Flemming worked as a script reader for New Line Cinema while making his first feature film, Hang Your Dog in the Wind in 1997. To promote his film, Flemming co-founded a film festival in Park City, Utah, called “the Slumdance Film Festival”, a pun on the name of the Slamdance Film Festival (which in turn referred to the Sundance Film Festival).
Slumdance brought Flemming to the attention of independent film maker John Pierson, who previously discovered Spike Lee, Michael Moore, and Richard Linklater, among others. Pierson later hired Flemming to work as a director and segment producer for Pierson's Independent Film Channel magazine-style show called Split Screen, which also featured a segment about Hang Your Dog in the Wind.
Bat Boy: The Musical is based on a story about a half-bat half-boy from the tabloid Weekly World News. Flemming co-wrote Bat Boy with Keythe Farley and Laurence O'Keefe. The musical grew from small beginnings in a Los Angeles theater called the Actors' Gang to winning LA Weekly's Musical of the Year Award for 1997, plus four Ovation Award nominations and six Drama-Logue Awards.
Bat Boy: The Musical made its way to Off-Broadway in March 2001, where the play won the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical, the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical Off-Broadway and six Drama Desk nominations. The New Yorker described Bat Boy as, a “giggling cult hit”. The New York Times wrote, “It is astonishing what intelligent wit can accomplish”. The musical ran in New York through December 2001 and has since been staged thousands of times throughout the world, in several languages.
Flemming's second feature film, a faux documentary about the assassination of Bill Gates called Nothing So Strange which debuted at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival. Variety called it, "a crackling good movie... [that] may be the ideal prototype film for the digital age". The film won the Claiborne Pell New York Times Award for Original Vision at the 2002 Newport Film Festival and received international media exposure. Bill Gates said through a spokesman that he was “very disappointed that a movie maker would do something like this”.
After failing to obtain a major studio distributor, Flemming and his co-producers chose to distribute the film themselves. On 23 October 2003 the film had a simultaneous debut in theaters and as an Internet download, becoming the first film ever to be commercially available in all countries at the same time. In April 2004, the film was released on DVD and is now available in more than 200 countries.
Flemming founded the organization Free Cinema, which encourages feature filmmakers to create films under two rules:
Flemming says that filmmaking can now be “as inexpensive as writing novels” and that the copylefting practice is a way for new artists to gain notice and distribution in a marketplace dominated by large corporations. Free Cinema was inspired by the Open Source Software movement, which is guided by similar principles of freedom. Flemming is also the owner and operator of Fair Use Press, which distributes e-books critical of public figures such as Bill O'Reilly and Arnold Schwarzenegger for their stance on intellectual property law.
During the 2007 Slamdance film festival, Flemming saw a demo of the video game Super Columbine Massacre RPG! and hearing about it having its nomination pulled by the festival's founder, convinced fellow jurors to award it a "Special Jury Prize" for Best Documentary (an unofficial award not endorsed by the festival). The festival's founder, Peter Baxter, later told Flemming that legal considerations prevented SCMRPG from receiving the award.
The documentary came out of the research he did for his next film, Danielle, about a girl who discovers proof that Jesus never existed and, as a result, is attacked by Christian fundamentalists who believe she is the Anti-Christ.
In April 2006, Flemming, along with the Rational Response Squad (an internet radio show), began the "War on Easter" to “provoke conversation about the dangers of religious belief”. Participants were invited to place DVDs of the documentary or downloaded flyers in or near Christian churches and send in photos of these actions in exchange for DVDs. Flemming posted the photos on a website.
In late 2006, Flemming and the Rational Response Squad started the Blasphemy Challenge, which called on participants to upload videos to YouTube in which they "damn themselves to hell" by making their own statement which must include the phrase: "I deny the Holy Spirit", thus committing blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. The first 1001 users who did so received a DVD of God Who Wasn't There.
Interview: Georgy Russell, William Pratt, Eric Schiffel and Brian Flemming discuss their participation in the California recall election
Aug 06, 2003; 00-00-0000 Interview: Georgy Russell, William Pratt, Eric Schiffel and Brian Flemming discuss their participation in the...
THEATER REVIEW; 'Bat Boy' campy, but lacks real bite; A strange creature sparks fear and loathing in a small West Virginia town in this quirky musical.(VARIETY)
Nov 02, 2011; Byline: WILLIAM RANDALL BEARD Special to the Star Tribune "Bat Boy: The Musical," currently running at Minneapolis Musical...