Plan II Honors Logo
Plan II Honors

Plan II Honors Alum, Zach Heinzerling ('06), Nominated for an Academy Award

Thu, January 30, 2014
Plan II Honors Alum, Zach Heinzerling ('06), Nominated for an Academy Award

Plan II alum, Zach Heinzerling (Plan II Honors and Philosophy, 2006), directed the documentary, Cutie and the Boxer, which is a nominee for the Academy Award in the Documentary category.

Heinzerling won the 2013 Sundance Film Festival "Best Director Award" for directing Cutie and the Boxer. The committee cited: "It's rare to see a film so beautifully crafted in all aspects. It captures the complex nature of love and art in a mesmerizing and deeply human way." The film was nominated for Grand Jury Prize for the film during the same festival.


Zachary Heinzerling’s remarkable debut is an indelible portrait of art, companionship, and the 40-year love story between Ushio and Noriko Shinohara, two Japanese artists who meet and marry in New York in the early 1970s. Surviving decades of hardship, resentment, financial anxiety, thwarted aspirations, and Ushio’s chronic alcoholism, they are a study in artistic symbiosis.

Now 80 years old and finally sober, Ushio is preparing a joint exhibit with Noriko, yet he still treats her as a de facto assistant. Ushio’s mixed-media sculptures and “boxing” paintings, infused with chaotic energy, have brought notoriety—but rarely income. Meanwhile, Noriko, emerging from her husband’s shadow, creates intimate comic-styled watercolor and ink drawings that tell the story—a muted empowerment fantasy—of their alter egos, Cutie and Bullie.

Skillfully photographed and crafted, Cutie and the Boxer moves fluidly between past and present, employing a vérité aesthetic, archival footage, and beautifully animated sequences of Noriko’s drawings. Heinzerling seamlessly inhabits their space, observing its rhythms and textures, their complex dynamic, and the creative vitality that fuels their lives.same festival.  from the Sundance Institute web site (


Like Cutie and the Boxer on Facebook:

Bookmark and Share

  •   Map
  • Plan II Honors Program

    University of Texas at Austin
    305 East 23rd St
    CLA 2.102
    Austin, Texas, 78712-1250