So if you read this blog, then you probably know by now that I love films of all shapes and sizes. What you might not know, however, is that some of my favorite films in the whole world are documentaries about movies, because they can lead you to all sorts of films you might not have discovered otherwise. Which leads me to the point of this post: right now, someone is trying to make a documentary about a film that sounds absolutely fascinating. The documentary is called NotFilm, and it’s an experimental essay about playwright Samuel Beckett’s Film, his single work for projected cinema. NotFilm is the brainchild of Ross Lipman, and is described as such:
In 1964 author Samuel Beckett set out on one of the strangest ventures in cinematic history: his embattled collaboration with silent era genius Buster Keaton on the production of a short, titleless avant-garde film. Beckett was nearing the peak of his fame, which would culminate in his receiving a Nobel Prize five years later. Keaton, in his waning years, never lived to see Beckett’s canonization. The film they made along with director Alan Schneider, renegade publisher Barney Rosset, and Academy Award-winning cinematographer Boris Kaufman, has been the subject of praise, condemnation, and controversy for decades. Yet the eclectic participants are just one part of a story that stretches to the very birth of cinema, and spreads out to our understanding of human consciousness itself.
NOTFILM is a feature-length experimental essay on FILM’s production and its philosophical implications, utilizing additional outtakes, never before heard audio recordings of the production meetings, and other rare archival elements.
The producers of the film (Amy Heller and Dennis Doros of Milestone Film & Video) are currently trying to get the project off the ground, and they have started an Indiegogo campaign to raise the funds necessary to complete the documentary. The mission statement of Milestone Film & Video basically boils down to this:
Milestone Film & Video was started in 1990 by Amy Heller and Dennis Doros to bring out films we love; specifically restored classic films. UCLA Film & Television Archive restorationist and filmmaker Ross Lipman has been instrumental in restoring such Milestone’s releases as Charles Burnett’s KILLER OF SHEEP, Kent Mackenzie’s THE EXILES, Shirley Clarke’s THE CONNECTION along with other great films.
If you have any interest in film, particularly classic films such as those listed above, then you owe it to yourself to support Milestone Film & Video in their mission to restore classic films, and to raise awareness about lost or little known films. If you can swing a donation, you can contribute to the Indiegogo campaign by going here. I’m sure the producers would appreciate it very much.
Please note that I have no connection to this project or to the producers, I am simply someone who loves cinema, and I believe that this is a very important project in terms of its value to cinematic history.