Kickstarter is leading an initiative devoted to restoration across a number of mediums, including film. When they reached out to us and asked, "if you could restore one film, what would it be?", we didn't have a moment of hesitation; Kelly Reichardt's debut feature RIVER OF GRASS (1994).
Kelly Reichardt is undoubtedly one of the most exciting American auteurs working in cinema today. If you’re already a fan of Kelly’s more recent films, you’ll be thrilled to see RIVER OF GRASS and where she got her start. And if you’re new to her work, this will be an exciting introduction to a master filmmaker.
Kelly is best known for her intimate and visually stunning dramas OLD JOY (2006) starring Will Oldham, WENDY AND LUCY (2008) & MEEK'S CUTOFF (2010) both starring Michelle Williams, and NIGHT MOVES (2013) starring Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, and Peter Sarsgaard.
A Crime Story Without the Crime
Reichardt began her feature film career in 1993 with the darkly funny RIVER OF GRASS. The film brought the writer/director back to the setting of her adolescence, the suburban landscape of southern Florida where she grew up with her detective father and narcotics agent mother. The story follows the misadventures of disaffected house-wife "Cozy", played by newcomer Lisa Bowman, and the aimless layabout "Lee", played by up and comer Larry Fessenden, who also acted as a producer and the film's editor. Reichardt described the movie as "a road movie without the road, a love story without the love, and a crime story without the crime," foreshadowing themes she'd return to in later films. Despite permitting issues and a few run-ins with the law, the filming was a collaborative and community endeavor with many locals playing bit roles as well as assisting in the production.
RIVER OF GRASS was shot on 16 mm color film in Kelly's preferred 4x3 aspect ratio. The camerawork and compositions demonstrate a filmmaker already in command of her craft and defining her signature style.
RIVER OF GRASS was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize and Best Debut Feature prizes at the Sundance Film Festival, where it debuted in 1994. After Sundance, the film continued to garner praise and was nominated for Best First Feature, Best First Screenplay and Best Debut Performance for Lisa Bowman at the Independent Spirit Awards.
Oscilloscope has been really lucky in collaborating with Kelly as the distributor of her films WENDY AND LUCY and MEEK'S CUTOFF. She is a member of the Oscilloscope family and we're psyched to have the opportunity to collaborate once again with RIVER OF GRASS. And here's where we need your help.
Right now RIVER OF GRASS is commercially unavailable, time hasn't been especially kind to all of the elements, and there is no high definition digital version of the film. In an era of digital theater projection, online streaming and digital downloads, this severely limits where, how, and when a film lover can experience Kelly's debut film. We want audiences to discover AND rediscover RIVER OF GRASS in a high quality presentation. Oscilloscope, along with two exciting preservation partners, Sundance Collection at UCLA, and TIFF, will restore and remaster the film in a high quality digital 2k and release it on digital platforms and on DVD. From this 2K, we'll also eventually create a DCP (digital print) for theaters and film festivals to exhibit to audiences.
We've got rewards galore and will be adding more throughout the campaign. Check out a few below and pledge now! (See the sidebar for more detailed information.)
We need YOU!
Please support our campaign! Pledge money - any amount you can! Email it to your friends! Tweet about it to your followers! Facebook it for all the world to see!
Thank you so much for visiting our project and we can't wait for you to join us!
Risks and challenges
We will be working with top-tier labs and experts in the restortation process. However, depending on the quality of the film print, there may be more restoration work than we anticipated which could delay the final delivery. Be assured that Oscilloscope will be monitoring every step of the process closely, and making sure you are updated along the way.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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