Surviving Supercon is a look behind the scenes at the annual Florida mega convention Supercon and the husband and wife team behind it Mike Broder and Sandy Martin. Unlike most convention-oriented documentaries this isn’t about the fans and celebrity guests, the focus is almost entirely on the people running it. And that is both the film’s greatest strength and biggest weakness.
The first part of Surviving Supercon gives the viewer a quick biography of Broder, from his comic book addicted childhood to his decision to run a convention when the local one moved to a bigger market. Worked into this is how the two of them met and how the event grew from a small regional show to an event with a draw almost as big as San Diego’s Comic-Con.
It’s interesting but obviously can’t go into much depth when it’s cramming that much into half an hour. Also, the primary sources are Broder and Martin, their right-hand man Joshua Catron and Broder’s mother so you only get one side of the story. The lack of both depth and objective sources is an ongoing problem with the film
Director Steven Shea (Hoodoo for Voodoo) shot Surviving Supercon around the 2018 edition of the event. Mostly it details the four days of the event, there’s almost nothing on the planning and work leading up to it. Some of it gets mentioned in passing but what would have been interesting background material is glossed over and ignored.
Unfortunately, the footage from the days of the event isn’t that interesting. Broder and Martin keep talking about their love of conventions and passion for putting Supercon on every year but it never really shows. Instead what we see is almost non-stop bitching, whining and complaining. Be it the hotel changing security companies to one they say is incompetent or somebody ordering the wrong product. Troublesome celebrities or staff not noticing people sneaking in without paying it’s always something, and always somebody else’s fault.
What we see in Surviving Supercon looks more like two people who hate what they’re doing but make too much money off of it to quit. And that gets old really fast. Much of the time we see Broder he’s screaming at some minimum wage temp and threatening to fire people. That’s not entertainment, it’s a flashback to the shitty job you had in high school.
I had hoped to learn more about how conventions, especially the large ones are put together and run. Something that would make me look forward to the post-pandemic return of local conventions. Instead, Surviving Supercon was depressing and made me less interested in attending one.
Surviving Supercon is available on Digital, DVD and Blu-Ray from Gravitas Ventures. You can check their Facebook page for details.