arrow-downarrow-leftarrow-rightarrow-upchevron-upchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-upclosecomment-newemail-newfullscreen-closefullscreen-opengallerygridheadphones-newheart-filledheart-openmap-geolocatormap-pushpinArtboard 1Artboard 1Artboard 1minusng-borderpauseplayplusprintreplayscreenshareAsset 34facebookgithubArtboard 1Artboard 1linkedinlinkedin_inpinterestpinterest_psnapchatsnapchat_2tumblrtwittervimeovinewhatsappspeakerstar-filledstar-openzoom-in-newzoom-out-new

This Clown Philosopher Lives in a Wonderful, Whimsical World

For clown philosophers like Slava Polunin, happiness is both an art form and a mission statement. Through constant and playful practice, Polunin has dedicated the past 40 years of his life to nurturing the art of foolishness. Blurring the line between fantasy and real life, Polunin’s famous shows have brought joy to millions of people around the world.

In this short film by the American Theatre Wing, enter the whimsical world of Slava Polunin and follow clowns Brent McBeth, Joel Jeske, and David Shiner through their routines. Rooted in physical comedy, clowning has been transcending cultural barriers since ancient times. Speaking the universal language of laughter, clowns bring people together to share in the joy and absurdity of the human condition. As said by Big Apple Circus clown Joel Jeske, "Clowns fall down so we don't have to."

Credits: Directed and produced by Margarita Jimeno; cinematography by Daniel Takács and Adam Jandrup; edited by Sofia Subercaseaux; music composition by Julio Monterrey.

The Short Film Showcase spotlights exceptional short videos created by filmmakers from around the world and selected by National Geographic editors. We look for work that affirms National Geographic's belief in the power of science, exploration, and storytelling to change the world. To submit a film for consideration, please email The filmmakers created the content presented, and the opinions expressed are their own, not those of National Geographic Partners.