Co-directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman are well known for their documentaries addressing LGBT issues, like their Emmy-winning 1995 doc about portrayals of gays in TV and film the Celluloid Closet, their Oscar-winning 1998 doc about the AIDS Memorial Quilt Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt, and their multi-award-winning 2000 doc Paragraph 175 about the Nazi's persecution of gays from 1933-1945.
In Epstein and Friedman's latest film, Howl, the duo examine Allen Ginsberg's groundbreaking poem 'Howl' and the landmark censorship trial that surrounded its publication (see my ReThink Review of Howl and discussion about it on the Young Turks here). While Howl is a departure for them as their first scripted feature -- alternating between a re-enactment of Ginsberg's first reading of 'Howl' to an audience, an interview with Ginsberg about his background and the writing of 'Howl', and the obscenity trial against Lawrence Ferlinghetti for publishing Howl and Other Poems -- Howl was also going to be one of their first films that didn't expressly address queer issues. But as Epstein and Friedman began their research into Ginsberg's life and the poem that defined the counterculture, they soon realized that Ginsberg's sexuality and the queer themes within the poem would be vital elements in their film, so much so that Howl, in Epstein and Freidman's words, may be their queerest film to date.
I spoke to Epstein and Friedman to get their thoughts on what drew them to Howl, some of their inspirations for the film, why Howl might be their queerest film yet, what James Franco brought to his portrayal of Ginsberg, and, as usual, what are some films that changed their lives.
Watch my ReThink Interview with Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Freidman below.
For more information on Howl, go here.
To see Howl On Demand, go here.
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