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Maria Irene Fornes is one of America's greatest playwrights and most influential teachers, but many know her only as the ex-lover of writer and social critic Susan Sontag. The visionary Cuban-American dramatist constructed astonishing worlds onstage, writing over 40 plays and winning nine Obie Awards. At the vanguard of the nascent Off-Off Broadway experimental theater movement in NYC, Fornes is often referred to as American theater's "Mother Avant-Garde." When she gradually stops writing due to dementia, an unexpected friendship with filmmaker Michelle Memran reignites her spontaneous creative spirit and triggers a decade-long collaboration that picks up where the pen left off. 

The duo travels from New York to Havana, Miami to Seattle, exploring the playwright's remembered past and their shared present. Theater luminaries such as Edward Albee, Ellen Stewart, Lanford Wilson, and others weigh in on Fornes's important contributions. What began as an accidental collaboration becomes a story of love, creativity, and connection that persists even in the face of forgetting.

The Rest I Make Up in the Press

One of "The Best Movies of 2018" - Richard Brody
The New Yorker

"A lyrical and lovingly made documentary."
The New York Times

"Intimate and exhilarating...Fornes exerts a hypnotic force of stardom, while her offhanded yet urgent remarks resound with life-tested literary authority."
The New Yorker

"A profound, tragic, yet joyful vision of art. It’s more than the portrait of an artist (or even of two); it’s a revelation and exaltation of the artistic essence, of the very nature of an artist’s life as an unending act of creation in itself."
The New Yorker

"A story of spontaneity, creativity, genius and madness. It showcases the life, inspiration and virtuosity of Fornes."
Miami Herald

"Memran’s documentary is as untraditional and unpredictable as the woman herself. In it, Memran manages to take us through Irene’s extraordinary life, while capturing the essence of what made it extraordinary - all while transitioning into an impressive artist in her own right."
NBC News Latino

"A tender exploration of Fornes’ life and the meaning of memory."
Conde Nast’s them

"Fabulous. 'The Rest I Make Up' is as inspiring as its subject."
San Francisco Bay Times

"A touching portrait of an unheralded artist."
Screen Slate

"An exquisite documentary portrait. While the movie doesn’t flinch from the sadness of Fornes’s decline…it nonetheless leaves the viewer feeling exhilarated, bringing us into the creative aura of a lively, unassailable imagination."
Public Books

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Filmmaker Biography

Michelle Memran is a journalist, illustrator, and filmmaker. For nearly twenty years she's worked as a reporter and researcher in New York City and has written for numerous publications. THE REST I MAKE UP is her first film, for which she has received funding from the New York State Council on the Arts, the Frameline Completion Fund, the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, piece by piece productions, and numerous individual donors. The film had its World Premiere at MoMA's Doc Fortnight in February 2018.
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Maria Irene Fornes
Michelle Memran



Edward Albee

Brooke Berman

Constance Congdon

Migdalia Cruz

Oskar Eustis

Carlos Fornés

Rafael “Cuco” Fornés
Joseph Goodrich

John Guare

Lee Guilliatt

Morgan Jenness

Eduardo Machado

Jana Napoli

Carmen Nute

Ozzie Rodriguez

David Shenk

Harriet Sohmers-Zwerling

Ellen Stewart

Kelly Stuart

Paula Vogel

Lanford Wilson



Michelle Memran


Executive Producers

piece by piece productions Jennifer Fox



Michelle Memran

Katie Pearl

Shelby Siegel

Heather Winters



Melissa Neidich


Roberto Guerra
Megan Hill

Michelle Memran
Katherine E. Scharhon



Max Avery Lichtenstein


Associate Producers

Stefanie Diaz
Alison Forbes

Nykia Herron


Creative Consultants

Gwendolyn Alker

Mollye Asher


Post-Production Supervisors

Keaton Monger Lennon Nersesian


Online Editor/Colorist

David Gauff


Post-Production Facility

Prime Focus Technologies


Post-Production Sound Facility

Splash Studios, NYC


Supervising Sound Editor

Peter Levin


Sound Editors

Barbara Parks

William Hsieh