Monday, April 28, 2014

Sean Kelly

Hot Docs 2014: Art and Craft


Mark Landis is one of the most prolific art forgers in U.S. history.  For over 30 years, Landis has forged over 100 pieces, donating them to 46 museums in 20 states.  Suffering from mental illness, Landis describes himself as having an “addiction to philanthropy” and finds himself continuing to create forgeries, even though he knows it is wrong. Landis catches the attention of a registrar named Matthew Leininger, who makes it his personal mission to expose Landis and put a stop to this decades-long ruse.

While watching Art and Craft, I was reminded of a scene from the film American Hustle, where Christian Bale’s character of Irving Rosenfeld goes over to a forged Rembrandt painting and says “People believe what they want to believe because the guy who made this was so good that it's real to everybody. Now who's the master, the painter or the forger?”  Mark Landis is an exceptional artist with a photographic memory and has fooled museums for decades, with his carefully reproduced paintings.  Because Landis has never received money for his forgeries, he technically isn’t committing a crime.  However, this doesn’t stop Matthew Leininger from obsessively continuing his Catch Me If You Can-like cat and mouse game with Landis.

With a history of mental illness, including schizophrenia, Mark Landis probably barely understands that creating forged paintings is a bad thing to do.  That said, he is an immensely interesting person to watch and it is amazing that this simple-minded man was able to fool so many museums.  All together, Art and Craft tells a very enjoyable story, which would seem right at home in a Hollywood caper film.



  • Tues, April 29, 9:00 PM – Scotiabank Theatre 3
  • Wed, April 30, 11:59 PM – Bloor Hot Docs Cinema
  • Sat, May 3, 4:00 PM – Bloor Hot Docs Cinema
  • Sun, May 4, 11:00 AM – Revue Cinema

Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).