The Man Who Stole Banksy

Next Wave Spotlight


How do we define street art: social commentary, public blight or mere business opportunity? Perhaps all of the above, especially when the artist is Banksy and the canvas is the wall that separates Israel from Palestine. In a 2007 trip to the West Bank, iconic and still anonymous street artist Banksy used the wall to paint “Donkey Documents” an image depicting an Israeli soldier checking a donkey’s ID at a checkpoint. While some viewed the work as satirical political commentary, the citizens of Bethlehem expressed their rage toward what they perceived as a comparison of Palestinians to donkeys. In the midst of the fury over this cultural clash, a local taxi driver and bodybuilder, better known as Walid the Beast, decides to turn this street art into a potential financial endeavor. The plan? Literally cutting out the Banksy art from the wall with an industrial saw and posting it on eBay for the highest bidder to purchase.

As the artwork makes its journey from the chop shops of the Middle East to the auction houses of Western Europe we are brought into the shadowy underworld of a secret art market filled with stolen street art removed from walls around the world. From art dealers to private collectors and even fellow street artists, everyone has a different take on whether this is theft, preservation or strictly commerce. Featuring narration by legendary punk pioneer Iggy Pop, director Marco Proserpio’s provocative feature debut is a rollicking exploration into the dark heart of capitalism. —Joshua Moore

Producer Filippo Perfido in person in San Francisco

Italian director Marco Proserpio has been involved in lm, television and advertising since the age of 20, when he started working at MTV Italia. Soon after leaving MTV he started directing for television, short lms and commercials. His corporate clients include Pirelli, Campari, Jeep, Diesel, Sony. In November 2016, Proserpio directed the film The Story Of Our Guardians produced by Balich Worldwide Shows for the 45th UAE National Day. His most recent projects include the short film Toys and the feature documentary The Man Who Stole Banksy

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Elle Driver, Semira Hedayati: