Film and TV

Tonight on MTV, the Trip Thorugh Dallas That Helped Change Artist Sam Fuller's Life

Tonight MTV's The Buried Life -- a show about four Canadians, I believe, crossing things off their to-do list -- takes a detour to Dallas, where the lads meet up with artist Sam Fuller, who, at the time, was living on the streets while bouncing in and out of the Austin Street Shelter. Since then, he's taken up residency in the South Side of Lamar artists lofts courtesy, among others, Dallas Mavs GM Donnie Nelson (who tells Unfair Park that Fuller "is just the best. He's awesome") and Jack Matthews, who've given him till October of this year to prove he can make the most of the opportunity. "We're lucky we can be a stepping stone for starving artists," Nelson says.

Shawn Williams chronicled Fuller's back story in Dallas South News last September, when MTV's crews were in town. But tonight's more or less his coming out party: Kurt Watkins, Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins's uncle and a local PR man, has sent out the come-on-come-all to tonight's reception at 3900 Willow, which kicks off at 7:30 and leads into the watching party at 9 p.m. Craig Watkins and Dallas Arts District exec director Veletta Lill are expected to attend. But, of course, you're also free to watch at home. No, really.

Update at 2:54 p.m.: It took a while, but I reached Sam Fuller to talk about tonight's show. So happens, he's seen the episode: "Shawn Williams was given a copy, so I saw it Saturday. And it was great."

More with Fuller after the jump about the show and the search for his son.


Since he's seen tonight's episode, I asked Fuller for his reaction. He spoke for 20 minutes, more or less without interruption. Below is an edited transcript.

My total footage is not long -- probably three, four segments. But the overall effect is overwhelming. It's overwhelming. It's overwhelming. I never thought I'd be on TV for anything. Just to be on TV is overwhelming. But it was never about me or my art. It was about a man in search of a son I hadn't seen in 17 years, and The Buried Life crew made that possible. My art was instrumental in that happening. I was in Deep Ellum selling my art when I met them, and if I hadn't been out there with my art, I never would have met them. Our ships collided.

We met for maybe a half hour, and when they left, I thought that was it. But then they called me from California later and said they were coming to Dallas again. And they said, "Be sure to be available, because it'll be worth it." Everything was vague. I didn't have any idea what that was about. When they came back they told me they arranged for me to gave a mini-exhibit at this cafe on the South Side of Lamar. And while they here there doing some filming, one of the guys said, "We've located your son, and I have his phone number." I totally wasn't expecting that.

I was blown away to the point where I couldn't call him immediately. Fears were enveloping within me based on things like, after all this time, does he really want to meet me? Was he angry at me for not being there? Did he resent me? He's my only child, and I would say to myself I'll let sleeping dogs lie. He's gone without me all this time, maybe he's better off. And then I said no, I really want to see him again. I had thef ear anyone else in that situation would have

When I did call him I didn't get an answer. I found out that wasn't his number anymore. I got someone else's voice mail and called it three times and I didn't get any response. So I thought maybe he didn't want to speak with me. Then I found out he wasn't at that number anymore. Then I got his number, and when I finally called it, his phone was down. He didn't have a charger. And I thought he still didn't want to meet me. But we finally spoke, and I met him on December 4, thanks to MTV, for the first time in 17 years. He flew in Saturday, and he'll be

To make a long story short, everything worked out. There were times when I didn't know if it would happen, but it worked out. Me and him are getting along great. I told him I can't undo the past. It's already a done deal. I'd like to concentrate on the present and the future. But it's as close to perfect as perfect can be. Sometimes I say, Is this real?