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DCA Archive

The Amazing Johnathan Documentary

Ben Berman

This special preview screening is followed by a live satellite Q&A with Louis Theroux, director Ben Berman and special guests!


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.

"...careens off the rails in highly entertaining and unexpected ways."

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.