Richard Turner is a card mechanic. He’s a master of deception, making cards appear and disappear in front of your very eyes. Whether in front of an auditorium filled with people or performing for an audience of one, his quick hands and steady style make it impossible to figure out how he does what he does.
Turner is also completely blind.
This summer, the 2017 deadCenter Film Festival is opening with the documentary film Dealt about card mechanic Turner. In the film, Turner allows director Luke Korem to follow him through his daily life with his family and on the road to performances, conventions and awards shows. He is shockingly talented, fun to watch and eager to talk about anything — except being blind.
Turner refuses to acknowledge that he has a disability. He scorns reporters who ask about his blindness. He rejects help from a cane or a dog or anyone but his wife. You get the impression he will never deal honestly with his blindness.
Until he does.
Dealt premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, where it was greeted with standing ovations in every screening and honored with the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature. At the deadCenter Film Festival June 8 through 11 in Oklahoma City, Dealt will be one of several films that take an up-close and personal look at public figures with guarded private lives.
Gilbert Gottfried is one of the most respected comedians alive. He has appeared in 140 films and television shows, from Beverly Hill Cop II to Hollywood Squares. He is a regular guest on comedy roasts and Howard Stern. He famously voiced the Aflac duck and the parrot Lago from Disney’s Aladdin, including the movie, the sequels, the television show, the video games and even Disney on Ice. All the while, he has remained one of the most shocking, boundary-pushing comedians in the business.
The film Gilbert is directed by Moore native and OCU graduate Neil Berkeley. Berkeley won deadCenter in 2012 with Beauty is Embarrassing about artist Wayne White. He returned in 2014 with the film Harmontown about Dan Harmon, the creator of the television series Community, who goes on a nationwide podcast tour after he is fired from his own show.
As with his earlier films, Berkeley is able to find the story about Gottfried that no one else is telling. Considered a lifelong loner by everyone in the business, Gottfried opens up for the first time about getting married later in life and raising young children while performing very adult comedy. It is a wonderful juxtaposition, illuminated only because of Berkeley’s patience with his subject and skill at unearthing the story beneath the story.
Turner, Korem and Berkeley will all be at the deadCenter Film Festival to present their films and talk about how they were able to get their subjects to open up and share their lives.
For a full list of films, schedule, and pass information, please visit deadcenterfilm.org.