Remastered After 30 Years - The Story

After being lost for thirty years, Burroughs: The Movie is now digitally remastered after an exhaustive search by Aaron Brookner, nephew of the film's director Howard Brookner.

Burroughs: The Movie was remastered from a 16mm print from the archives of the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The film was restored by Pinball London Ltd, with the generous support of the Burroughs: The Movie Kickstarter backers. Digital remastering by Prime Focus, New York; grading supervised by original cinematographer Tom DiCillo.

Kickstarter Campaign

Find out more about the campaign

Find out more about the campaign


Statement from Aaron Brookner

Growing up, I saw the poster for Burroughs: The Movie on the wall in my grandmother’s house. Before I knew anything of who he was, I knew his face.

Then, before I had read any of his books I had seen Howard’s movie. From the age of ten, until I was about twenty I probably watched the film hundreds of times on VHS. Then I started reading Burroughs, starting with Howard’s copy of Junky.

Having seen clips of the film on YouTube in recent years, I started to wonder where the film itself was. Initially I started looking for the 16mm negative, but it seemed to have disappeared. I started to look for a print instead and found one in Australia. It was Howard’s festival print and when they brought it out it was really beaten up, so I couldn’t use it. Then I found one in Berlin, which had German subtitles burned into it.

Finally I discovered that Howard’s long-time partner, Brad Gooch, had donated a print to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) around the time Howard died. Brad had no recollection of this, which goes to show the state of shock his was in after Howard died.

MoMA agreed to release the print on one occasion, so that we could create a digital master of it, before returning it to their archive for safety. To make this process a reality we turned to Kickstarter. It was super encouraging to find out how many people, from the US to the Far East, were interested in the film.

Today I think the film is incredibly refreshing to watch. Burroughs: The Movie is raw and pure, but with the story of an incredibly complex character unfolding at its centre.

Watch Aaron Brookner speak about the restoration

Uncle Howard

COMING SOON: Uncle Howard directed by Aaron Brookner.
The full story of Howard Brookner's life and the journey to bring back his work.

Executive Produced by Jim Jarmusch.

World Premiere: Sundance Film Festival, 2016 (U.S. Documentary Competition)