If you've ever wanted to have a stake in a film, read on. This plea comes from Milestone Films founders Dennis Doros and Amy Heller, who have been working in film distribution for more than 25 years—the last 22 as a married couple dedicated to restoring and releasing great cinema, old and new. Since founding Milestone in 1990 the pair have worked to bring out such cinematic treasures as F.W. Murnau's "Tabu," Charles Burnett's "Killer of Sheep," Luchino Visconti's "Rocco and his Brothers," and dozens more. Here's their plea:
This is a chance to make history! Shirley Clarke's groundbreaking documentary about a black, gay hustler is one of the first no-holds-barred LGBT films in existence. It is also a brilliant (and hilarious!) exploration of the failings of truth and reality told in a tongue-in-cheek verité film style. The film was so progressive and so different from the films of its era that it was misplaced and mishandled by archivists, and the original film elements took years to find! After a protracted search, Milestone is pleased to be able to properly restore the film to its theatrical glory — but not without your help!
Portrait of Jason is being restored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Film Archive in Los Angeles, which is requiring Milestone to raise over $50,000 for the process. As an independent distribution company comprised of just two very dedicated employees (Dennis Doros and Amy Heller, husband and wife and the co-founders of the company) Milestone simply cannot afford to do this alone. If we don't raise the money now, the future of this important, extremely well crafted, highly entertaining, and outrageously funny film is uncertain.
So we've turned to you — film lovers, LGBT activists, historians, artists, and/or interested human beings — to show us that grassroots fundraising is a powerful force for change, and in return we promise to give the world access to a lost masterpiece. Every bit counts, and we thank you for your generosity!
To contribute, and to see a clip from "Portrait of Jason," go to the Portrait of Jason Film Restoration page on Kickstarter.