About this project
(Title and thumbnail photo (c) Kate Simon)
******* NEW GOAL TOWARDS THE ARCHIVE PRESERVATION *******
We have reached our goal with 53 hours to go. Everything over the $20,000 that is gathered from now until the end of the campaign will go towards the bigger goal of restoring and preserving Howard Brookner's archive. With another $3,500 we can digitize more than 60 hours of VHS and Video8 including rehearsals of Bloodhounds of Broadway and Howard's last years on video diaries and family videos. Another $2,400 will allow us to digitize more than a dozen reels of sound of the Burroughs years. Thank you for supporting these last hours of the project!
Our aim is to remaster and re-release the first long feature documentary ever made about literary icon William S. Burroughs, one of the most radically subversive figures of the 20th century and Godfather to Beat writers such as Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, which has been out of print for almost two decades.
Burroughs: The Movie explores one of the greatest American writers and thinkers with an intimacy never before seen and never repeated, featuring Burroughs along with many of his contemporaries including Allen Ginsberg, Brion Gysin, Francis Bacon, Herbert Hunke, Patti Smith, Terry Southern, and Lauren Hutton. The film was directed by the late Howard Brookner, begun in 1978 as Brookner's senior thesis at NYU film school before expanding into a feature completed 5 years later in 1983. Sound was recorded by Jim Jarmusch and the film was shot by Tom DiCillo, fellow NYU classmates and both very close friends of Brookner's.
Howard Brookner directed three films before his death in 1989 from AIDS at the age of thirty-four. In the final year of his life he wrote, "If I live on it is in your memories and the films I made". It was this quote that inspired me, Howard's nephew and enthusiastic Burroughsian, to search for the missing print of his first film, Burroughs: The Movie. After a long search I found the only print in good condition and embarked on a project to digitally remaster it and make it available to the public. I need your help to see this through. That’s why we are reaching out to all William S. Burroughs fans and all documentary lovers to lend this project a hand.
In return for your support, we have created some really valuable rewards to encourage your participation. Some of the highlights are an advanced digital release of the remastered film, a special limited edition DVD of the re-released film for Burroughs' 100th birthday celebration, and an exclusive bonus audio CD with never before heard audio recordings of William S. Burroughs and many of his friends recorded by Howard Brookner.
Among the many people helping us with items for this campaign is famed photographer Kate Simon (who photographed Bob Marley, The Clash, and William S. Burroughs for many years) who has generously donated her iconic portrait of Burroughs used in the original Burroughs: The Movie poster (pictured above) so that we can re-create this classic and you can be gazed upon by Mr. Burroughs from your living room, kitchen, bedroom wall, or wherever you want to hang it - and we'll also be making T-Shirts of the poster - both items ONLY made available for this campaign!
Even a small amount can help this project and you will be acknowledged. The re-release will include a website/facebook/twitter with the names of all backers and a big thank you. For $10 your thank you will be received in the form of a personalised cut-up, emailed to you or Instagrammed to your Twitter or Facebook page. However you like.
Other perks include a limited edition Burroughs: The Movie 224 page beautifully printed picture book made from the 2K scans of the original film print, and the chance to have your name open the film on the big screen with a "restoration presented by" credit!
Burroughs: The Movie is a very special film: with in-depth interviews from Allen Ginsberg, Brion Gysin, and many more; intimate scenes such as Burroughs and James Grauerholz with Burroughs' son Billy Jr.; and it is the only time on camera Burroughs speaks candidly about the tragic shooting accident that left his wife Joan dead. As Janet Maslin wrote in The New York Times Review: "Rarely is a documentary as well attuned to its subject as Howard Brookner's ''Burroughs,'' which captures as much about the life, work and sensibility of its subject as its 86 minute format allows. Part of the film's comprehensiveness is attributable to William S. Burroughs' cooperation, since the author was willing to visit old haunts, read from his works and even playfully act out a passage from ''Naked Lunch'' for the benefit of the camera. But the quality of discovery about ''Burroughs'' is very much the director's doing, and Mr. Brookner demonstrates an unusual degree of liveliness and curiosity in exploring his subject".
The remastering of Burroughs: The Movie is the first campaign we are running to cover expenses to create the most pristine copy we can create of this documentary classic. But this is just the first step. During the search for the Burroughs film print, we found Howard Brookner's film archive in William S. Burroughs former home in NYC, The Bunker. More than 300 cans of films, tapes, audio and photographs also need restoration and preservation.
Some of the films and outtakes in the archive include never before seen material from Burroughs: The movie such as scenes with the likes of Andy Warhol, Patti Smith, Brian Jones, Allen Ginsberg, Brion Gysin, Anthony Balch, Timothy Leary, Frank Zappa, Philip Glass, John Giorno, Francis Bacon, Terry Southern, Herbert Hunke, and the very first scene of Burroughs: The Movie ever shot, extended beyond the final cut, featuring Burroughs with his son, Billy Jr., James Grauerholz, Howard Brookner, and Jim Jarmusch.
Any money that goes beyond the pledge of the campaign to remaster Burroughs: The Movie will go directly towards the restoration, preservation and digitisation of the archive to create a new film built around the never before seen footage and Howard Brookner's career. Of Brookner’s archive, expert Francis Poole, head of Film and Video Collection at the University of Delaware, says, as “This is one of the most amazing collections I have ever seen. It must be preserved”.
Risks and challenges
Are there possible delays in your project?
We are planning the fulfilment of our rewards with enough leeway to handle all requests and funders' rewards. Of course if we have to ship 10,000 T-Shirts that may take us a bit more than a day, but we promise to keep you posted if any of the dates we are suggesting are not going to be met.
