With your help, we can release the film in more ways - more theatres, more platforms, and do more to get the word out.
Additional funds will go toward:
- 40th Anniversary screenings in New York and Los Angeles - and maybe also Boston, Austin, Santa Fe and other cities with strong support for OUT OF THE BLUE. And Vancouver, Canada, too, of course - where this ground-breaking film was shot. (Let us know if you want to help organize in YOUR city or town!)
- We'd also like to pull together interview clips and footage from other sources, and shoot new interview footage with Linda Manz and other cast/crew members as bonus features for Blu-ray and DVD discs.
- New Re-release Trailer with Restoration Footage.
- New poster and other marketing materials.
- Special limited edition posters of scenes from OUT OF THE BLUE - showing Dennis Hopper’s amazing eye as a photographer.
- Mastering additional Digital Cinema Packages (DCP's) for theatrical/festival/special venue screenings.
- Preparing master digital files for the streaming service specifications of Amazon, iTunes, Netflix, Hulu and others.
- LTO back up of all master digital files as best preservation of OUT OF THE BLUE for the future.
- Subtitle the film in as many as six languages—English, Spanish, French, German, Japanese and Italian for DCP screenings all around the world. And utilize the foreign subtitles also for later international DVD/Blu-ray and streaming release.
Now we can focus on Phase Two: Re-release & Distribution Stretch Goal!
How will the additional $20,000 be utilized?
- DCP prep for Venice International Film Festival upcoming premiere
- Italian Subtitles
- Travel and Accommodations for Festival
- Publicist to take advantage of prestigious Venice Premiere
- Begin Preparation of Marketing Materials for 40th Anniversary Re-release
With the additional help of supporters like you, we’ll be poised to take advantage of the world-wide attention "Out of the Blue” will generate with Venice premiere of the new restoration.
Celebrity fans and supporters of “Out of the Blue” are legion.
From Natasha Lyonne and Chloë Sevigny to Jack Nicholson.
From Neil Young - who contributed the title theme song that inspired the movie - to UK band Primal Scream, who incorporated Linda Manz’s infamous opening ham radio dialogue into their song “Kill all Hippies”.
Help preserve Dennis Hopper’s “Out of the Blue” for countless new generations of film lovers.
Shocking. Controversial. Unforgettable.
“In many ways, it’s maybe my best film.” - Dennis Hopper
“If a masterpiece comes along, people ought to see it.” - Jack Nicholson
Dennis Hopper’s brilliant punk rock epic of adolescent rebellion gets ready for a new close-up!
“I recently took another look at Hopper's "Out of the Blue "(1980). Here was proof, if any is needed, that a celebrated burnt-out case came back to establish himself as the legitimate American heir to the cinema of Nicholas Ray--a cinema of tortured lyricism and passionate rebellion.... A late-blooming masterpiece." - Jonathan Rosenbaum (Chicago Reader)
New 4K Scan/Restoration and 40th Anniversary Worldwide Re-Release
Producers John Alan Simon and Elizabeth Karr (Discovery Productions, Inc.) are undertaking the 4K Digital Restoration of Dennis Hopper’s amazing, yet under-seen 1980 film - "OUT OF THE BLUE" - the fierce, uncompromising movie that critic Roger Ebert called an “unsung treasure of indie film.”
- This powerful story of a family in crisis, addiction and the lost American dream still resonates today.
- Performances of Linda Manz, Sharon Farrell and Dennis Hopper himself are raw and heartbreaking.
- Our initial release changed film history and helped re-establish Dennis Hopper as an important American director.
Time is not kind to celluloid or negatives.
Technicolor Laboratory - where we undertook the 35mm restoration back in 2008 - has closed its film operations. So there’s no practical way to strike any new 35mm prints.
Most cinemas today are digital only.
When the single 35mm print in the U.S. is worn out, torn, lost, etc., there will be no way to show “Out of the Blue” to audiences here. Same for the single 35mm print we archived at the Cinémathèque Francaise for overseas playdates.
Eleven years ago, the generous assistance from the Cinémathèque Française and the Thomson Foundation for Film & TV Heritage (now defunct) provided funds for much-needed work on the 35mm negative and the new film prints. This time around they’re unable to help.
So we’re turning to you - our fellow fans and admirers of Dennis Hopper and this landmark movie.
For us, it’s an almost sacred mission to share Dennis Hopper’s painfully bleak yet beautifully compelling drama with new audiences and commemorate the 40th anniversary.
Our plan is to 4K digital scan from the original negative and re-master for digital cinema projection in order to show “Out of the Blue” in newer theatres, museums, film societies - and then eventually on 4K streaming platforms, broadcast/cable TV, and beautiful new hi-def DVD and Blu-ray discs.
The experienced post-production team at Roundabout Entertainment are joining forces with us to restore, preserve and re-master “Out of the Blue”. Roundabout’s recent work on restorations include "Apocalypse Now" and "Easy Rider." - The specific goals for putting your generous Kickstarter pledges/finishing funds to work are listed below.
Phase One: 4K Scan/Restoration/Mastering:
- Negative Element Evaluation / Preparation
- 4K 35mm Digital Film Scanning (Full App 10bit)
- 4K DRS Digital Restoration addressing any image defects from dust and scratches to warping, color misalignments and missing frames.
- 4K Data Color Correction (P3 Color Space)
- Creating a new end credit sequence for the restoration - thanking our generous backers! (Like you, we hope!).
- Mastering Digital Cinema Package (DCP) for theatrical/festival/special venue screenings
- Preparing master digital files for the streaming service specifications of Amazon, iTunes, Netflix, Hulu and others.
- LTO back up of all digital files.
The more we raise - with your help! - the more we can do.
We’d like to subtitle the film in at least six languages—English, Spanish, French, German, Japanese and Italian for the encrypted DCP’s (Digital Cinema Package) for theatrical screenings all around the world in these languages. And utilize the foreign subtitles later for international DVD/Blu-ray and streaming release.
Phase Two: The Re-release/Distribution
- 1) PREMIERE: We anticipate the premiere of the restoration at an important film festival in the fall of 2019. (And we’re hoping Linda Manz will be available to attend for the red carpet and interviews!)
NEWSFLASH UPDATE: It's Official NOW! Venice Film Festival has announced that 'Out of the Blue' restoration will premiere in competition in "Venice Classics"! (Very exciting! More later....)
- 2) Early/Middle 2020: We are planning a new limited theatrical re-release in the U.S., including New York and Los Angeles and possibly an additional 10-20 cities. (We hope!)
- 3) Release on new streaming and download platforms for whole new generations to experience.
- 4) Newly mastered, pristine Blu-ray and DVD discs in both NTSC format (for North America and Japan) and PAL format (for the rest of the world).
We really look forward to starting a dialogue with YOU and building a grass-roots community of fans around the artistry and truth-telling of Dennis Hopper’s profound and disturbing work. Share the project with anyone and everyone. You’ll be amazed at some of the folks who love “Out of the Blue."
We hope to introduce you to some of the movie’s fans - famous and not-so famous - many of whom like writer/director/producer John Alan Simon - who spearheads this restoration project with me - will tell you first-hand how seeing “Out of the Blue” impacted and changed their lives and ideas about film-making.
Almost a spiritual sequel (and cautionary counterpoint) to "Easy Rider "- "Out of the Blue" chronicles the decline of sixties idealism into the decadence of the 1980’s.
SYNOPSIS: While driving intoxicated, Don Barnes (Dennis Hopper) crashed his truck into a school bus. This accident cost the lives of many town kids and resulted in his five-year sentence to prison for manslaughter. When he finally gets out of jail, Don tries to re-connect with his wife Kathy (Sharon Farrell), now working as a waitress, but promiscuous and drug-addicted. Since his incarceration, their daughter CeBe (Linda Manz) has grown into a traumatized teen misfit, fascinated both by Elvis and the punk rock movement. Each of these lost souls dream in their own way of forming a united family again, struggling against the dark past that still tears them apart.
A Little History
After the world-shaking success of "Easy Rider" (1968), the disastrous reception to "The Last Movie” (1970) kept Dennis Hopper out of the director’s chair for ten long years.
“For a person like me, it’s a miracle that I get the opportunity to direct a film. Because I don't listen to anybody. I don't have collaborators except my actors. - Dennis Hopper (interview)
Only a twist of fate gave Dennis the opportunity to direct of “Out of the Blue” (then titled "CeBe") for which he initially had only been hired to act. Disappointed with the first two week’s footage, the producers had decided to fire the original writer-director and shut down production. Instead, Dennis seized the opportunity to take the helm, re-write over the weekend, tailoring the script to Linda Manz’s breath-taking talent and unique personality, including her fascination with punk music. While driving, he heard his old friend Neil Young’s “My, My, Hey, Hey (Out Of The Blue)" on the radio and found the movie’s theme – literally and figuratively. Production began that Monday from scratch - with 4 1/2 weeks to shoot and a scant six weeks to edit.
What had started out as a conventional PG-rated family-friendly drama of a young girl’s abuse, delinquency and rescue by a well-meaning shrink (played by Raymond Burr - TV's original Perry Mason) became something else entirely. Something no one had ever seen before - with raw and riveting performances by Linda Manz, Sharon Farrell and Dennis himself.
Out of the Blue - And onto the Shelf
There was a promising launch and world premiere as an Official Selection at the Cannes Film Festival in 1980 - A triumphant return to the scene of his success with “Easy Rider,” more than a decade earlier.
The film had admirers. Vincent Canby of The New York Times called it a movie of “rude, rough, vitality…..Extraordinarily well acted.”
However, a year later, "Out of the Blue" remained mostly unseen. The British Film Institute's scholar/buff definitive "Sight & Sound" magazine called it “the most important film to be seen at Berlin this year, buried in a single virtually unpublicized screening in the market section….Effectively suppressed by its Canadian producers. The dark underside to the humanist family dramas. Graced with brilliant performances. Hopper brings intelligence to bear on the punk phenomenon. Wholly compulsive.”
In Ronald Reagan’s sunny world of “just say ‘no’” it was deemed too bleak, too nihilistic, too drug-infused for commercial release in the United States.
To make matters worse, the producers and financiers were at odds. As a result of Dennis Hopper (American) taking over as director, the movie lost it’s certification as “Canadian.” Instead of guaranteed profit from tax shelter write-offs, the investors now stood to lose their entire investment.
Which is how "Out of the Blue" became - as Dennis Hopper would tell the story - a movie without a country - the only film ever to compete in Cannes without a national anthem played at its premiere.
Thus “Out of the Blue” was sitting on the shelf when former film critic/journalist John Alan Simon and his one-man Discovery Films picked up the distribution challenge. John took the movie along with Dennis Hopper himself on the road following the same model he had used a few years earlier for the successful release of “The Wicker Man.” With the marketing help of a brilliant radio spot that John and Dennis travelled to Aspen to record with Jack Nicholson (who never endorses anything - not even his own movies!), “Out of the Blue” opened for a 17 week record-breaking run at the Coolidge Corner Cinema in Boston!
After the Boston run, John made an offer that if Dennis stayed sober, he’d open the film in New York and get him on Letterman. Dennis did and John did. According to Variety, “Out of the Blue” was the highest grossing screen opening week in New York at the Waverly Theatre (now the IFC Center). Theatrical release in Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles and a few other major cities, resulted in (mostly) glowing reviews and reinvigorated Dennis’ directing career.
"One of the year's ten best! Dennis Hopper gives us more of what is breaking America's heart and sapping its courage than any of our year's other movies." - Michael Ventura , LA Weekly
Dennis later told John that it was because Sean Penn saw “Out of the Blue” when it played at the Laemmle Theatres that he championed Dennis to direct "Colors." (Sean Penn's resulting life-long admiration and friendship with Dennis was such that he named his son "Hopper" in homage.)
