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Remastered BURROUGHS: THE MOVIE film trailer

In the upcoming movie-themed issue of Beatdom, we will be talking to Aaron Brookner – son of film-maker Howard Brookner, who made the 1983 classic, Burroughs: The Movie. Aaron has been working a project to digitally remaster and rerelease his father’s film, much to the excitement of Beat fans around the world.

Beatdom is delighted to bring you the trailer that the team have just put together:

Remastered BURROUGHS THE MOVIE film trailer from PINBALL LONDON on Vimeo.

Big Sur Trailer

With the success of On the Road, all eyes are now on the next adaptation of a Kerouac novel: Big Sur.


1st Burroughs Documentary to be Rereleased

The first long feature documentary about iconic writer William S. Burroughs, one of the most radically subversive literary figures of the 20th century and Godfather to the Beat poets such as Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, is set to be restored and re-released after decades of being out of print.

The campaign to restore Burroughs: The Movie will officially be launched on Kickstarter on World Aids Day December 1st 2012 and it will run for 30 days. A rare screening of the film will be held December 11th 2012 at 7pm at the October Gallery in London, UK (24 Old Gloucester Street Bloomsbury, London WC1N 3AL).

The late Howard Brookner began his Burroughs film while in NYU film school in 1978 with his fellow students Jim Jarmusch, who did the sound, and Tom DiCillo on camera.  Five years later Brookner had finished Burroughs: The Movie with the help of BBC.

Burroughs: The Movie was Howard Brookner’s first of three feature length films followed by Robert Wilson and the Civil Wars (1986) and Bloodhounds of Broadway (1989) – starring Madonna, Matt Dillon and Jennifer Grey among other well known actors. He died of AIDS in 1989, at thirty-four years old. “If I live on it is in your memories and the films I made”, he wrote in a letter he left to his parents. “That letter was my engine to bring Howard back to life through his work. After a long search I found the only print of Burroughs: The Movie in good condition and embarked on a project to remaster it and make it available to the public”, says Aaron Brookner, nephew of the filmmaker. “The remastering is part of the work I want to do to preserve my uncle’s legacy”.  Howard Brookner’s archive includes more than 300 assets that need urgent preservation. “The re-release of Burroughs is a first step towards recovering what he made while he was alive.”

‘Burroughs: The Movie’ features the writer’s close circle of friends including Patti Smith, Allen Ginsberg, Brion Gysin, Francis Bacon, John Giorno, James Grauerholz and Terry Southern. The film premiered at the 1983 New York Film Festival to rave reviews. Janet Maslin from The New York Times wrote: “Rarely is a documentary as well attuned to its subject as Howard Brookner’s “Burroughs”, which captures as much about the life, work and sensibility of its subject as its 86 minute format allows. (T)he quality of discovery about “Burroughs” is very much the director’s doing, and Mr. Brookner demonstrates an unusual degree of liveliness and curiosity in exploring his subject”.

February 5, 2014 will mark William S. Burroughs 100th Birthday and the film should be released by then. Also 2013 will mark the 30th Anniversary since the release of Burroughs: The Movie and that’s when the restoration will take place.

Howard Brookner’s archive collection contains never before seen material from Burroughs: The Movie including interviews with Andy Warhol, Patti Smith, Frank Zappa, Brion Gysin, the legendary Nova Convention, Brian Jones, Anthony Balch and more. “He documented what was probably the last comprehensive counter culture movement which came out of downtown New York City in the late 1970s/early 80s, influencing so many of the leading styles and ideas of today,” says Aaron Brookner.





Beyond the restoration of the Burroughs film, any proceedings beyond the target funding will be used to restore and preserve Howard Brookner’s archive described by Francis Poole, head of Film and Video Collection at the University of Delaware, as “one of the most amazing collections I have ever seen”.  Aaron Brookner, who is also a filmmaker, plans to create a film about his uncle’s life called Smash The Control Machine: Howard Brookner & the Western Lands using much of the found footage. “Howard is a strong inspiration and he lived a short but beautiful life full of sardonic wit.  He was a great filmmaker and this discovery will allow the world to enjoy his work. I want to honour who he was through the memories of those he influenced, and the films he made.”

To finance the restoration project, a crowdfunding campaign will be launched on Kickstarter to raise USD 20.000 (approx 13.000 British Pounds or 16.000 Euros).

For more information about the campaign to restore Burroughs: The Movie, Smash the Control Machine film and Howard Brookner’s archive please visit




To contribute to the Kickstarter Project, please click here

Follow its progress on Facebook here.

Report on Filming the Unfilmable

They said Naked Lunch was unfilmable. Many people thought the same about Howl, but both Beat classics have been successfully adapted to the screen. Now it’s Kerouac’s turn to have his opus made into a movie. Here’s a Channel 4 report:



On the Road Trailer

After a few technical problems, the trailer for the forthcoming On the Road movie was released yesterday. It was part of a fairly successful Twitter and Facebook campaign, which has seen tens of thousands of people sign up for updates about the movie in a remarkably short period of time.

You are supposed to join up for the Facebook group in order to see the trailer, but hell, it’s on YouTube so we’re going to embed it here. It’s a trailer, after all. The more people see it, the happier the producers should be…


On the Road Movie Poster

Today was a great day for those eagerly awaiting the release of On the Road. The marketing team finally got into gear and started twin Facebook and Twitter pages, pushing stills and a poster for the movie. You can view the still here.

On the Road Movie

Both pages have been racking up followers quickly, with the Twitter page leading after gaining 600 followers in about 2 hrs, thanks to sharing by Beat fans.

You can visit the production website at

On the Road Movie Delayed?

Fans who’ve been waiting seemingly forever for the release of On the Road might be made to wait a little longer. The adaptation of Kerouac’s classic novel appears to have run into a little legal trouble.

According to Albert C. Hinkle, “There’s some kind of legal problem – one of Jack’s relatives is challenging Coppola’s rights to the book. I haven’t heard of any set dates for the movie premiere.” Since that Facebook post, he has been updating his fans with the simple message: “Just to let you all know: I don’t really have any information on when OTR will be coming out, or where it will be released. I hear the same things everyone else does; whether that is really going on or not, I don’t know for sure. But the minute I get any solid information, I will share it with you all.” People are taking Hinkle as an inside source, but he claims to know no more than anyone else.

Charles Gillibert, on the other hand, is one of the movie’s producers. On Twitter, he shared some “goodnews”: “sorry we are dealing with some goodnews everything is frozen until we closeit Only thing I can promise is that you will be the1rst informed.” Since then he has updated that he, too, has no solid information and is merely waiting to hear more. He has stated that “we are closing discussions with the futur best partners to defend otr and they have to be involved in decisions with market..” Which sounds as though the lawyers are demanding the everything be temporarily shut down. Then, in a response to a query about movie posters, Gillibert said, “I won’t give you stop date anymore because things change and I want to make sure i give you only good information.” Hmm… “good information”? Gillibert had previously been certain that there would be an official website and trailer before the end of 2011!

So… All that sounds like bad news. It’s not a terribly big surprise, as anyone who knows about the Kerouac Estate fiasco will understand. In 2009, a court found that Gabrielle Kerouac’s will had been forged, and that the transfer of Jack Kerouac’s estate, ultimately to the Sampas family, had therefore been illegal. Since then there has been significant doubt over the legitimacy of the Sampas’s actions, in particular with reference to Paul Blake Jr, who quite possibly should have come to inherit his uncle’s estate. Over the years, the Sampas’s have helped Kerouac posthumously attain success and respect, but they, too, have made a lot of money on his work, and this movie will no doubt have added to their bank accounts. While it would be impossible to go back through years of sales and figure out who was owed what, it would be no surprise if Mr. Blake popped up to question the legality of the sale of the book’s rights to Francis Ford Coppola.

So we’ll just have to wait and see. I’m sure that in the coming months, we’ll learn more. After all, the movie seems to have an official release date in Brazil, Switzerland, and Belgium, (late May and early June) and these are all very close to the time of the Cannes Film Festival…

Daniel Radcliffe to Play Allen Ginsberg

Apparently Harry Potter star, Daniel Radcliffe, has agreed to play the role of Allen Ginsberg in John Krokidas’ new movie, Kill Your Darlings. The movie is said to revolve around the 1944 New York world of the Beats, focusing on the fallout from the murder of David Kammerer.

Radcliffe takes over from Jesse Eisenberg, who was originally slated to play Ginsberg, and joins Chris Evans and Ben Wishaw in the line-up. The usual movie news websites seem to enjoy playing up the fact that this is a “gay” movie.

It seems that the Beats are firmly back in film fashion, with Howl, On the Road, Big Sur, and Queer all attracting attention recently. Let’s just hope Radcliffe does as good a job as James Franco.

Howl is Here

A collection of Howl reviews

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James Franco on Allen Ginsberg

James Franco has an essay in the new Vanity Fair about what it’s like to play Allen Ginsberg in the upcoming movie, Howl.

The essay is called “Finding the Beat“… which happens to be the title of another upcoming Beat movie, which you can read more about here. Continue Reading…