“BIG JOY delves substantially into Broughton’s own artistic endeavors, especially his creative writing and filmmaking. His experimental film The Pleasure Garden was accorded a special prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1954, awarded to Broughton in person by one of his great poetic heroes, Jean Cocteau. In weaving together home movies and historic photographs, contemporary interviews and performance, quotations from Broughton’s writings and clips from his movies, the filmmakers construct a cinematic mosaic that is as richly textured as Broughton’s own life experiences. They create an unusually intimate and unflinching portrait of the arc of Broughton’s life from childhood to death and from the dark depths of his own depression to the ecstasy of his creative freedom and sexual liberation, all in the service of Broughton’s lifelong quest to find his own “Big Joy.”” —Jon Gartenberg
Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton by Stephen Silha and Eric Slade
82 minutes | USA | 2013 | HD Projection
BIG JOY is a celebratory portrait of James Broughton, a visionary poet and filmmaker who emerged from the artistic renaissance that flowered in post-WWII San Francisco. A charismatic figure, Broughton led a completely unconventional, countercultural existence. The directors of BIG JOY vividly follow the course of Broughton’s deeply intertwined creative and personal lives through his involvement with a wide array of artists, activists and spiritual guides. Among them figure movie critic Pauline Kael, choreographer and dancer Anna Halprin, filmmaker Sidney Peterson, theater actor and playwright Kermit Sheets, designer Suzanna Hart, poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Eastern philosopher Alan Watts and film student protégé Joel Singer.
Stephen Silha is a communications consultant, writer and facilitator. He has reported for magazines and newspapers including, The Christian Science Monitor and The Minneapolis Star. He has also worked with a range of philanthropic organizations, including, The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Northwest Area Foundation and Idaho Commission on the Arts. His nonprofit clients have included the UN, Libraries for the Future, Children’s Express and Washington Council for the Humanities. He co-facilitates Journalism That Matters, a think tank on the future of journalism.
Mix NYC founded in 1987 by author Sarah Schulman and filmmaker Jim Hubbard, MIX NYC produces New York’s longest-running lesbian & gay film festival. In addition, MIX also hosts free local community screenings, regular monthly screenings and national touring programs throughout the year. To reach out to audiences beyond downtown Manhattan, MIX takes programs to venues in other boroughs and has worked in collaboration with community-based media programs such as Paper Tiger TV and the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance.