" I began to think that if one life, somehow made into art, were recorded - not all of it, but as the testimony on an old tombstone - wouldn’t that be worth something? ”
- Anne Sexton
Joey Huertas (aka Jane Public) is inspired by the aesthetics of confessional poets and works alone - handwriting, shooting, editing and scoring all of his work. The terrains of his films and performances are private, but with a documentary impulse at work. His works take many forms, including stories arranged by peculiar/imagined biographies of fictitious persons, collections of found/anonymous photographs, found sound recordings, drawings and text compositions. Critics have cited his work as representing a new form of transgressive fictional biography. Joey describes his work as psychological autopsies of clinical fiction.
Joey’s films and live performances have been exhibited at venues and museums all around the world. He was the recipient of the Willard Van Dyke Award for Non-Fiction Film, the Kodak Film Award and awarded Best Experimental Film at many international film festivals. He is often invited to present and discuss his work in person.
Joey holds a BFA from the State University of New York at Purchase's Conservatory of Theatre Arts and Film and is a forensic social worker with a Masters Degree in Social Work from Hunter College. He served as a creative writing and screenwriting instructor at Rikers Island, NYC Department of Correction. His non-fiction film studies have received stipend support from The Research Foundation of State University of New York. In 2013 he interviewed Cuban dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez for the State Department. He has testified for the 'Compassionate Release' of dying female inmates before the Board of Parole in Sacramento, California. He has exhibited at PS1 MoMA, CCA Centre for Contemporary Art in Glasgow Scotland, MASS MoCA, Participant, Inc, the Syracuse and Ann Arbor Film Festivals among others. His work has appeared in a variety of publications including Dazed, Art Forum, Millennium Film Journal, Cineaste, and has been featured on NPR, BBC UK, and PBS broadcasts. He has written and published three short stories, Homewrecka, Lines of Resolution and The Colors of Spring. In 2022, Joey was awarded and recognized by Corrections-Based Operations (CBO) for his dedication, work and commitment to Criminal Justice Initiatives service in the community.
The artist lives, performs, blogs and works in the United States and Europe and is currently working on his first feature-length film commissioned by the United Kingdom. He served as Executive Director of the Millennium Film Workshop from 2016 to 2022 and created his own DIY underground avant-garde screening/reading series in New York City called, Hijack!
The Museum of Modern Art , MoMA exhibited Joey's 16mm film work in 2022. The 2023 Ann Arbor Film Festival will present retrospective selections of Joey's experimental films to be screened at the legendary Michigan State theatre.
Docu-fessional films are what the bullhorn was in 1968 for the SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) at Columbia University. Films cannot change the world, but they can affect change. Docu-fessional films educate, inspire, speak truths, give voice, and enable others to see what they might not otherwise witness or experience.
The film is a major art form that influences and educates people around the world. The commercial film industry, and many film festivals, promote the buying and selling of film as a product. Docu-fessional films are not opposed to the commercial industry but stand for something else. They are a nexus, and a solar system for a film that is made for the purpose of art; a film that challenges conventions, explores new ground and inspires change.
"I became involved with Human Rights because much of my artistic, professional and academic life has been concerned with the healing process. Personal involvement in issues concerning human injustice and politics are so fundamentally important, and so embattled, that I decided that was where I should give the time I had for work. I have testified before the US Senate for the compassionate release of dying female inmates in prisons and have been an active member of Amnesty International for over 10 years. I also work closely with various national sectors for victim's rights, missing persons and the rights of incarcerated American women artists."