Following the successful but very limited theatrical run, there was a videocassette release in 1984 by Media Home Entertainment, then the official DVD release by Anchor Bay back in 1999 - now long out of print.
So high-quality new copies of "Out of the Blue" don’t exist digitally anywhere in the world at present. (Avoid crummy bootlegs that crop up for sale or unauthorized streaming on the internet.)
The 35mm print struck after the preservation and restoration work done at Technicolor in 2008 premiered in France at the Cinémathèque Française - as the centerpiece opening night event for a month long retrospective of Dennis Hopper’s work - that Dennis was able to attend in Paris and enjoy less than 18 months before his death.
Since then, the movie’s critical reputation and importance has only grown - with special 35mm screenings at Anthology Film Archives, the Metrograph, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lincoln Center Film Society, Alamo Draft House, Austin Film Society, Danish Film Institute, George Eastman House and the British Film Institute, to name only a few.
Earlier this year, the restoration 35mm film print lost a few frames in a screening mishap. Struck over ten years ago - it will finally get worn out, torn, lost, etc. We’d like to retire the American 35mm print while still in good shape. (Perhaps donate it to an archive for posterity.)
That’s why our goal now - with your help to finish - is to scan the original negative and create new digital theatrical and streaming and home video masters --
Before the film becomes unscreenable and unavailable.
Can’t let that happen, right? This film is too important to lose.
"Out of the Blue is pure Hopper.... A hell-bent classic." - David Elliott - USA Today
“Brutally good. Linda Manz is superb as the disconnected teenager.....Nihilistic yet riveting." -- Bill Kaufman, Newsday
"One of the year's ten best! Dennis Hopper gives us more of what is breaking America's heart and sapping its courage than any of our year's other movies." -- Michael Ventura, LA Weekly
"Thumbs Up! A bitter unforgettable poem about alienation. One of the unsung treasures among recent independent films." Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times/At the Movies
"Hopper returns with a winner. An impressive demonstration of mastery of mood and tone. Primal and profound......Linda Manz stages a brilliant performance......"Blue" simmers with heat and passion, gripping you and refusing to let you go. " - Bruce McCabe, Boston Globe
"I recently took another look at Hopper's "Out of the Blue "(1980). Here was proof, if any is needed, that a celebrated burnt-out case came back to establish himself as the legitimate American heir to the cinema of Nicholas Ray--a cinema of tortured lyricism and passionate rebellion.... A late-blooming masterpiece." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"Extraordinarily well-acted by Linda Manz and Dennis Hopper." - Vincent Canby, New York Times
“If a masterpiece comes along, people ought to see it." - Jack Nicholson
What's Involved in a 4K Digital Restoration?
Before restoration, the 35mm film negative and original soundtrack elements are prepped for scanning and transfer. Then the pain-staking frame-by-frame, digital clean-up and scene-by-scene color correction. The HDCAM, Transfer Master and DCP are created. Finally, for protection, the data is archived for preservation on LTO tapes for long-term storage.
We’ve spent the last year exploring and researching methods and facilities to assemble the best team to do the 4K Digital Restoration of "Out Of The Blue." As on the film’s previous successful 35mm restoration, we’ve had expert guidance from the restoration community.
We’re very fortunate to have Roundabout Entertainment as our collaborator. We plan to be ready to screen for a festival premiere in early fall 2019. With your help, a speedy completion of the 4K restoration may enable "Out Of The Blue" to premiere at a prestigious film festival. A kind of homecoming for Dennis Hopper….
Come along for the ride as we re-launch "Out of the Blue" in the U.S. and worldwide!
“If ever there was a movie about Sex and Drugs and Rock ’n’ Roll, this is it. Extraordinary.” - Time Out, London
"There's more to this Dennis Hopper picture than meets the eye. It's a snapshot of a bygone punk rock Vancouver." - Dorothy Woodend, The Tyee
Backstory - Our Little Company
John Alan Simon initially founded Discovery Films to uncover neglected/shelved movies like “The Wicker Man” and “The Haunting of Julia.” After the success of those efforts - gaining some notoriety due to a Time Magazine article - he was deluged with lost, abandoned, unloved movies to wade through. One of them was “Out of the Blue”…..
