What do Park City and the West Bank have in common? At one point in time, they were both mural sites for Banksy originals. While there is still a throwback to the 2010 Sundance festival edition when Exit Through the Gift Shop premiered and annual reminder that a still standing Banksy original remains intact in the heart of Park City on Main Street, this is not the case for this other physical art lieu featured in The Man Who Stole Banksy. A feature directing debut from Marco Proserpio (who worked under the banner of Sterven Jønger, the pseudonym for the Milan-based filmmaking collective), this docu grabs a 2005/2007 story told via a taxi driver a la an Abbas Kiarostami type character to question the moral, political, ethical and art-collector implications via this not so ordinary slab of concrete in what might turn out to be a profound, and profundity-filled docu offering. Best part: Iggy Pop narrates.
Gist: It is 2007. Banksy and his team enter Bethlehem and the occupied territories of Palestine and start to leave their signature artwork across the West Bank walls. The anonymous, pacifist street artist and the country scarred by war on a constant search for consensus and solidarity: it should have been love at first sight. But something went wrong. Among the artworks Banksy and his team left in the streets of Bethlehem, one in particular, the mural of an Israeli soldier asking a donkey for its papers incites fury: it’s one thing to enter the territory and start working without even introducing yourself to the community, but it’s quite another to depict them as asses for all the world to see.
Production Co./Producers: Marco Proserpio, Filippo Perfido. Exec producers: Lucia Nicolai & Marcello Paolillo.
Prediction: World Documentary Comp section with a showing at Rotterdam and/or Berlin.
U.S. Distributor: Rights Available. Elle Driver (domestic/international)