Joke Fincioen has had to explain her name ever since she moved to the United States in 1994.
Growing up in her native Belgium, her name was not a common one. But it didn’t mean anything other than “little Jo.” Truth is, Joke likes her name. Working in a creative industry, it’s easy to remember.
Plus, she’s teamed up in life and business with her husband who also has a unique name, Biagio. The name has only helped put her on the map.
Getting to Hollywood
Born in Bruges and living on the pop culture imports from America, Joke always wanted to work in “Hollywood.” As a young girl, acting seemed like the way to go. After success in her country’s national monologue competition circuit, theater seemed like a natural fit. When her parents moved the family to the US, Joke landed the role of Anne Frank in her first week of school at San Marcos High School in Santa Barbara, CA.
Admittance to the prestigious UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television followed. It was there that Joke Fincioen realized acting gave her no control over the process of creating entertainment. Being a gifted control freak, that would not do. That realization, and an inspiring internship at Gale Anne Hurd’s company (producer of Terminator, Armageddon and The Walking Dead) launched her on the path to producing.
It took a few years of working her way up the ladder before Joke Fincioen felt comfortable calling herself a producer. Together with her college sweetheart, Biagio Messina, she launched Joke Productions. The two of them would create, produce and deliver project after project until they both felt comfortable doing every job on set.
Some lean and sometimes mean years followed. But they stuck to their passion and focused on improving their skills. Joke & Biagio were able to not just be in Hollywood, but to pay their bills by producing video, film, and TV projects.
Life as a Producer
It’s been 10 years since Joke Productions was first third-party approved by TV networks. In those 10 years Joke Fincioen has produced over one hundred hours of film and television.
Projects range from an Oscar qualifying feature length documentary, to fan favorite and critical hit Beauty and The Geek. Joke finds inspiration in everyday people overcoming extra-ordinary obstacles. She also loves to share the surprising stories that only unscripted entertainment can deliver.
In the last few years Joke Fincioen and Biagio Messina not only added to their professional resume, but they’ve also produced their two most impressive works: a daughter and a son. Both are budget busting and schedule breaking productions. Yet, they leave Joke and Biagio uplifted and surprised at every turn.
Joke Fincioen has traveled the world, experienced many cultures, made friends with truly wonderful people, and been lucky enough to make a living telling stories. Most importantly she has loved and been loved in return. She will also be super impressed if you got that last reference. As for the thing she hates the most, as of today, it’s writing bios in the third person.