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Shirley Clarke's groundbreaking documentary film is in jeopardy - help us restore the print and release it for everyone to see!
Shirley Clarke's groundbreaking documentary film is in jeopardy - help us restore the print and release it for everyone to see!
310 backers pledged $26,714 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$26,714

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This is a chance to make history! Shirley Clarke's groundbreaking documentary about a black, gay hustler is one of the first no-holds-barred LGBT films in existence. It is also a brilliant (and hilarious!) exploration of the failings of truth and reality told in a tongue-in-cheek verité film style.  The film was so progressive and so different from the films of its era that it was misplaced and mishandled by history, and the original film elements were lost for over 45 years! After a protracted two-year search, Milestone is pleased to say that original master material has been discovered and we will be able to properly restore the film to its theatrical glory — but not without your help!

Portrait of Jason is being restored with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences' Academy Film Archive in Los Angeles. Milestone is working to raise over $50,000 to assist in the process.  As an independent distribution company comprised of just two very dedicated employees (Dennis Doros and Amy Heller, husband and wife and the co-founders of the company) Milestone simply cannot afford to do this alone. If we raise the money now, this important, extremely well crafted, highly entertaining, and outrageously funny film will be preserved (on 35mm film and digital) for future generations.

So we've turned to you — film lovers, LGBT activists, historians, artists, and/or interested human beings — to show us that grassroots fundraising is a powerful force for change, and in return we promise to give the world access to a lost masterpiece.  Every bit counts, and we thank you for your generosity!

Risks and challenges

Milestone founders (and staff!) Dennis Doros and Amy Heller have been working in film distribution for more than 25 years--the last 22 as a married couple dedicated to restoring and releasing great cinema, old and new. Since founding Milestone in 1990, the pair have worked to bring out such cinema treasures as F.W. Murnau's TABU, Charles Burnett's KILLER OF SHEEP, Luchino Visconti's ROCCO AND HIS BROTHERS and dozens more. Dennis has also become active in the lively world of film archiving and has served on the board of the Association of Moving Image Archivists for many years. Their company, Milestone Films, has received honors from the New York Film Critics Circle, Anthology Film Archive, the Fort Lee Film Commission, the National Society of Film Critics, the Flaherty Foundation and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.

With all that experience behind them, Doros and Heller can promise that a meticulous and glowing restoration of PORTRAIT OF JASON will be completed on time. We can also commit to creating and publicizing pristine DVDs and Blu-rays chock full of exciting bonus features. We can also promise that the film will show on the premiere movie channel in the USA, Turner Classic Movies. Milestone will open PORTRAIT OF JASON in theaters in major markets across the US and Canada, including major cities such as NY, LA, SF, Chicago, Boston, Seattle, Philadelphia, Toronto, and Washington, DC as well as smaller markets like Omaha; Nashville; Baltimore; Memphis; Portland (Maine and Oregon); Vancouver, BC; Cleveland; Columbus, OH; Bloomington, IN and many more. And after that, the DVD and Blu-Ray deluxe editions!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    A Portrait of Jason theatrical release poster, designed by award-winning graphic designer Scott Meola and a personal handwritten thank you from Milestone founders, Dennis Doros and Amy Heller!

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Everything above plus your name in the closing credits of the home DVD and Blu-ray release of Portrait of Jason.

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    39 backers
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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Everything above plus a DVD or Blu-ray copy of Portrait of Jason (your choice) for your personal collection.

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    64 backers
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Everything above plus posters for Shirley Clarke's other groundbreaking films — The Connection and Ornette; Made in America. Both designed by award-winning graphic designer Scott Meola.

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    30 backers
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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Everything above plus Milestone's entire Shirley Clarke home video collection, including The Connection (Blu-ray or DVD), Ornette: Made in America (Blu-ray or DVD), and Robert Frost: A Lover's Quarrel with the World (DVD).

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    14 backers
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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Everything above plus your name in the closing credits of the theatrical release version of Portrait of Jason, as well as an invitation to a press screening of the film in New York City!

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

    Silver-level Donor: Everything above plus your name listed as a silver-level backer in the closing credits of the theatrical and home video releases and on the poster and website for Portrait of Jason.

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    Gold-level Donor: Everything above plus your name listed prominently as a gold-level backer in the closing credits of the theatrical and home video releases and on the poster and website for Portrait of Jason, PLUS any 5 available DVDs from the Milestone collection! (http://milestonefilms.com/collections/all)

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Platinum-level Donor: Everything above plus a private dinner with Dennis Doros and Amy Heller, founders of Milestone Film & Video, in New York City to discuss the restoration of Portrait of Jason and hear Dennis give his famous lecture, "Where's Shirley?" about the process of discovering materials for Portrait of Jason. [Travel and accommodations not included] PLUS any 10 available DVDs from the Milestone collection! (http://milestonefilms.com/collections/all)

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    Diamond-level Donor: All of the above and the dinner invitation included with a Platinum donation, joined by Shirley Clarke's daughter Wendy Clarke. [Travel and accommodations not included] PLUS any 10 available DVDs from the Milestone collection (http://milestonefilms.com/collections/all) and two one-year memberships to NYC's acclaimed IFC Center.

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Funding period

- (60 days)