03/31/2010 01:27 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Big Reveal

Waiting for Hockney isn't a film about art. It's more like a cross between American Movie and The Agony and the Ecstasy. It's about how the son of a failed pizza maker attempts---with the help of his high school principal, a clergyman, a museum director, a (possibly insane) interior designer, and a loveable stage mom on steroids---to break his way into today's elite and rarified art world. Billy Pappas has no Rolodex, no connections. But he believes in the power of will and work and good luck----a particularly American phenomenon---to lead him---and perhaps the rest of us---to a state of grace.

Our culture today obsessed with instant stardom as a means of redemption. We seem to believe we are invisible, and we wait for someone to tap us on the shoulder and say, "I've been watching you; I really see who you are, and you're fantastic." It's as if nearly everyone in this country is sitting around waiting for God or Paula Abdul to tell us that we've won American Idol or the cosmic lottery.

On April 24th, Waiting for Hockney screens at TriBeCa Film Festival, and later that evening, Billy Pappas will reveal the drawing he worked on for 10 years, a pencil drawing so remarkable that it just might be possible that Billly Pappas has reinvented what portraiture is all about. Hand in hand, the premiere of the film about him and the showing of his portrait will be an extraordinary opportunity for dialogue: about everything from how we value the way we spend our lives to how we value the way that others do, as well. I can't wait for the conversation to begin.