Upper West Side
334 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY
By Subway: 1, 2, 3, B or C to 72nd Street | By Bus: M7 or M11 to 75th Street
|8:30PM||Live magic by Vinny DePonto|
|10:45PM||Q&A with filmmaker Justin Weinstein|
An Honest Liar (Justin Weinstein, Tyler Measom | 93 min.)
By his own admission, James “The Amazing” Randi is a liar, a cheat and a charlatan, but only in the name of entertainment. After leaving home at the age of 17 to join the carnival, Randi carved out a career as one of the most daring and celebrated magicians of the last century, amazing audiences with his inmitable sleight of hand and impressive feats of escapism. Yet as he grew increasingly disdainful of psychics, gurus and chanellers, he took it upon himself to debunk their supernatural claims, unveiling the simple trickery borrowed from Randi’s cherished art form which enabled them to dupe the masses.
From exposing the impiously deceptive methods behind the ‘healing’ of one evangelical priest to his ongoing rivalry with Uri Geller, whose outlandish claims of telekinetic spoon-bending powers Randi has sought tirelessly to denounce, An Honest Liar brings together a remarkably detailed survey of his achievements. A sprightly figure despite his 86 years, Randi remains staunch in his commitment to fostering a scientific view of the world, continuing to fight relentlessly against those who wrongly appropriate the techniques of magic. With pointed access, directors Justin Weinstein and Tyler Measom chart the progression of Randi’s career from a young magician—blending rare archival footage of his performances and interviews with fellow magicians, as well as with Randi himself who appears with extraordinary candor.
Through recounting Randi’s strange and wonderful life, An Honest Liar ultimately reveals how we are all susceptible to the powers of deception, even—in an unexpected twist—Randi himself. Yet despite how easy it may be to succumb to falsehood, if there’s one thing to be learnt from “The Amazing”, it’s that we should question what we see, in order to reveal the truth we all too often choose to ignore.
- Cressida Greening
Justin Weinstein has been making documentaries for broadcast, theatrical release, and commercial clients for over 10 years. Most recently, he wrote and edited Being Elmo; A Puppeteers Journey, which won the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2011, and for which Weinstein and fellow writer/editor Philip Shane were nominated for The Humanitas Prize which honors "film & television writers whose work explores the human condition in a nuanced, meaningful way." Prior to that, Weinstein produced Face Off at Coal River Mountain for Al Jazeera English, and Dirty Business, produced in collaboration with Alex Gibney. Earlier, Weinstein produced numerous projects for ABC News, Peter Jennings Reporting, and PBS, including Hot Politics for Frontline and the ABC special, Last Days on Earth. He resides in Brooklyn, where it seems like everyone and their dog is a documentary filmmaker. /// Tyler Measom is the co-director/producer of the documentary film Sons of Perdition, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, screened at over 45 festivals and was acquired by the Oprah Winfrey Network. Measom is also the producer of the feature film, TAKE, starring Minnie Driver and Jeremy Renner. He has written, produced and directed over one hundred commercials, short documentaries and industrials for a wide range of national and international clients. He has recently completed PBS documentary about the surprisingly rich history of alcohol in Utah, entitled Beehive Spirits. Measom currently lives in Salt Lake City under the shade of giant oak tree. And no, he’s not Mormon.