Brainiac — (from left) Tim Taylor, John Schmersal, Juan Monasterio and Tyler Trent — featured in a mid-’90s promotional photo. CONTRIBUTED/FILE
Photo: Contributing Writer
Photo: Contributing Writer

Brainiac documentary set to premiere at one of nation’s most prestigious festivals 

**UPDATED: Jan. 16, 2019** 

The story about one of the most influential 1990s bands to emerge from Dayton will soon hit the big screen. 

“Brainiac: Transmissions After Zero” from former Daytonian Eric Mahoney will make its world premiere at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival, according to a post on the documentary’s Facebook page. 

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The post reads: 

“At long last we are thrilled to announce BRAINIAC: TRANSMISSIONS AFTER ZERO will be making its World Premiere at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival. This is a huge honor and we will be sharing exact dates as they become available. We are humbled and so grateful for all the love, support and help we have gotten along the way. Now the fun starts.”

Brainiac formed in Dayton in January 1992 with Tim Taylor (vocals, guitar), Juan Monasterio (bass), Tyler Trent (drums) and guitarist Michelle Bodine, who was replaced by John Schmersal in 1994.

On the heels of opening for Beck on a European tour, tragedy struck the band as they were on the verge of signing with a major label. 

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Taylor died on May 23, 1997 when his 1977 Mercedes crashed into a pole on Main Street in Dayton. He was just blocks from his home.

The 26th edition of the SXSW Film Festival is set for March 8 to 17 in Austin.

Here is how the movie is described on SXSW’s website:

Brainiac: Transmissions After Zero
Director: Eric Mahoney
The film explores the seminal ‘90s band Brainiac from Dayton, OH and its creative force Tim Taylor. Just days before signing a major record contract, Taylor was killed in a bizarre auto accident leaving his family and bandmates to pick up the pieces. (World Premiere)

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In 2017, former Daytonian Eric Mahoney started work on his passion project, a documentary on Brainiac. The film explores the beloved Dayton band’s short but powerful career, which was derailed with frontman Tim Taylor’s death in a car accident in May 1997.

Mahoney is financing the documentary himself along with support from crowdfunding. In May 2017, the Brooklyn-based filmmaker raised $40,000 through a successful Kickstarter campaign. He recently launched a second Kickstarter campaign for $20,000, which ends Feb. 22.

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Mahoney, who hopes to have a rough cut before summer, recently answered some questions about the project.

How is work going on the documentary?

It’s going fantastic. In December, we filmed a tribute show in Brooklyn, which was incredible. Then we had a follow-up gig in Dayton, which was equally remarkable. Those performances and experiences really helped extend the narrative and interject some positivity and closure to the story. It’s been an amazing journey doing this project and such an honor for me personally.

Brooklyn-based filmmaker Eric Mahoney, a former Daytonian, recently launched a new Kickstarter campaign for his documentary on 1990s band Brainiac. CONTRIBUTED
Photo: Contributing Writer

What has been the biggest revelation for you during this project?

The biggest revelation has been that this has somehow provided a sense of closure and healing for the band and for Tim’s family. That has been a completely unexpected byproduct of this film. Almost everyone involved has said to me this has really helped them heal and feel good again about celebrating Tim and the music. That is such a powerful thing and one I didn’t expect to have occur. It gives me such an elevated sense of purpose around this project and makes me personally feel wonderful knowing this film is creating positivity in people’s lives.

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Brainiac, (left to right) Tim Taylor, John Schmersal, Juan Monasterio and Tyler Trent, pictured in a mid- 90s UK promo photo. CONTRIBUTED
Photo: Contributing Writer

What is Brainiac’s legacy?

It’s just exceptional how influential the band has been. Everyone from the National to the Melvins participated and cited Brainiac as being so inspiring to them as artists. Brainiac’s originality and art should be much more well known, and I hope people will catch wind of that through this film. I also believe this is a remarkable story that regardless of one’s musical tastes will resonate with people on a human level.

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What has been the hardest part so far?

Financing has been tough and that has forced me to be a one-man operation for a lot of the process. I’m eternally grateful for my editor and producing partner, Ian Jacobs, for jumping in unpaid and taking this journey with me. This is absolutely a labor of love and he and I have made some sacrifices taking large amounts of time off to dedicate to the film. It’s 100 percent worth it, though.

More info: www.facebook.com/brainiacdocumentary.

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