This article is an autobiography or has been extensively edited by the subject or by someone connected to the subject. (October 2019)
Joel Sion Gilbert
April 15, 1964 (age 59)
Joel Gilbert (born April 15, 1964) is an American filmmaker, musician, and conspiracy theorist. Gilbert's political films advance right-wing conspiracy theories. He has been a frequent guest on InfoWars.
Gilbert produced several films on Bob Dylan. He released the films Paul McCartney Really Is Dead: The Last Testament of George Harrison (2010), and Elvis Found Alive (2012) as documentaries, each exploring a conspiracy theory about the musicians' earthly states. In 2012, he re-classified them as mockumentaries.
In 2012, Gilbert released Dreams from My Real Father, which detailed his conspiracy theory regarding US President Barack Obama's biological father. The film was critically panned for its unsubstantiated allegations.
Gilbert is founder and lead singer of the Bob Dylan tribute band "Highway 61 Revisited". He was inspired to become a professional musician by a Bob Dylan album he was given in high school in the mid-1980s. He taught himself to play Dylan songs.
Reviewing Joel Gilbert's 2004 film Bob Dylan World Tours 1964–1974, Glide Magazine noted that Dylan's career during those 9 years was "significant for any Bob Dylan fan." The magazine said Gilbert focused on Dylan through the work of Barry Feinstein, Dylan's chief photographer during the film's time-frame. It criticized the film for low production values and boring interviews, saying that the amount of information within the film "might overwhelm". It noted the director's love for music history: "His passion for music in general is displayed in every scene."
In a review of Gilbert's Bob Dylan – 1975–1981 Rolling Thunder and The Gospel Years (2006), DVD Talk noted the film was "clocking in at a staggering four hours" and intended "for, and only for, the diehard Bob Dylan aficionado." They said the film was "exhaustive and exhausting," "an unexceptional, sometimes amateurish, video production."
Of Gilbert's 2008 documentary Inside Bob Dylan's Jesus Years: Busy Being Born Again, DVD Talk noted that the film was an "examination of the period from 1978 to 1981 where Dylan shook off his Jewish heritage and became a born-again, Evangelical Christian." The reviewer said the film was amateurish and that viewers would "be hard-pressed to find a more irritatingly edited project."
Glide Magazine commented that Gilbert's film Bob Dylan Revealed (2011) "features an abundance of anecdotes certain to satisfy some of the most hard-core Dylan fans", but concluded that the film was marred by "questionable choices in the editing and production", creating "something you'll want to watch, but probably not watch again."
Paul McCartney Really Is Dead: The Last Testament of George Harrison
DVD Talk severely criticized Gilbert's 2010 work Paul McCartney Really Is Dead: The Last Testament of George Harrison. Paul Mavis wrote, "Jesus, I hate documentaries like this one. I mean ... they really hit me where I live. Of course it's all utterly mad. Anyone can see it's been faked. The scenario doesn't even make any sense. ... Nothing here is believable." Mavis said that the alleged conspiracy "hold[s] zero weight", and "not one element of the conspiracy theory holds up to factual scrutiny, and quite clearly and most obvious of all, McCartney is still around as living proof of the absurdity of the hoax."
Film Threat noted that an "audience's ability to suspend practical thought and accept the most outlandish concepts imaginable" was "stretched far beyond the fraying point" by Gilbert's film. They said the film had holes in logic and consistency large enough to drive the Magical Mystery Tour bus through.
Elvis Found Alive
Gilbert's next film, Elvis Found Alive (2012) was similarly marketed as a documentary. In 2012, Gilbert reclassified both this film and the Paul McCartney one as "mockumentaries," and edited their Web sites to that effect, shortly before he released his conspiracy theory film that year alleging to have found new information about President Barack Obama's father.
Dreams from My Real Father
Gilbert's Dreams from My Real Father (2012), alleged that United States President Barack Obama's "real" father was an American communist. It was strongly criticized for its many unsubstantiated allegations about President Obama's birth and background. Slate said that the film "peddles a conspiracy theory so convoluted that more traditional birthers must be envious of its creativity". Both Jerome Corsi and The Hollywood Reporter stated that the film makes unsubstantiated allegations that President Barack Obama lied about being the son of Barack Obama Sr. The film claims that Obama's real father was Frank Marshall Davis, a communist from Chicago, and that Obama's mother posed for nude photography. The Hollywood Reporter wrote, "It's about the lowest thing you can do to accuse, with no evidence, the opposition candidate's mother of being a porn star".
The Trayvon Hoax
Gilbert's film The Trayvon Hoax (2019) is about the killing of Trayvon Martin. It is based on a book of the same name by Gilbert, which had argued there was witness fraud during George Zimmerman's trial. The premise of the film is that a key trial witness was not the person whom the Martin family, their attorney, and the prosecution claimed she was. Glenn Loury and John McWhorter found the film persuasive, despite their misgivings about the filmmaker.
In 2019, Zimmerman, represented by Larry Klayman, filed an unsuccessful lawsuit against Trayvon Martin's parents (Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin) as well as Attorney Ben Crump, who had represented the family. Zimmerman's lawsuit was based on the allegations made in Gilbert's book. In 2020, Gilbert's production company, also represented by Klayman, filed a lawsuit that alleged breach of contract after a movie theater canceled Gilbert's private screening of his film.