What about with the actual work with the film?
Anything film related always involves working with many people, even when it is about remastering and re-releasing. We don´t foresee any delay, but acknowledge that humans are human. That said, we will be working with some very cool humans who know their film and are personally excited to see this one after all these years.
Are there any challenges to the delivery of the film?
Going from film to digital can always yield some unforeseen challenges, which is why we have spent the last year trying to prepare for as many as we could possibly anticipate. Our same team explored film distributing in the digital world by with the 1st film ever created exclusively for an iPad (you can check it out here http://www.thesilvergoat.co.uk). We think we have planned the fulfilment of all our rewards with enough leeway. The challenge was not so much to find the film as it was the risk to loose it forever. It took us a long time but we have found it. Now the film is literally waiting for us to have the money to restore it. As soon as we have the funds, we can get to work and be on our way to authoring DVDs and creating some kick-a** digital versions.
Why should you help us in this project?
Because we would like to see this cult classic film re-released and available to the public and hopefully so do you. Counterculture is a good thing. And much needed. Currently only old VHS editions can be found on ebay and Amazon (reaching up to USD 100!). These copies are used (and quality is probably very bad). We would like to see this film re-released in all its splendor. We will also be proud to see Howard Brookner's first film available to the public as, like William S Burroughs said, the only goal worth striving for is immortality. With the film out there, Howard will be a little bit alive through his work. We also think it’s important that this film about William S. Burroughs is preserved and available: his thoughts are still an inspiration which define counter-culture and fill us with un-paralleled insights into the world as it is today and it is important to preserve his wisdom for younger generations. William S. Burroughs was the real Pope of Beats and Punks. He predicted the electronic revolution, invented remixes (he called them cut-ups) before remixing even existed, and was a visionary captured beautifully in this film.
Why do we need your help?
Because this film has fallen through the cracks for so many years, we are looking directly to those who want to see it alive and well to bring it to the surface. Power to the people. Film remastering is a meticulous, specialised and expensive process, as is re-releasing a film. But we are 100 % confident that it can be done and we can do it, with your help. We have been incredibly inspired to receive strong encouragement from many of those involved in making this film such as Jim Jarmusch, Tom DiCillo, Sara Driver, Brad Gooch, John Giorno, James Grauerholz of the William Burroughs estate, and many others. With their support and your support and our dedication this project can and will happen.
How can I donate and be a part of the film?
Just click the green “Back This Project” button in the upper right-hand corner. Email us if you have any problems or questions. Because William S. Burroughs fans are scattered around the world, we would like to remind you that anyone can donate. The rewards will be shipped to wherever you live.
What is your ultimate goal?
We want to deliver all we promised so we’ve set our goal at $20,000 which is what we need for the 1st step: having Burroughs:The movie re-released. We would of course need to raise more money for the rest of the archive, but if we are successful with this campaign, we will launch the big archive one next. In the meantime, any extra money we might raise from this campaign will go directly towards the preservation of the archive and making a documentary about Howard Brookner (which we hope can be also included as an extra edition to Howard's films in the near future). There are many, many things we would do if we had the funds, but we want to have a grounded approach and will continue with the archive preservation project if we exceed our goal. So please remember that every bit helps.
When will the film be re-released?
We hope we can have a special edition for February 2014, when William S. Burroughs 100th Anniversary will be celebrated. Some very special perks include tickets to the premiere that will be created for the occasion in New York City as well as access to after party and on screen credits. Please read all the offers on the right hand column (including an advanced digital release targeted for September 2013).
How can I contact you?
You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org Feel free to email us with any questions or comments you may have. We know how important it is to receive answers and we commit to reply to everyone within 24 hours.
How do I follow the project?
We will post updates here and on our facebook page and Tweet. Everything will be freely shared to all the members of the page. You don't need to make a donation to gain access just visit https://www.facebook.com/burroughsthemovie and like the page.
Can you tell me a bit more about the Howard Brookner archive?
It is a large collection of 16mm film, reel to reel and mag sound, casette tapes, 8mm film, vhs, video 8, and personal documents - letters and photos and writings. The preservation of the collection is urgent as well and we are working to make it happen. Some of the material contains never before seen out-takes of video and audio of the film, audio interviews with Andy Warhol, Patti Smith, Brian Jones and Anthony Balch, Brion Gysin, and more. All shot by and for Howard Brookner between the late 1970’s and end of the 1980’s.
What happens if the money isn’t raised in time?
A Kickstarter project must be fully funded before its time expires or no money changes hands. Your credit card or debit card will not be charged if we don't manage to hit our goal.
How will I find out about the premiere to attend as part of your rewards?
We’ll contact you personally and arrange to meet with you at the event.
To be kept in the loop on all the latest updates on the archive project and everything related to the film/s of Howard Brookner please visit the Facebook and Twitter pages:
Burroughs: The Movie http://www.facebook.com/burroughsthemovie
Howard Brookner's page https://www.facebook.com/brooknerhoward
Or Follow us on Twitter @HowardBrookner
In these tough times, we thank you in advance for lending us ANY support!
PS - what was that Burroughs dub track in the video?
From our good friends Dub Spencer & Trance Hill:
William S. Burroughs - The President (The Western Lands)
conducted by Dub Spencer & Trance Hill (www.dubspencer.com)
taken from the upcoming album William S.Burroughs - In Dub conducted by Dub Spencer & Trance Hill.
An echo beach lifefidelity / Nova Lark Music/Len Freedman Music Inc. co-operation.
Special arrangement by James Grauerholz & Klaus Maeck.
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