- By GreasePaint
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People from Dallas and many surrounding cities came to the Dallas Theater & Civic Center tonight for the arrival of the cast and crew from GreasePaint. The red carpet was rolled out in front of the theater for the premiere of the documentary film featuring Joey Thurmond and his company, Nojoe’s Circus. With the cooperation of the theater holding this event on a night that they are usually closed and the production company, Espeuté Productions, allowing the premiere to be free to the public, many patrons came in large groups to experience this magnificent event. As the limousines arrived, folks would applaud even before the doors opened. This film has had a huge buzz around town and there were many Nojoe fans in attendance tonight. Being the Friday before Christmas, it was a bitter cold night and the traffic was horrendous, but this didn’t stop over 300 guests from seeing this remarkable film.
This marks the directorial debut of Daniel Espeut. After receiving his B.F.A. in Film and Television from the Savannah College or Art and Design, he approached Joey about a unique concept that hasn’t really been touched before by any other filmmaker. “I could never forget that moment,” Espeut said. He and Thurmond brainstormed about a film that would debunk the stereotypes about clowns and further explore the mystery of why some people are phobic about them. They both found themselves traveling all over the country interviewing famous clowns young and old, as well as visiting places like the Circus Museums at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida and the International Clown Hall of Fame in Baraboo, Wisconsin. These trips were followed by Mr. Espeut and fellow producer, Greg Gimpelevich, on an entire year of filming Joey and his family on the road traveling to North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, New York, Vermont and many other states along the east coast of the United States.
As the credits rolled at the end, Mr. Espeut walked downstairs and headed for the stage. A roaring applause echoed though the venue and when asked how he felt about the crowd’s reaction, he took a deep breath and simply said, “It’s a great thing to hear.” After the film, Joey and his wife Jamie announced their latest venture, the Nojoe Foundation, an organization to raise funds to help care for children in need and support other charitable organizations. The foundation also assists in the education of aspiring family entertainers through scholarship and training programs. They also announced the Family Entertainer’s Hall of Fame, a museum that brings recognition to those individuals who have exemplified outstanding accomplishments in the arts of moral family entertainment. Mr. Espeut came up to thank members of the crew, honored guests, and who he says has been his greatest supporter, his wife, Laura Espeut.
The audience then filed into the other side of the building for the reception, which included food, a silent auction and a meet and greet with the cast and crew. The film seemed was very well received and left many people feeling differently about the art of clowning. “I never thought that clowns worked so hard,” said Paul Galiano from Marietta, Georgia. The film even had fellow entertainers who attended gaining a new respect for clowns. “I saw so many similarities between Joey’s business and my own, it was amazing!” said Judy Bradley, a Disc Jockey from Gainesville, Georgia. After many photos and autographs, we got a chance to catch up with the cast to see what they thought about the movie after seeing it for the first time. Many of them could not believe all the hard work and effort that went into this film and are all very thankful to the production crew for telling their story.
Photography by: Paul Perdue – Perdue Vision