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Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton


Reel NW Award presented by KCTS 9

USA | 2013 | 83 minutes | Eric Slade, Stephen Silha

This vibrant and joyful documentary chronicles the life of experimental filmmaker, poet, and queer activist James Broughton from the mid-century San Francisco Renaissance to his death in 1999.

May 31, 2013
SIFF Cinema Uptown Festival  
6:00 PM Date has passed
June 1, 2013
AMC Pacific Place 11  
1:30 PM Date has passed
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The world scandalized James Broughton, a sartorial-minded pre-Beat filmmaker and poet, so he, in turn, scandalized it. In Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton, directors Eric Slade and Stephen Silha detail Broughton's courage and impertinence in rejecting the heteronormative life of the 50s onward with its emphasis on frenetic consumerism and careerism. He embraced the avant-garde movement of the early 20th century by erasing the boundaries between poetry and cinema, thereby creating a new aesthetic in film. At the Cannes Film Festival, while bestowing a special award for Broughton's 1953 film The Pleasure Garden, Jean Cocteau enthused, "Bravo! An American who made a French film in England." Slade and Silha capture the many personalities like Pauline Kael, doyenne of the arts, with whom he had a child, and Anna Halprin, dancer and choreographer that orbited Broughton throughout his life. Broughton's performative films heavily influenced the "happenings" of the 1960s and, later, the gay liberation movement of the 1970s. Their common denominator is the interplay of humor, play, and the id imbued with a theatrical dimension. After his 1967 effervescent film The Bed, the mainstream accepted sexuality in all its forms in film. Broughton erased the division between life and art, philosophy and practice, poetry and cinema, etc., creating a new idiom that defied categorization.

Director Biography
Stephen Silha is a communications consultant, writer, and facilitator. He has worked with many philanthropic organizations, and co-convened the first national symposium on Media and Philanthropy. He currently co-facilitates a think tank on the future of journalism. Eric Slade is an independent documentary producer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes, produces and directs PBS films for Oregon Public Broadcasting. He has received honors and awards from many organizations such as the Seattle Gay and Lesbian Film Festival and the International Television Association.

Sponsored in part by Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, 4Culture, KCTS 9, Reel NW, National Endowment for the Arts, Seattle Composers Alliance

Director: Eric Slade, Stephen Silha
Country: USA
Year: 2013
Running Time: 83 minutes
Producer: Stephen Silha, Eric Slade
Cinematographers: Ian Hinkle
Editors: Dawn Logsdon, Kyung Lee
Music: Jami Sieber, Evan Schiller
Website: http://www.bigjoy.org
Filmography: Debut Feature Film
Language: English
Format: DCP
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