- Bob Dylan: World Tours 1966–1974 (Through The Camera Of Barry Feinstein) (2004)*
- Bob Dylan: 1975–1981 (Rolling Thunder and The Gospel Years) (2006)*
- Bob Dylan: 1966 World Tour (The Home Movies) (2003, 2006)*
- Bob Dylan: The Unauthorized Documentaries (2006) [A repackaging of Gilbert's first three films]*
- Farewell Israel: Bush, Iran, and The Revolt of Islam (2007)**
- Inside Bob Dylan's Jesus Years: Busy Being Born... Again! (2008)*
- Bob Dylan Never Ending Tour Diaries: Drummer Winston Watson's Incredible Journey (2009)*
- Atomic Jihad: Ahmadinejad's Coming War For Islamic Revival And Obama's Politics of Defeat (2010)**
- Paul McCartney Really Is Dead: The Last Testament of George Harrison (2010)***
- Bob Dylan Revealed (2011)*
- Elvis Found Alive (2012)***
- Dreams from My Real Father: A Story of Reds and Deception (2012)**
- There's No Place Like Utopia (2014)**
- The Constitution Strikes Back: Episode VIII - The Cruzade (2016)****
- Trump: The Art of the Insult (2017)***
- The Trayvon Hoax: Unmasking the Witness Fraud that Divided America (2019)**
- (*) Music history film
- (**) Political documentary
- (***) Spoofs/mockumentary
- (****) Animated short
- (as classified by Gilbert)
- Stuart, Tessa (January 4, 2016). "Watch Ted Cruz Wield a Constitution-Powered Lightsaber". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
- staff (September 28, 2012). "New Anti-Obama Film Claims His Mother Posed for Nude Photos". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 23, 2012.
- Milbank, Dana. "Latest from the Trump conspiracy factory: Bill Clinton's black son". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
- Goldberg, Michelle (September 28, 2012). "With 'Dreams From My Real Father,' Have Obama Haters Hit Rock Bottom?". The Daily Beast. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
- Milbank, Dana (November 1, 2016). "Latest from the Trump conspiracy factory: Bill Clinton's black son" – via www.washingtonpost.com.
- Collins, Loren (Winter 2014–2015). "Paul McCartney Really Is Not Dead". Skeptical Briefs. Retrieved September 23, 2016.
- Schlansky, Evan (October 30, 2009). "Bob Dylan's Shadow: An Extended Interview With Joel Gilbert". American Songwriter. Retrieved December 24, 2012.
- Gilbert, Joel (2019). The Trayvon Hoax. Los Angeles: Highway 61 Entertainment, LLC. p. 165. ISBN 9781642933970.
- Blue, Miranda (October 27, 2014). "Joel Gilbert: Liberals Using Pot To 'Exert Total Control' Over Drugged Populace". Right Wing Watch. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
- Gilbert, Joel [@JoelSGilbert] (May 18, 2018). "I will host Infowars @infowars today at 3 PM EST" (Tweet). Retrieved August 26, 2019 – via Twitter.
- Gonulsen, Jason (April 21, 2005). "DVD review: Bob Dylan World Tours 1966–1974". Glide Magazine. Retrieved December 23, 2012.
- Bacharach, Phil (April 3, 2006). "DVD review: An unexceptional, sometimes amateurish, video production, don't expect to be wowed. Heck, a tripod and camera appear behind a handful of interview subjects". DVD Talk. Retrieved December 23, 2012.
- Bailey, Jason (October 18, 2008). "DVD review: Inside Bob Dylan's Jesus Years: Busy Being Born Again". DVD Talk. Retrieved December 23, 2012.
- Rodriguez, Nathan (May 5, 2011). "DVD review: Bob Dylan – Revealed". Glide Magazine. Retrieved December 23, 2012.
- Mavis, Paul (August 30, 2010). "DVD review: Paul McCartney Really Is Dead: The Last Testament of George Harrison". DVD Talk. Retrieved December 24, 2012.
- Hall, Phil (July 11, 2010). "DVD review: Paul McCartney Really Is Dead: The Last Testament of George Harrison". Film Threat. Archived from the original on December 13, 2012. Retrieved December 24, 2012.
- Capranos, Alexia (June 28, 2010). ""Paul Really Is Dead" Says New Documentary". DIYmag.com. Retrieved September 23, 2016.
- Nelson, Dustin (November 1, 2010). "An Interview With Joel Gilbert, director of Paul Really Is Dead". InDigest.com. Archived from the original on September 24, 2016. Retrieved August 27, 2019.
- James, Gary. "Interview with Joel Gilbert". ClassicBands.com. Retrieved September 23, 2016.
- Marcotte, Amanda (September 28, 2012). "Conservatives Stoop To Slut-Shaming Obama's Dead Mother". Slate. Retrieved December 23, 2012.
- The Glenn Show: Revisiting the Trayvon Martin Case | Part 1 | with John McWhorter. YouTube. Archived from the original on December 11, 2021.
- The Glenn Show: Revisiting the Trayvon Martin Case | Part 2 | with John McWhorter. YouTube. Archived from the original on December 11, 2021.
- "Judge tosses Zimmerman's lawsuit against Trayvon's parents". AP News. February 14, 2022. Retrieved July 19, 2023.
- "Judge tosses George Zimmerman's lawsuit against Trayvon Martin's parents". NBC News. February 18, 2022.
- "Why the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman story won't go away - Chicago Tribune". Chicago Tribune. February 21, 2020.
- "George Zimmerman sues Trayvon Martin's family, prosecutors for $100 million - The Washington Post". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on December 4, 2019.
- Cohen, Howard (January 8, 2020). "Filmmaker sues Coral Gables and cinema over George Zimmerman 'Trayvon Hoax' documentary". Miami Herald.
- "Joel Gilbert filmography". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 31, 2012.