New documentary “Magicians: Life in the Impossible” shares the on and off-stage lives of several world-class magicians at different phases in their careers. We see hope, passion, tragedy, and of course, plenty of dazzle. Over the 87-minute running time the wonder of magic is shared again and again, through many tricks and many different magicians. The audience says yes to this crowd-pleaser, which is now available on iTunes and Amazon. Find more on their Facebook page.
The story follows four acclaimed magicians with very different magic acts: former “Tonight Show” regularly featured magician Brian Gillis and Sisuepahn, World Champion close-up Magician David Minkin, aspiring Las Vegas headliner Jan Rouven and Close-Up Magician of the Year (as well as self-proclaimed geek-before-it-was-cool) Jon Armstrong. While Rouven and Armstrong are hoping their careers are about to launch to the next level, Minkin is already soaring high in his field, and Gillis is looking for a comeback.
This mix makes for compelling storytelling by filmmakers Marcie Hume and Christoph Baaden. The team are magic enthusiasts with a strong documentary and unscripted background. Their confidence becomes apparent in the pacing and subtlety of the narrative. Little moments that are captured and shared — the frustration of an unruly audience, biting your tongue toward your partner/spouse, a tender moment with a young fan. These moments linger long enough to tug on your heart, while the story races by, often with competing smoke, mirrors, and even steel jaws.
Each magician gets more then a few moments to shine, but they are intermingled with their personal lives in a way that is seldom publicly seen. On stage their performance involves perfect timing, lighting and costumes to deliver polished, well-practiced illusions. But, real life is messy. One of the best themes is the consistent struggle of balancing both — and how they deal with the disappointments in both areas.
Magic in general is a crowd-pleaser and documentary “Magicians: Life in the Impossible” revels in that but goes beyond by lifting the curtain and showing the audience the real life triumphs and tragedies of these performers in ways that often magic is afraid to show. This feature’s vulnerability is perfect for the magic-lover who wants more.
Make sure to stay until the very end. Minkin’s work creates audible gasps in the audience; even right through until the last moments.
Featuring: Frank Alfter, Jon Armstrong, Brian Gillis, David Minkin, Jan Rouven, Sisuepahn.
Directors: Marcie Hume, Christoph Baaden.
Producers: Marcie Hume,Christoph Baaden.
Executive producers: Glen Zipper, Greg Stikeleather, Doug Blush, Lance Burton.
Directors of photography: Christoph Baaden, Marcie Hume, Bryan Donnell.
Editors: Colin Hawes, Christoph Baaden.
Composers: Brooke Blair, Will Blair
Distributor: Gravitas Ventures
Production companies: Subjective Films, Film for Thought