“I began to think that if one life, somehow made into art, were recorded - not all of it, but like the testimony on an old tombstone - wouldn’t that be worth something?”
Joey Huertas (aka Jane Public) is an artist who is responsible for a creating a unique breed of personal cinema, performance art and photography that he calls, Docu-fessional. His films are in line with the "direct" and "observational" movements in documentary filmmaking, while adhering closely to the mechanics of narrative storytelling techniques.
His works portray the reminiscences of unplanned life encounters and experiences using unusual unconventional means (public library archives, surveillance, micro-film, journals, hearing aids and toys) and read much like the entries found in a hidden personal diary. One is left with the question of, “What is truth and what is fiction?” The films take many forms, including physical stories arranged by peculiar/imagined biographies of fictitious persons, collections of found/anonymous photographs, found sound recordings, drawings and compositions from text journals. Critics have cited his work as representing a new form of transgressive fictional biography.
Most of his films and published writings comprise a social chronicle of human behaviour - in all of its variously rigid and amorphous manifestions of the emotional person. Whether revealing corners of society hidden from view or records of American lives and ideologioes ane artful expositions of the human condition. His work can be described as psychological autopsies or clinical fiction.
The artist is also a social worker and incorporates the therapeutic process directly into his film art. His works offer no “immunity bubble”. His creative process involves a complete study and exploitation of the inner self. The elements of fact and fiction in storytelling are imprecise and distorted, making the relationship between the filmmaker and the audience difficult to manage.
His films have been screened at internationally diverse venues/museums and he is the recipient of the Willard Van Dyke Award for Non-Fiction Film and the Kodak Film Award. He is often invited to present and discuss the films in person. He holds a BFA from the State University of New York at Purchase's Conservatory of Theatre Arts and Film, and an MSW from Hunter College School of Social Work. He has exhibited around the world, at PS1 MoMA, MASS MoCA, CCA Centre for Contemporary Art in Glasgow Scotland, Participant, Inc, the Syracuse and Ann Arbor International Film Festivals among others. His work has appeared in a variety of publications including Dazed, Art Forum, the New York Times, Cineaste, and has been featured on NPR, BBC UK, and PBS. He has published two books, Homewrecka (JanePublicPress, 2010) and The Colors of Spring (JanePublicPress, 2011). The artist lives, performs, blogs and works in New York and is currently working on his first feature-film commissioned by the United Kingdom. He is also the President of the Millennium Film Workshop in NYC.
What the press is saying
"A haunting record of Jane Public's inner struggle... revealing ...harsh brilliance. Tantalizing ...Full of pain and love, growth and hope."
"These films are alive with intensity and energy- and a Plath-like self doubt of his remarkable creativity."
"Awesome and magnetizing... An immensely powerful and vivid document of a film poet."
"AKA Joey assembles an epic and timely meditation, like Picasso's Guernica, is simultaneously thrilling and horrifying ... Exquisite and furious, it's a dark testament to film's power to resist, protest, and bear witness."