When Marc Simon C’96 was a young associate at the high-powered law firm of Dreier LLP, his boss, Marc Dreier, would often tell him, “Simon, you’ll never be me, you’ll never be me!” Little did either of them know just how much dark irony that playful jab would one day reveal.
On April 13, Simon’s new documentary, Unraveled, will be released in theaters and on video-on-demand (unraveledthefilm.com). Its subject: Marc Dreier, who is now serving a 20-year prison sentence for fraud and related charges that boiled down to swindling $740 million from hedge funds and private individuals.
Dreier—whose tale of greed, deception, and disgrace was overshadowed in the national consciousness by the similarly disgraced Bernie Madoff—was confined to his lavish Upper East Side apartment while awaiting sentencing in 2009. During those two months Simon had unprecedented access to his former boss, and the film weaves Dreier’s struggle to prepare for his new life in prison with flashbacks of his meteoric rise and fall.
While Dreier’s story is “told in his own words and through his own actions,” Simon notes in his director’s statement, he is an “unreliable narrator” and a “mega-fraudster—narcissistic and brilliant—who has chosen to cooperate in creating his own documentary portrait.”
“When these massive financial crimes are uncovered, I think the public is deeply curious about how the perpetrators—often highly intelligent and well respected individuals in their communities—are capable of risking everything good in their lives for material or other superficial gain,” Simon told the Gazette in late January. “I had this very unique opportunity, in spending two months with my former boss and mentor, to delve into the complexities of one of the most notorious white-collar criminals in history, and audiences have been fascinated by Dreier’s revelations.”
So far Unraveled has been the winner for best storytelling in a documentary film at the Nantucket Film Festival, and an official selection at a host of other film festivals ranging from Los Angeles to Naples. Simon’s previous documentary films are After Innocence [“Alumni Profiles,” Jan|Feb 2006] and Nursery University; he is also an independent film attorney. —S.H.