John acquired the U.S. distribution rights – and then the copyright and negative outright when the disillusioned tax shelter group threatened to stop paying lab storage bills and allow the negative materials to be scrapped. John and Dennis did guerrilla film distribution before there was such a thing - city by city, making appearances and John with his journalist background and then fledgling (now legendary) publicist Reid Rosefelt getting press and media to cover the story.
When John introduced me to the film, it blew me away, too. Outsiders and underdogs trying to find a way back to normal life. So much tenderness in this painful portrait of.a young girl attempting to navigate adolescence and a tragic past. Some movies you watch. This one you feel.
John Alan Simon’s passion that drove the initial release is now our shared ‘Why’ fueling this 40th Anniversary restoration & re-release — so that you and everyone can see OUT OF THE BLUE! We need your passion, too. And your pledges!
About Us - John Alan Simon and Elizabeth Karr
Our company, Discovery Productions makes movies and (sometimes) distributes them.
We’re an an independent creative writing/producing team with an emphasis on adapting novels and stories for film and television/streaming. Discovery’s slate of “elevated genre” — sci-fi, fantasy, thriller, horror — includes works by Philip K. Dick, Ian Watson, Jim Thompson and Hugo-Award -winning author Lucius Shepard. Our produced films include "Radio Free Albemuth" adapted and directed by John Alan Simon and "The Getaway" directed by Roger Donaldson.
Giving back is a big part of this project for us. Dennis Hopper’s friendship, generosity and artistic spirit were instrumental in John’s own journey as a filmmaker. Dennis taught John how to work with actors, and encouraged him to be a director.
And gaining overdue recognition to Linda Manz for delivering on the promise shown in Terrence Malick’s “Days of Heaven” with her raw, gut-wrenching performance in “Out of the Blue.”
With your support and generosity, we can SAVE OUT OF THE BLUE so that YOU and movie lovers everywhere can experience Dennis Hopper's "Out of the Blue" the way it was meant to be seen.
“In many ways, Out of the Blue may be my best film; people who hate it have a real problem…. It’s about the society of North America; the family unit is falling apart. People who say all this doesn’t exist in this country, where have they been?” –Dennis Hopper
What do I get for helping save Out of the Blue?
- First and foremost, you’ll be able to see Out of The Blue in a glorious 4K digitally remastered print.
- Second, Immense gratitude from Dennis Hopper fans, cinephiles and film preservationists all over the world. And heartfelt appreciation from us! Your pledge helped save "Out of the Blue."
- Third, Premiums run the gamut from DVDs and Blu-rays to tickets to the NY or LA premiere, the original vintage theatrical poster signed by Linda Manz and even Associate, Co-Executive or Executive Producer credit on the restoration. And other cool perks that you can read about in the right hand column. ——>
Kickstarter is all or nothing. So if we don’t reach our goal, we get zip and you don’t get any thank you gifts or premiums. And - worst of all - you may never get to see the movie.
Want to help get the word out?
Pass this on to your friends who like indie film, Dennis Hopper, underdogs and outsiders, Neil Young and punk rock. Email them, tweet it, blog about it, talk about it, share and repost on Facebook, instagram, pinterest - everywhere! Every little bit helps!
- Please message us directly and we’ll give you an email template to send your friends and discuss other ways you can help drive this mission.
- Grab any of the images in the story and share them on your social media. Simply right-click and drag them on to your desktop or mobile phone.
("Risks & Challenges" section is below the graphics we hope you share!)
Risks and challenges
The Project challenge:
The 4K Scan of the original negative materials, digital clean-up and restoration/remastering we're undertaking on ‘Out of the Blue’ with Roundabout Entertainment are a result of extensive research and expert guidance in the field, including our an initial introduction by one of the foremost restoration experts in the world. We’re confident that they are the best partners to take on this job.
The work-flow has already been determined, the negative materials evaluated, footage tested and the work underway.
