The Rainbow Man/John 3:16

Director: Sam Green

Institute History

  • 1997 Sundance Film Festival


Anybody who has watched a sporting event in the last twenty years has seen the signs hanging behind the goalposts. They have also noticed the crazy-looking guy with the rainbow-colored afro wig. Now The Rainbow Man/John 3:16 reveals the answer to this mystery. Whatever theory you’ve had pales in comparison to the bizarre truth.

The film relates the strange and tragic story of Rollen Stewart, better known as Rock’n Rollen, from his trauma-scarred childhood, through his salad days as the Rainbow Man at the height of the disco era, to his present incarceration. The piece unfolds through a series of vignettes, using home movies, still photos, found footage, TV images, and interviews with Rollen himself. The film feels like fiction as it reveals one man’s transformation from fame-obsessed partygoer into a gospel-preaching criminal. More than an exploration one life, The Rainbow Man is a parable about alienation, the media, and the meaninglessness that often defines American life.

— Trevor Groth

Screening Details


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