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A feature-length documentary about the life, work and impact of queer poet, wildman, and filmmaker James Broughton.
A feature-length documentary about the life, work and impact of queer poet, wildman, and filmmaker James Broughton.
128 backers pledged $12,976 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$12,976

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The Big Joy Project is a feature-length documentary (and interactive website) about the life, work and impact of queer poet, playwright and filmmaker James Broughton. It explores Broughton’s complex story, where “Adventure, not predicament” is life’s motto, and where nursery rhymes and silly fantastical images pave the way into the mystical, serious and truly profound.

Big Joy explores Broughton's life, his art, his unconventional choices (like marrying a young man), and his role in creating some of America’s most famous poetic movements (he helped organize the readings that made the Beats famous), and his ceaseless ability to follow his own artistic tune (he produced 23 wildly different books of poetry, and 23 films). His story navigates the Depression, the McCarthy Era, the Beat movement, the Hippie movement and Gay liberation.

Broughton was a pioneer of experimental filmmaking, a central player in the San Francisco Renaissance and counterculture, a bard of sensuality and spirituality, and a preacher of Big Joy. His life’s work was about “follow(ing) your own weird,” building community, and living life’s contradictions.

 This film is about a man who dared to live poetically, experiment boldly, and follow his own inner promptings.  It documents James Broughton’s life-long exploration of Godbody (spiritualized body), Divine Androgyne (the balance of male and female in us), as well as his constant exploration of life’s paradoxes through poetry and image. 

 “Can you accept yourself, in every part and particular?” he asks in his book The Androgyne Journal. “Specifically, tenderly and humbly?”

 His works are a trumpet call to the practicality of fun; they see joy as occupying the very center of a human life.

What the money will go toward:

Help us complete our final interviews for the film!  We’ve already finished 26 interviews, Your contribution will allow us to complete the interviews .  Then we’ll head into the editing studio where the magic happens and it all comes together!

We’re tracking down the original stars of James’s films (some from 30 years ago) and we’re bringing the amazing work of little known poet and filmmaker James Broughton back to the screen—where he can inspire a new generation to “follow your own weird,” and see life as an “adventure not predicament.”

Other Links:

Our Facebook page where we post Broughton quotes (and news)

Our website: www.bigjoy.org 

Our You Tube Channel: where we've posted some Broughtonesque pieces: http://wwwyoutube.com/jamesbroughtoncinema

Our trailer: http://www.vimeo.com/7606346

Our trailer and ask: http://www.vimeo.com/19547160

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Receive subscription to the Big Joy e-newsletter

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    17 backers
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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Newsletter subscription + colorful, original Big Joy bookmark

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    16 backers
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Newsletter subscription + bookmark + 2 Big Joy greeting cards by acclaimed artist Max St. Romain or James Broughton himself

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    15 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Newsletter subscription + bookmark + 2 Big Joy greeting cards + One of James Broughton’s groundbreaking books

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    11 backers
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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Newsletter subscription + bookmark + 2 Big Joy greeting cards + One of James Broughton’s books + your name in the film’s credits

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    7 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Newsletter subscription + bookmark + 2 Big Joy greeting cards + One of James Broughton’s books + your name in the film’s credits + DVD of movie + 2 tickets to the gala film premiere

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    2 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Newsletter subscription + bookmark + 2 Big Joy greeting cards + One of James Broughton’s books + your name in the film’s credits + DVD of movie + 2 tickets to the premiere + Facets DVD set of James most celebrated original films

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    2 backers
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Funding period

- (30 days)