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The Laughing Man is a tragicomic portrait of part-time actor and occasional twin of Jesus Christ, Thomas Alan Williamson. Though known for his infectious laugh, Thomas has lived a life haunted by tragedy, mental illness, and estrangement. He’d like to visit his dying father back home in Texas, but Thomas faces homelessness in Louisiana and every day is a struggle to survive. A mosaic of verité encounters, interviews, photographs, first-person confessionals, phone calls, and hand-written journals, the film creates an intimate connection with a remarkable individual who is but one of the millions seeking shelter under our freeways and refuge in our hospitals.
The screening will be followed by a panel discussion about mental health and houselessness, moderated by Christiaan Mader (The Current).
The film was supported in part by New Orleans Film Society’s Southern Producers Lab and the Louisiana Board of Regents.
Louisiana native Zack Godshall makes films about unsung people and places that exist along the fringes of culture. His films have been acclaimed by The New York Times, The Atlantic, and Oxford American, among others and played at the Sundance Film Festival, on The Documentary Channel, and on Time.com. Zack earned an MFA in film directing from UCLA and currently teaches film and screenwriting at Louisiana State University.
Directed by Zack Godshall
Featuring Thomas Alan Williamson
Produced by Jillian Godshall
Music by Daniel Coolik