We’re fortunate in several regards that “Out of the Blue” is a relatively recent film, produced in 1980; that Discovery has taken the utmost care in storage of the original 35mm negative that back in 2008, Discovery was fortunate enough to have the assistance of the Thomson Foundation and the Cinematheque Francaise to help fund the 35mm restoration.
We don’t know what unforeseen problems or glitches might turn up. Unforeseen snags might increase the budget. If expenses exceed estimates, we are nonetheless committed to cover them.
In other words, though we want your help for this project - we are all-in to make it happen one way or another.
There’s an old adage in the film business about “good, fast, cheap’ - pick two.” Because if it’s “fast and good,” it won’t be cheap; If it’s “good and cheap,” it won’t be fast; and if it’s “fast and cheap,” it won’t be good. “Fast and cheap” is not an option we’ll ever take, if additional expenses arise, they will be covered by us or hopefully from backer donations above the projected hard lab costs we have set as our funding goal. (Kickstarter applies a 5% fee to the funds collected for creators. Stripe, Kickstarter’s payments processor also applies payment processing fees (roughly 3-5%) so our $35K raise, if successful, nets us $31,500 to complete the restoration and create/mail backer premiums.
Out of the Blue will be successfully 4K scanned, digitally cleaned-up, color corrected, re-mastered and preserved. That much (leaving aside, earthquakes, civil insurrection, etc.), we are completely confident in promising all our backers.
The Crowd-funding/ Re-release Distribution challenge:
We know from our experience in crowd-funding on other movie projects, that the biggest practical challenge is with delivery of premiums to our backers that involve availability of the actual film.
Believe it or not, there is a definite method to the madness of the film business. Particularly with respect to the indie world. The studios have the resources to release tent-pole blockbusters in theatres worldwide at the same time. Netflix or Amazon can forego theatrical release altogether and just start streaming on their platforms.
The indie world doesn’t work that way (usually). The distribution landscape remains treacherous, uncertain and quirky.
What does this mean for me? (You are probably asking.)
The short answer is Patience. Maybe a lot of patience.
Here’s the longer answer:
A small theatrical release in the U.S. is necessary to build awareness. This can take several months due to availability of screens. Then downloads and video on demand on cable and iTunes and other websites. Then DVD/Blu-Ray release. Then subscription streaming on platforms like Netflix, Amazon or Hulu.
Could be 90 days from first theatrical release to download or cable video on demand or could be simultaneous. If it’s simultaneous, theatre owners want filmmaker/distributors to “four-wall” - i.e. rent their theatres to offset the risk of low audience turnout because of the film’s availability on these pay-per-view/download platforms.
We don’t know if we’ll have the resources to “four-wall”. And since we’re determined to make Out of the Blue first available in theatres, particularly New York and Los Angeles, we may have to abide by the customary “hold-backs.”
At the same time as we’ll be rolling out the movie in the U.S., we’ll be attempting to set up distribution deals country by country in Europe, Asia and elsewhere. Normally, these deal are not made directly - but via sales companies that attend markets like AFM, Cannes, Toronto with slates of both finished film and yet-to-be-produced projects. Often, it can take 12-18 months for this sales cycle. And then within each country - UK, France, Japan, Brazil, etc. - local factors make the release pattern different - and unique for every film.
So your patience will be required to receive a Blu-ray/DVD or streaming avail in the U.S. And even MORE patience outside the U.S.
(But who knows? Maybe a deep-pocket streamer like Netflix will want to license the film for a multi-territory premiere. That could be a game changer in our distribution plans and delivery avails.)
We are eager for all our backers - and film lovers everywhere - to experience ‘Out of the Blue’ as soon as possible. Regarding delivery of premiums — we’ve done our best to guesstimate when we will be able to send backers DVDs, Blu-rays and links to streaming. Delivery dates will be subject to when the restoration version is available commercially in a particular territory, so some of our estimates might be off - even way off.
We will do our utmost to get the movie to you earlier than the ‘expected delivery date’, but it might be later. And we promise to keep you updated before, during and after the campaign!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (24 days)