Banksy's Filmmaking Debut Nabs Spotlight Surprise at Sundance
Here's one film where the director absolutely won't be doing interviews in Park City: Exit Through the Gift Shop, the feature filmmaking debut of infamously anonymous British street artist Banksy. And even that status is under suspicion this morning, as no one actually knows if Banksy directed the "pseudo-documentary" or if its classification as "a Banksy film" is just another of the world-class hoaxster's curious stunts. But! It's not all mysterious; click through for what we do know -- including a trailer!
Whoever officially directed Exit, the film will premiere Sunday night in Park City with the intriguing potential for Banksy actually being at the Library Center Theater. And for once, festival organizers said in a release sent out this morning, you'll see the artist at work along with Shepard Fairey, Invader and other renowned graffiti kingpins. Not that the movie doesn't have a story, we're told: "Exit Through the Gift Shop is the story of how an eccentric French shop keeper and amateur filmmaker attempted to locate and befriend Banksy, only to have the artist turn the camera back on its owner with spectacular results," the festival announced. Actor Rhys Ifans provides narration, and Sundance fest director John Cooper added that "[t]he story is so bizarre I began to question if it could even be real." Which is par for the course even for Sundance films that don't feature the world's most enigmatic street artist, so I feel for the guy. Banksy himself described Exit as "the story of how one man set out to film the un-filmable. And failed."
THR this morning has a little more background on what to expect: "L.A.-based filmmaker Terry Guetta set out to record this secretive world in thrilling detail. For more than eight years he traveled with a backpack through Europe and America. After he met a British street artist known only as Banksy, things took a bizarre turn."
Formidable Sundance sales agents Cinetic Media is representing Exit with the hopes of locking in a distribution deal. Others attending the festival, meanwhile, should keep at least a little bit of a lookout for Banksy and friends; at least one of his colleagues is said to be helping out with "stealth promotion." Can't wait; I always thought the side of the Eccles Theater could use a mural of Robert Redford peeing on the wall.
Anyway, here's an official trailer, featuring the man pictured above, who I doubt is Banksy but who has one of the few faces featured in the video. The mystery continues, at least for a few more days...