A lecture-presentation by Dennis Doros and Amy Heller
CINEMA 16 | FRI NOV 9 | 1:00 PM | Q&A
Dennis Doros and Amy Heller, the founders of Milestone Films, will deliver a presentation with films, images and artifacts documenting their archival and film-distribution project, “Project Shirley.”
Born October 2, 1919, in New York, Shirley Clarke danced into the world of art in her teens, studying with such innovative choreographers as Martha Graham, Hanya Holm and Doris Humphrey. After marrying and having a daughter, Clarke turned her talents to cinema, becoming an esteemed filmmaker at a time when few women worked in the field. Her early shorts reflected her lifelong love of dance along with a growing mastery of the new medium. Two of these, Dance in the Sun (1953, 6 min.) and Bridges-Go-Round (1958, 7 min.), will be presented in 16mm as part of this program.
Doros and Heller will talk about their work as archivists and distributors, and about this year’s release of the two Shirley Clarke feature films screening in our festival, The Connection and Ornette: Made in America. They will give special attention, however, to their current work preparing the re-release of Shirley Clarke’s masterpiece. Premiered in 1967, Portrait of Jason was one of the first great films of gay cinema and one of the finest documentaries of postwar America. It was a cinéma vérité portrait of one Jason Holliday — an African-American hustler, cabaret performer and standup comic. In one filmed interview that lasted the entire night, Jason revealed, with humor, tears and much drama, a life previously unseen and unimagined by movie audiences. When Clarke died in 1997, the film and its reputation languished while the original film materials disappeared.
Doros and Heller will tell the story of Milestone’s search for the original film materials to Portrait of Jason. It took an early morning revelation based on a mathematical equation before the best material was finally discovered — reels that were mislabeled and disregarded for decades.