedge-fund manger Bill Gross, designer shoe guru Stuart Weitzman, as well as about dozen other collectors, dealers, auctioneers and philatelic historians have been interviewed so far, everyone involved adds their colorful part to the story.
This film uncovers the common traits that connect stamp collectors, and whether nurture, nature or both is the driving force that triggers the “collector’s gene.” In addition, we unveil the global world of the philatelic business, including record-breaking auctions, famous collectors, mysteries and scandals. Overall, Freaks & Errors: A Rare Collection is a social commentary on how we need to connect with one another through our common passions.
DELIVERING EARLY 2016
Mark Cwiakala has a BFA in sculpture from DePaul University in Chicago and for 15 years he worked as an art and creative director for numerous advertising agencies.
In 2008, he co-founded Concentrated, a production company that created and produced broadcast commercial and digital content spots.
As of 2013, he is the founder of both Captain, a creative content agency and Collectors Union, a film production company. He lives in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago and has the biggest stamp collection any non-stamp collector could have.
Eon Mora is a LA-bred, Chicago based, Director of Photography and graduate of Columbia College Film School.
His experience is in broadcast commercial, narrative, documentaries and network series filming.
Alex Cheng is a Chicago-born and raised filmmaker and game designer. He holds a BA for film from Columbia College Chicago.
He was a recipient of the George Foster Peabody Award for his team’s contributions to the documentary “Beyond Borders: Personal Stories from a Small Planet”.
His work has screened on PBS and the Independent Film Channel. He lives in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago with many cats.