U.S. Premiere of the Newly Restored Portrait of Jason
On March 15, the newly restored film Portrait of Jason received its U.S. premiere at the UW Cinematheque. The film, originally released by the late Shirley Clarke in 1967, is daring, provocative, ground-breaking and truly gripping and one of the first LBGT films to be taken seriously by the general audiences. It remains one of the most remarkable films of American independent filmmaking.
Making the evening even more special was having Wendy Clarke, Shirley’s daughter and a wonderful filmmaker in her own right, and Dennis Doros of Milestone Films in attendance. Milestone Films has spent the past few years restoring three of Shirley’s other films – The Connection (1962), Ornette: Made in America (1985), and Robert Frost: A Lover’s Quarrel with the World (1963). Wendy and Dennis arrived in Madison a few days before the screening to do research in the Shirley Clarke Papers at the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research; Shirley started donating her papers in 1973. The WCFTR worked closely with Milestone Films throughout the restoration process to help bring Portrait of Jason back to the big screen and “hidden” gems from Shirley’s collection at the WCFTR will be included in the upcoming DVD release of the film.
Dennis Doros spoke at the Communication Arts colloquium on March 14 and described in great detail the many twists and turns Milestone Films encountered in the process of restoring the film. To learn more about the restoration adventure, you can watch Dennis’ presentation here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/870959691/portrait-of-jason-film-restoration/posts/356402 Professor emeritus David Bordwell also wrote an extensive piece on his blog concerning the film: http://www.davidbordwell.net/blog/2013/03/17/ill-never-tell-jason-reborn.
Posted April 8, 2013.
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The Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research (WCFTR) is the home of one of the oldest and most extensive collections of print, audio/visual, and graphic materials relating to film, theater, radio and television in the United States. The Center is administered by the Communication Arts department of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and works in close cooperation with the Wisconsin Historical Society. Our holdings focus on US entertainment-based media, though we also have smaller collections in social action documentary and non-US film, notably Hong Kong, Taiwanese and Soviet cinema. WCFTR collections are richest in records of the American film industry between 1930 and 1960, popular theater of the 1940s and 1950s, and television from the 1950s through the 1970s. They include over three hundred manuscript collections from outstanding playwrights, television and motion picture writers, producers, actors, designers, directors and production companies. In addition to the paper records, materials preserved include fifteen thousand motion pictures, television shows and videotapes, two million still photographs and promotional graphics, and several thousand sound recordings.
The Center also supports the UW Cinematheque, a vital part of Madison culture that provides free screenings of films from around the world, as well as the Wisconsin Film Festival.
For email and mailing addresses of the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research staff, visit the contact section of this web site.