Kickstart the Restoration of the Very First William S. Burroughs Documentary

If you’re into William S. Bur­roughs, maybe you’ve watched all the Bur­roughs-relat­ed mate­r­i­al we’ve fea­tured here on Open Cul­ture, like his 1981 Sat­ur­day Night Live appear­ance or the 1991 doc­u­men­tary Com­mis­sion­er of Sew­ers. But anoth­er doc­u­men­tary on Bur­roughs exists — the ear­li­est one of all — and we can’t show it to you. Nobody can show Bur­roughs: The Movie to you, or at least they can’t show it to you in any crisp, clear, acces­si­ble form. Sure you could pay between 25 and 90 dol­lars for a VHS copy on Ama­zon, but that mon­ey might be more pro­duc­tive­ly put toward restor­ing the orig­i­nal film. As you can see in the video above, such a restora­tion is in the works, pro­vid­ed the restor­ers can raise the $20,000 they need to do it on Kick­starter by the end of this month.

Aaron Brookn­er, nephew of Bur­roughs: The Movie’s direc­tor Howard Brookn­er, found a print of the film in good con­di­tion, but now needs the fund­ing to remas­ter it clean­ly into a mod­ern dig­i­tal form. Begun in 1979 and debuted on the BBC in 1983, the doc­u­men­tary includes inter­views not just with Bur­roughs but with Allen Gins­berg, Brion Gysin, Fran­cis Bacon, Her­bert Hun­ke, Pat­ti Smith, Ter­ry South­ern, and Lau­ren Hut­ton. Howard Brookn­er, who died in 1989, made it as his New York Uni­ver­si­ty film school the­sis, and to oper­ate the cam­era and record the sound he enlist­ed two soon-to-be famous class­mates, Tom DiCil­lo and Jim Jar­musch. As of this writ­ing, Aaron Brookn­er has received $9,425 in pledges, near­ly half of his goal. Bur­roughs enthu­si­asts inter­est­ed in chip­ping in — back­ing pre­mi­ums include lim­it­ed-edi­tion DVDs, nev­er-before-heard audio record­ings, and Bur­roughs: The Movie pho­to­books — should vis­it the pro­jec­t’s Kick­starter page.

Relat­ed con­tent:

William S. Bur­roughs Reads His First Nov­el, Junky

William S. Bur­roughs on the Art of Cut-up Writ­ing

Beat Writer William S. Bur­roughs on Sat­ur­day Night Live, 1981

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall.

by | Permalink | Comments (0) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.