William S. Burroughs may be dead and buried, but a new documentary premiering at Sundance next week features long-lost footage of the writer, along with circa late 70s and early 80s clips and photos of cultural icons Patti Smith, Allen Ginsberg, Andy Warhol, Spike Lee, John Waters, Francis Bacon, John Giorno, and more. The film in question is Uncle Howard, a documentary about Howard Brookner, a New York filmmaker who died of AIDS in 1989. Howard made the cult classic Burroughs: The Movie, and at the time of his death was working on his breakthrough Hollywood film which starred Madonna and Matt Dillon. You can check out the trailer for Uncle Howard, which contains incredible time capsule footage, below.
While providing glimpses into New York’s cultural past, Uncle Howard is also a very personal film. Made by Aaron Brookner, Howard’s nephew, the film is a way of keeping Howard’s spirit alive. Aaron first set out to find Howard’s Burroughs’ doc, which had been out of print, but during his quest he was led to all sorts of other discoveries: a film about Robert Wilson, behind-the-scenes outtakes from the making of his feature Bloodhounds of Broadway, and footage that had been stowed away in Burroughs’ bunker on Bowery for 30 years. With the help of Tom DiCillo, Sara Driver, Brad Gooch, Robert Wilson, Jim Jarmusch, who also serves as executive producer on the documentary, and others, Aaron drafts a portrait of his late uncle.
Uncle Howard is screening in the US Documentary Competition section at the Sundance Film Festival 2016 and has its premiere on Tuesday, January 26, 2016. It is produced by Paula Vaccaro, co-produced by Sara Driver and Alex Garcia, and edited by Masahiro Hirakubo, whose other credits include Trainspotting and A Life Less Ordinary. To find out more about Uncle Howard at Sundance, visit the festival’s website.