The Amazing Johnathan Documentary

  • Ben Berman
  • United States
  • 2019
  • 92 min
  • Dutch Premiere
  • Best of Fests

A famous performer is incurably ill, but to everyone’s surprise, three years later he’s still alive and working on a comeback. What filmmaker wouldn’t be interested in the story? Director Ben Berman thought he was onto something and started making a documentary about the magician The Amazing Johnathan, who’s suffering from terminal heart disease and was told he only had a year to live in 2014. Johnathan is known for his extremes, both in his stage acts and his lifestyle. Half clown and half illusionist, he makes no secret of his drug use. In short, he’s a dream subject for a documentary.

But Berman isn’t the only person to have this idea. A second film crew turns up, then a third and even a fourth. Berman finds himself in a kind of documentary Inception and starts to doubt the reliability of Johnathan’s story. Is his illness real, or has Berman fallen for another stunt by the illusionist? He keeps on filming to make this intriguing work full of self-reflection on the ethics of documentary making, and on the relationship between the filmmaker and his subject.


  • 92 min
  • DCP
Ben Berman
Ben Berman, Amanda Marshall, Jacob Perlin, Miranda Bailey, Russell Groves
Executive producer
Jason Beck, Jon Mugar, Kirk Johnson
Dan Adlerstein, Ben Berman
Scott Evans, Ben Berman

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