Here’s the Trailer for the Craziest, Funniest Documentary You’ll See This Year


When news of a North Carolina legal battle over an amputated leg first broke in September of 2007, the story instantly became a minor sensation. It’s not hard to understand why: After all, the foot had been discovered in a BBQ smoker that had been purchased at an auction, and the man who’d found it — a flea-marketer named Shannon Whisnant — was eminently quotable. But while most local-TV reporters and radio DJs were happy to portray the battle as a news-of-the-weird oddity, filmmakers Bryan Carberry and J. Clay Tweel decided to dig deeper — and, in doing so, found a truly remarkable story.

The result of their long investigation is the stranger-than-fiction documentary Finders Keepers, the trailer for which is embedded above. The film, a Sundance breakout that hits theaters in limited release on September 25, explores the lives of the two men at the center of the custody battle over the severed limb: John Wood, who had leg amputated in 2004, and Whisnant, who happened upon the leg at a storage-locker sale three years later. Finders Keepers brings these two men’s very different — but highly remarkable — lives together in unexpected ways.

As Wood’s mother says in the film’s trailer, Finders Keepers is a funny story, but one borne of tragedy. Wood had to have the leg amputated after the small plane he was piloting with his father and brothers crashed; his father was killed on impact, and after Wood had his leg removed, he tried to save it, in an effort to create some sort of tribute for his late father. But Wood’s plans got waylaid by an addiction he developed to oxycontin, which he began using to help deal with his post-surgery pain. His battle with that addiction is recounted throughout the film, as it coincided with his increasingly insane struggle with Whisnant, who was desperate to keep his hands on the foot — and eager to parlay his random discovery into reality-TV fame.

Finders also digs deep into Whisnant’s story. Unlike Wood, who grew up in relative prosperity, Whisnant lived through a difficult childhood with an abusive father. He always dreamed of being famous and escaping his small hometown, and quickly decided that the foot would be his ticket to Hollywood, where he figured his brutish charm and self-taught comedy chops would make him a star. And, as you’ll see in the film, his unlikely find certainly does send him places he’d have never gone otherwise.

Whisnant will get his wish to be a movie star when Finders Keepers hits theaters in limited release on September 25.