Classic Documentary Restoration
2012 Film Corner Christmas Gift Suggestion #12:
PARTICIPATE IN THE IMPORTANT RESTORATION OF SHIRLEY CLARKE's CLASSIC DOC: PORTRAIT OF JASON
By Greg Klymkiw
Movie-lovers still have two days (until Dec. 10, 2012) to give the Christmas gift that keeps on giving. Imagine making a friend, loved one, family member AND yourself a contributor to the Kickstarter restoration of an important cinéma vérité documentary film focusing upon the irreverent GAY AMERICAN houseboy, hustler and wannabe cabaret perfomer, Jason Holiday.
Make no mistake!!! The film NEEDS restoration and it's importance to GAY HISTORY and FILM ART cannot be stressed enough. Creating new work is all well and good, but for the future of cinema, the preservation of its past is just as vital.
Shirley Clarke's PORTRAIT OF JASON is being SAVED and RESTORED by Amy Heller and Dennis Doros of the legendary Milestone Films and will have its fresh launch at the 2013 edition of the Berlinale (the Berlin International Film Festival) - 45 YEARS after it was first made.
If you've never seen this great picture, here is a clip from a RESTORED section of the film wherein its subject Jason describes his experience as a "houseboy" for a rich, old Southern white lady:
The most amazing thing is that the recent Kickstarter program devoted to this restoration has already met its goal. This DOES NOT mean, you can't or shouldn't contribute. Every penny will go to the creation of this stunning doc and going over the goal will mean MORE goodies that might be created as bonus features for the Blu-Ray and DVD releases and possibly including the restoration of Shirley Clarke's shorts, restoring a few of her “unfinished” film projects and interviewing those who worked on the making of Portrait of Jason.
I haven't seen this extraordinary film since the late 70s, but at the time it knocked me on my proverbial ass. Jason himself was an incredible subject and through his experience one got an indelible portrait of being gay AND black at that time. Strangely enough, memory serves me well enough on this that the film is, in spite of changing times, as relevant to today's world as it was then - maybe even more so. With the fuckwads in Uganda and their attempts to criminalize homosexuality as a capital offence and frankly, attitudes towards both the gay and of-colour communities that still exist in even so-called "progressive" societies means that this film can now be experienced by whole new generations of audiences all over the world and for generations to come.
Here's another great restored clip from Portrait of Jason:
Now, let it be said that Dennis Doros and Amy Heller at Milestone Film are International Treasures. Their dedication to preserving lost and/or damaged motion pictures and then making them available theatrically and to home entertainment enthusiasts (I probably own at least half of the Milestone Films library).
In addition to perusing the available donations for this restoration (and making your donations HERE), please feel free to visit the Milestone Films website HERE and look at the treasure trove of great stuff YOU CAN OWN. Buy it directly from their site OR, SUPPORT MY SITE by ordering some of their great titles from the links at the bottom of this page.
Your donations get you, your friends, your family and other loved ones the thrill of contributing to this important restoration, but also, some great bonus items.
$35 gets you: 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!
$60 gets you: Everything above plus your name in the closing credits of the home DVD and Blu-ray release of Portrait of Jason.
$85 gets you (and THIS IS A SUPER DEAL): Everything above plus your choice of a DVD or Blu-ray copy of Portrait of Jason.
$110 gets you: 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.
$260 gets you: 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).
$510 gets you: 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!
Oh, and all my American readers, just a reminder that you can deduct $10 from the above donations as it's cheaper to send stuff to you than the rest of the world.
$1000 gets you: 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.
And okay now, all you RICH BASTARDS (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE), HERE'S SOMETHING JUST FOR YOU! HERE ARE THREE DONATIONS YOU CAN MAKE.
MAYBE EVEN SOME RICH CANADIAN FILM COMPANIES CAN FORK OUT LIKE CINEPLEX ENTERTAINMENT or even E-ONE CANADA and then donate the packages to some worthy young filmmaker or (a few) at the National Screen Institute, York University, Concordia University, Ryerson University Documentary School or the Canadian Film Centre.
$2500 bags you: 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!
$5000 bags you: 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!
$10,000 bags you: 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 and two one-year memberships to NYC's acclaimed IFC Center.
Again, RICH BASTARDS NOTE - the above three are just for you - especially if you want to not be a total GREEDY FUCKING PIG and donate your winnings to some young filmmakers.
You can order Portrait of Jason directly from the links below.
In USA and the rest of the WORLD - BUY Portrait of Jason - HERE!
In Canada - BUY Portrait of Jason HERE, eh!
In the UNITED KINGDOM - BUY Portrait of Jason - HERE!
Feel free to read my RAVE review of ON THE BOWERY HERE. My Review of THE DRAGON PAINTER can be read HERE. And be on the lookout for my full-length Film Corner reviews of RAGS AND RICHES: THE MARY PICKFORD COLLECTION HERE, CUT TO THE CHASE!: THE CHARLIE CHASE COLLECTION HERE and ALFRED HITCHCOCK'S "BON VOYAGE" & "ADVENTURE MALGACHE" HERE.