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|Born||Joel Sion Gilbert
April 15, 1964 (age 53)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
|Organization||Highway 61 Entertainment|
He is known for his videos 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."
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.
- 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)****
(*) Music History Films (**) Political Documentaries (***) Spoofs/Mockumentaries (****) Animated Short (as classified by Gilbert)
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
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 films 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". Jerome Corsi wrote in WorldNetDaily that the film was claimed by its director to have been based on two years' worth of research. Both 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".
- "Taking Bob Dylan at faith value". The Washington Times. October 24, 2008. Retrieved December 24, 2012.
- staff (September 28, 2012). "New Anti-Obama Film Claims His Mother Posed for Nude Photos". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 23, 2012.
- 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.
- "Joel Gilbert filmography". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
- 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. 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. Retrieved September 23, 2016.
- 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.
- Corsi, Jerome R. (September 17, 2012). "MSNBC trashes 'Dreams' documentary on Obama". WorldNetDaily. Retrieved December 24, 2012.
- Corsi, Jerome R. (October 7, 2012). "Swing-state stunner: 'Dreams' mailed to 2.7 million". WorldNetDaily. Retrieved December 23, 2012.