Thursday, 29 April 2010

Long Play: Exit Through the Gift Shop

Banksy stencil
Banksy stencil at Sundance
"****" The Times, The Independent, Time Out, The Daily Telegraph

"Funny as Hell" The New Yorker

"A genuinely hip, thought-provoking work of art" Village Voice

"One of those films that comes along once in a great while, a warped hybrid of reality and self-induced fiction, while at the same time a totally entertaining experience" Sundance Film Festival

The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) will be taking viewers on a wild ride through the illicit world of street art this June with Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010).

Billed as 'the world's first street art disaster movie' the film is a document of the global phenomenon of street art and the artists who create it. It is Banksy himself who described it best when he said "It's the story of how one man set out to film the un-filmable. And failed".

Premiering in January 2010 as a 'secret screening' at the Sundance Film Festival, Exit Through the Gift Shop created quite a splash amongst festival goers as well as media and bloggers the world over. The film not only topped indieWIRE's poll of the best films at Sundance but also managed to become one of the highest ranked films in criticWIRE's short history.

The real life subjects of Exit Through the Gift Shop are the DIY art notables; people like Shepard Fairey who spends much of his time on the floor of a Kinko's blowing up elaborate cut outs, or Space Invader who paints, square by square, pixelated space invaders to be glued anywhere and everywhere. When they're not getting busted by the cops they create temporary artworks that publicly thumb their nose at the status-quo. The most elusive of them all is Banksy, who has infiltrated Disneyland, shot and killed a London phone booth and beautified the West Bank barrier in Israel. Banksy is an internationally lauded art world icon whose pieces sell for thousands of dollars to famous collectors such as Brad Pitt and Christina Aguilera, yet he clings to his anonymity and despite constant efforts, no one yet has been able to unmask him.

Exit Through the Gift Shop presents some of the most astonishing insider footage ever captured of these infamous rogue street artists at work. There's also crack team behind the scenes as well, including narrator Rhys Ifans and Roni Size and Portishead's Geoff Barrow playing on the score.

Film Programmer Kristy Matheson says of Exit though the Gift Shop "A film about street art made by Banksy in a stencil-covered city like Melbourne, it's too perfect, oh yeah and the film is brilliant too! Like Banksy's art it mixes play and politics beautifully."

Melbourne's known internationally as a hub of stencilling and has had its own brush with Banksy who left his mark in 2003 on walls and laneways across the city. Though efforts were made to preserve these works this does not always seem possible. A stencil that became known as 'Banksy's little diver' was protected until 2009 when it was destroyed by vandals and Banksy's signature rat stencil in Hosier Lane was recently and accidentally 'cleaned up' under council orders. The Mayor Robert Doyle has issued an open invitation for Banksy to come to Melbourne and has also floated the option of commissioning a new work. In 2008, a wall in London bearing a Banksy stencil sold on eBay for $500,000.

A panel discussion will follow the Sun 6 June 2pm screening also followed by a book signing with a number of artists featured in the new Thames and Hudson book Street Studio in the ACMI store.

Exit Through the Gift Shop screens at ACMI from Thurs 3 to Fri 18 June. For sessions details please visit:

Further information

Samatha Chater
Communications Coordinator
[direct phone] 61 3 8663 2475 [fax] 61 3 8663 2498 [mobile] 0434 603 655
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