GreasePaint is a documentary film by Daniel Espeut that follows Joey Thurmond and his family as they travel around the country performing the art of American circus clowning. The movie resurrects the dying art of clowning demonstrated by Joey’s love for the craft and makes sure that people see the human side of clowning. While the over-arching story focuses on Joey and his ability to balance the business and family life, the viewer also hears from circus performers, old and new, discussing the positive and negative connotations that people have of clowns.
Having started the clowning full time, Joey Thurmond has put his life savings and police pension into his ultimate passion. He overhauls the new show completely with a new background, traveling set, and living quarters. The family starts the year not knowing whether they will have enough money to make it back home from the road. His wife, Jamie, manages a lot of the day to day affairs and keeps the peace in the family. Joey’s son, Tyler, weighs his options of staying with the business or pursuing his own dreams. Hernan Colonia, a late-comer to the show works on adjusting to his new surroundings and unfortunate immigration situation.
The movie is a glimpse into a year of traveling in the most significant and dynamic year in the business’ history while examining the clowning world as a whole. The audience sees the backstories of quite a few of the characters including Joey’s rise from professional wrestler, to police officer, to clown. It is about the love of a family and how they manage to live and work together 24 hours a day while following their circus dreams.
When & Where
Born and raised in Georgia, Daniel Espeut has been producing unique cinematic productions for many years. He discovered his passion for directing motion pictures while he was attending Collins Hill High School in Suwanee, Georgia. By his senior year in 2004, he received six AECT International Student Film Festival awards and a media internship position with ZDF, one of Europe’s largest broadcast television network located in Mainz, Germany. In 2009, he became a Cum Laude graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film and Television. Daniel met Joey Thurmond while making a promotional video for Nojoe’s Circus. He was fascinated by Joey’s passion for the art and knowledge of clowning. With Daniel’s second profession being a mobile DJ and MC, it amazed him how many similarities he saw in Joey’s profession. Watching Joey perform made Daniel a better performer! Joey and Daniel decided it was time to make a film that shows the everyday life of a performing clown, in and out of makeup. This would be the essential element to humanize the clown.