What begins as a film on a unique magician who built a career out of shock and deception in the 1980s becomes a bizarre story about the unravelling of the documentarian.
After Johnathan is diagnosed with a terminal heart condition and given one year to live, he’s forced to retire his act. Cut to three years later: Johnathan is not dead, much to everyone’s amazement, and documentarian Ben Berman films the illusionist on an epic comeback tour. But as their mutual journey kicks off, Johnathan drops a bombshell that sends the film spiraling into uncertainty. Embracing this unforeseen obstacle, Ben delves deeper to determine what is truth and what is illusion. Built into the heart of this quick-witted and highly meta story is an indelible commentary on the process and ethics of making a documentary today. Issues of negotiation and access become the central threads that reveal, and further cloud, our understanding of this elusive protagonist. This debut feature is a wild ride that careens off the rails in highly entertaining and unexpected ways.
Ben Berman began as an editor for comedians Tim and Eric, and went on to direct episodes of Lady Dynamite and Man Seeking Woman, as well as the pilots and series for Jon Benjamin Has a Van and Comedy Bang! Bang!. Berman premiered his short film I’m a Mitzvah (2014), starring Ben Schwartz, and How to Lose Weight in 4 Easy Steps (2016), starring Beck Bennett, at the Sundance Film Festival. This is Berman's first feature.