When I first encountered Joey’s work, I was completely blown away, I knew that this was going to be a wild ride.
Getting to know Joey personally has been enormously enriching. And, making Art of the Prank, the first and only feature documentary about him, has been a big responsibility and a great honor.
Right from the start, we established a very trusting relationship, which has allowed me to get to know both the mastermind prankster and the man behind the artistry. As we peeled the layers off, a complicated and sensitive personality emerged first off-screen and then on-camera, portraying an emotional journey that is not only informative and fun to watch, but also extremely unique and inspiring.
The film embraces many subjects, from media responsibility to pressing social issues to the role of art in activism. But at its core, it’s a film about a man who, against great odds, is driven to make broad social commentary with his art. It’s truly a story of will, determination and unbridled creativity. I’m proud to say that this drive and passion is reflected in the work of all of the people who spent several years making this movie happen.
As a director, I relate closely to Joey’s work. It is a lot about creating a story, a very interesting and outrageous one that catches your eye and your mind, and then adding contrast, juxtaposing reality, to make it taste sweet and bitter at the same time.
With this movie I’ve tried to create something that will inspire people as much as I have been inspired. And like Joey always says, make them laugh and then make them think.
The film consists of three main visual components. Static interviews, handheld vérité footage and archival footage in different formats from various time periods. The archival footage is a key element in the film, comprising 30%-35% of the material and presenting the artist’s work over the past forty-plus years. Despite the visual contrast, the thematic unity between the contemporary and archival material is meant to give the audience a wide perspective of the art behind the prank, allowing people to see Joey’s evolution throughout the decades, and also to see how his techniques are reflected in his latest hoax, which is woven through the story.
The art of pranking for Joey is not just making a joke that can be very entertaining and funny. It’s way more than that. It’s about causing people to question their sources of information. At the core of Joey’s often hilarious work are questions he hopes people will think seriously about: What do you believe? How did you come to those beliefs? Do you ever question the source of your beliefs? If not, why not?
Andrea Marini, Director