The Ringmaster (2019)

  • 1h 28m
  • Molly Dworsky
  • Dave Newberg
  • United States
  • 2019

Sat 13 Jun, 9pm
Tue 16 Jun, 5pm
Fri 19 Jun, 1pm

“One of the most meta documentaries within a documentary that I’ve ever seen.”
— Alan Ng, Film Threat

Filmmaker Zachary Capp was happily self-funding the pilot for his travel/food show idea when he came across Minnesota native Larry Lang’s onion rings — “the best onion rings in America”, according to The Washington Post’s Tom Sietsema. Zachary became a man obsessed — with Larry’s onion rings, and with making Larry’s onion rings a world-famous brand. 

While the makers of fictional narrative films can keep some sense of separation from their story and characters, documentarians work directly with their subjects, walking a tightrope between creating a compelling narrative for an audience and remaining respectful of their subjects.

It’s fair to say Zach Capp falls off that tightrope.

Zach does indeed gets Larry’s rings noticed — by a bunch of people, including 80s glam-rockers KISS and the Las Vegas Raiders football team. The birth of a successful brand and everybody’s future success seem inevitable. What could possibly go wrong?

Larry Lang.

Larry, one of only two people in the world who knows the recipe for his onion rings, turns out to be a man bereft of ambition, averse to attention, a man truly content being a one-man show in a one-horse town.

“7 out of 10 French fries
think this movie bites.”

Can Larry cook? Hell, yes. Are he and his onion rings loved? Yes, indeedy. But off-camera is where he longs to be; and when he can’t escape being on-camera, he comes across as a man whom personality has given a wide berth.

Zach’s plans are failing. His self-funded film is coming apart at the seams. His crew decides to make a different film from the one Zach is making. As train wrecks go, this one’s a doozy. 

Enter directors Molly Dworsky and Dave Newberg.

Zach agrees to let go of the director role, and become the subject of a documentary about his documentary. The Ringmaster — a human tale of mistakes, love, respect, and the desire to succeed — is born.

Read Steve Newall’s picks for the best dozen Doc Edge 2020 films on

Previous festival selections include:
Doc LA, winner: Best Screenwriting
Festival of Cinema NYC, winner: Best feature Documentary


Molly Dworsky


Dave Newberg



Bonus Content

15 mins
Q&A with directors: Zachary Capp, Molly Dworsky, Dave Newberg

Q&A with directors: Zachary Capp, Molly Dworsky, Dave Newberg

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