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Milestone Films Crowdfunds 'NotFilm,' A Documentary About Samuel Beckett's Legendary 'Film' Starring Buster Keaton

Photo of Paula Bernstein By Paula Bernstein | Indiewire October 31, 2013 at 12:30PM

Milestone Films is crowdfunding "NotFilm," a documentary about the making of Samuel Beckett's legendary "Film."
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"NotFilm" will feature recollections from actor James Karen, critic Leonard Maltin (who visited the set as a teenager), actress Billie Whitelaw, his close friend and biographer James Knowlson, Alan Schneider’s widow Jean, Rosset’s childhood friend, the cinematographer Haskell Wexler, and Rossett, who died in 2012.

The history of "Film" is legendary. When it first premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 1965, it won the Film Critics' Prize, but audiences were largely baffled. "When it wasn't 'Sherlock, Jr.' or 'The General,' they were confused," said Doros.

Even Buster Keaton has said that he didn't know what the film was about. "He was a smart man. I'm sure he knew what it was about," said Doros. "He was probably confused during the making of it, because Alan Schneider wasn't a film director. He was a theatrical director, but it's not that hard a film to understand. The perplexity that people have for it is mostly because they haven't seen it."

A still from "Portrait of Jason."
A still from "Portrait of Jason."

"Film" has undergone a complete 4K digital restoration by the UCLA Film & Television Archive under Lipman’s supervision, in collaboration with the British Film Institute, and with funding from Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation and the National Film Preservation Foundation. Milestone Films, which distributed Lipman’s ground-breaking UCLA restorations of "Killer of Sheep," "The Exiles," "Word is Out," among other films, licensed worldwide rights from Rosset for all the material.

Milestone previously used Kickstarter to crowdfund the film restoration of  "Portrait of Jason." This time around, they decided to use Indiegogo, but Doros made it clear that they had no issues with Kickstarter. "Crowdfunding 'Portrait of Jason' was a great experience for us," said Doros, adding that the company would gladly use Kickstarter again.

Why crowdfund the documentary? "We've never produced a film before in our lives. To do a great job, it meant we needed to raise the money," said Doros." Rather than have producers tell us what we can and can’t do that, we thought crowdfunding would be a good idea. It would give Ross more freedom to make the film he envisioned."

Check out the trailer for "NotFilm" below and find out more about the Indiegogo campaign here.


This article is related to: Buster Keaton, Milestone Films, Filmmaker Toolkit: Crowdfunding, Silent film, Indiegogo







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