American Clown is a feature-length documentary exploring the plight of clowns in a country that looks on them with a growing sense of apprehension and disdain.
Guilford Adams has worked as a professional clown for nearly two decades. In recent years, he’s watched media reports of “clowns” terrorizing neighborhood streets at night, the reboot of “IT” and Pennywise, the shuttering of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and the unceremonious end to the regional Ronald McDonald program, where “assistants” to Ronald appeared at grand openings, community events and elementary school shows.
Guilford was one of those dismissed assistants to Ronald.
As he felt the culture shifting, he started thinking about what it might mean for him, his family and all of his clowning comrades.
Our film follows Guilford’s quest as he surveys the current state of clowning with his friends who are also struggling to adapt, as well as legendary performers of past eras and their take on the history and art of clowning.
“By laughing at me, the audience really laughs at themselves and realizing they have done this, gives them sort of a spiritual second wind for going back into the battles of life.” – Emmett “Weary Willie” Kelly
This is the journey of a working-class clown looking for his place in America.
About The Filmmakers
Guilford Adams - Co-Director
Guilford has entertained thousands of children for nearly 20 years and has appeared in dozens of TV shows (GLEE, MODERN FAMILY) and national commercials (ORBIT, BANK OF AMERICA). Guilford also teaches a clown camp and works as a medical clown with Healthy Humor. For 10 years Guilford officially portrayed Ronald McDonald throughout the Southern California region.
Scott Barber - Co-Director
Scott made his directorial debut with his film, THE ORANGE YEARS: THE NICKELODEON STORY, featuring Kenan Thompson, Drake Bell, & Melissa Joan Hart. The film premiered at the DOC NYC Festival in 2018, to a sold out crowd and is currently streaming on HULU. Scott is now finishing up his current film, THIS IS GWAR, featuring Thomas Lennon, Alex Winter, Weird Al Yankovic, Ethan Embry, & Bam Margera.
Bill Parks - Producer
Bill has been acting in movies, commercials and tv shows for over 20 years. Most recently he’s been producing documentary films including GHOSTHEADS featuring Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, and Sigourney Weaver; THE ORANGE YEARS: THE NICKELODEON STORY, featuring Kenan Thompson, Drake Bell, & Melissa Joan Hart; & THIS IS GWAR featuring Thomas Lennon, Alex Winter, Weird Al Yankovic, Ethan Embry, & Bam Margera.
Jason Sallee - Producer
Experienced producer on both documentaries (RADIO CAROLINE, SUNSET STRIP, WHEN THE WORLD BREAKS) and feature films (STUCK, TREACHERY, A COUNTRY CHRISTMAS, DEAD IN 5 HEARTBEATS, AMONG FRIENDS).
Hans Fjellestad - Cinematographer/Editor
Award-winning filmmaker whose work includes the feature documentaries SUNSET STRIP, MOOG, SOUNDING THE SPACE, THE HEART IS A DRUM MACHINE, WHEN THE WORLD BREAKS and FRONTIER LIFE.