CLOWNING IS NO EASY BUSINESS DOCUMENTARY ‘GREASEPAINT’ FOLLOWS THE UPS AND DOWNS OF A MODERN DAY CLOWN FAMILY
Coming to DVD July 1 with On Demand Platforms in August 2014
LOS ANGELES, CA (June 20, 2014) After fifteen years as an Atlanta area police officer, Joey Thurmond, a former World Championship Wrestling athlete, decided to follow his dream of becoming a circus clown. GREASEPAINT, produced and directed by Daniel Espeut, follows Thurmond and his wife Jamie and son Tyler, for an entire season as they struggle to build a unique family business in a tough economy. The documentary will be released nationwide on DVD by Cinema Libre Studio and available at major DVD retailers starting July 1, 2014.
Espeut met Joey Thurmond, the subject of GREASEPAINT, in 2008 when he was hired to make a promotional video for Nojoe’s Circus, Thurmond’s independent circus that travels the fair and festival circuit on the east coast. Espeut was fascinated by Thurmond’s passion for the art, knowledge of clowning and his commitment to the lifestyle. Most clowns and circus acts come from a line of performers and learn the craft that way. Without a hereditary claim to clowning—Joey and his family must work harder to develop the show’s content and market their “brand,” learning by trial and error.
The two collaborators decided it was time to make a film that shows the everyday life of a performing clown, in and out of makeup. This would be the essential element to humanize the clown. In the course of the film, the Thurmond Circus is faced with mounting bills, immigration issues, the constant pressure to put on a spectacle, and the challenges of raising a teenage son.
The film features interviews with several industry stalwarts including: Jackie LeClaire, a Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey (RBBB) clown who has performed since 1929 at age one; Karen Bell, a former RBBB clown and program manager of Big Top Education and Laughter Unlimited; Jim Howle, known for his “character clown” aka hobo persona as well as his makeup and artwork; Leon McBryde, who appeared as the popular character “Buttons” on the children’s show Toddlers Friends afterwards founding Fantasy Factory, Ltd, a multi-faceted corporation that developed media programs and industry products; Jeffrey Potts who runs the American Clown Academy, and Pat Cashin who runs the popular community blog, www.clownalley.net.
Espeut a Georgia native who received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film and Television from Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) was interested in creating a piece of cinema that would help dispel a myth. Says Espeut, “Most people have a mindset that clowns are somehow scary. Perhaps that that’s the influence of the ‘Chucky’ film franchise (he’s a doll not a clown but people get them confused) With this film, we wanted to dispel that myth and get behind the costume and the makeup to show these dedicated people who work night and day, sun or rain, to bring joy and laughter to peoples’ lives. With the Thurmond family as the focal point, and the trials they faced in the course of a season, we were able to share this uniquely American world in a manner that helps make clowns accessible and hence, more loveable. The heritage of clowning in the US is fascinating, deep and rich. After all, one of the most recognizable international brand icons is a clown (Ronald McDonald).”
To make the film, Espeut and team filmed at several locations including the John and Mable Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida and the International Clown Hall of Fame and Research in Baraboo, Wisconsin.
The film has been an official selection of several high profile film festivals including the Sarasota Film Festival and has been the recipient of several awards including: Audience Choice Award for best Feature Film at Gwinett Center International Film Festival, Linny and Beall Fowler Audience Award for Best Feature at the Southside Film Festival and Espeut is the first documentary filmmaker to win the Indie Auteur of the Year Award in the 15-year history of the Bare Bones International Film & Music Festival.
SYNOPSIS: When Joey Thurmond, a former professional wrestler and rodeo cowboy, quits the police force to realize his dream of performing as a clown full time, he recruits his family and puts his life’s savings into the show. However, pressures mount while on the road when his aerialist is threatened with deportation and the 24/7 schedule puts a strain on his relationship with his co-star and son. Can Joey keep the NoJoe Clown Circus going until the end of the season?
The DVD includes bonus features: Deleted Scenes, Photo Gallery, Trailer, Interactive Menus
TECHNICAL DETAILS: USA | Documentary| Unrated | 84 mins | Directed by Daniel Espeut DVD DETAILS: CLS 1195| 881394119529 | SRP: $ 19.95
Youtube Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uR6wfsFyhG0
ABOUT CINEMA LIBRE: Cinema Libre Studio is a leader in distributing social-issue documentaries and features by passionate filmmakers. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the Cinema Libre team has released over one hundred films including the Sundance Audience Award‐Winning FUEL, THE END OF POVERTY?, Rachid Bouchareb’s LONDON RIVER and Oliver Stone’s SOUTH OF THE BORDER. The studio is in pre-production on John Perkins’ best‐selling memoirs, CONFESSIONS OF AN ECONOMIC HIT MAN, into a major motion picture. For more information and updates, please visit: www.cinemalibrestudio.com| Updates | Facebook | Twitter . For screener or interviews, please contact press (at) cinemalibrestudio (dot) com