Justin Weinstein and Tyler Measom’s documentary An Honest Liar profiles magician and hoax debunker James Randi, who grew especially famous disproving psychics and mentalists in the ’70s and ’80s. But instead of being a straightforward profile, the film’s subject matter–and framework–allow the filmmakers to examine larger issues of deception and public gullibility.
“I’m fascinated by the growing divide of people’s beliefs and reality and evidence,” Weinstein tells Fast Company‘s Co.Create. “This country’s biggest issues—politics, environment, religion—are the result of our population’s inability to distinguish good information from bad, fact from fiction, and belief from evidence. They haven’t learned scientific thinking. We wanted to deal with the subject in a more popular way—kind of hiding aspirin in the applesauce. Randi used his position as an entertainer to forward this mission of skepticism and critical thinking.”