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Smash The Control Machine: Howard Brookner And The Western Lands

Talent Project Market 2013

Project information

Talent Aaron Brookner
Role of participant Director
Director Aaron Brookner
Producer Paula Vaccaro (Pinball London, UK)
Screenwriter Aaron Brookner
Status finished

Production details

Running time 90 min
Budget in Euro 306,000
Year of production 2016
Countries of Production Germany , United Kingdom , United States
Production Companies
Pinball London Ltd
Interzone Pictures
Website http://www.pinballonline.co.uk


still / picture for Smash The Control Machine: Howard Brookner And The Western Lands
still / picture for Smash The Control Machine: Howard Brookner And The Western Lands
still / picture for Smash The Control Machine: Howard Brookner And The Western Lands


Synopsis

Howard Brookner was buried on his thirty-fifth birth- day in 1989. He was gay; heterosexual; heroin user; Ivy League graduate; porn-writer; Hollywood rising star; broke artist; jet-setter; Bohemian at the Chelsea Hotel; usher at the Metropolitan Opera; seedy nightlife lover; director of cult docs; calculating liar; an honest and devoted friend, yet no one in the world knew he was all these things. To director Aaron Brookner, he was a loving and inspirational uncle who died of AIDS when he was only seven, right when Howard was on the brink of a promising filmmaking career.
William Burroughs said “Immortality is the only goal worth striving for”. Howard’s relationship with the writer marked his gateway to artistic and personal freedom. Burroughs discussed the Egyptian concept that death was not the end of human existence, but a necessary transition to immortality, achieved when one’s spirit could be freed from its tomb.
Twenty-three years after his death, Howard’s work and memory are fading. But Aaron will find the clues to the many sides of his uncle’s story in a modern day tomb in Burroughs’ New York City bunker. More than 300 cans containing Howard’s career including outtakes from Burroughs: the movie, the most iconic film about the writer and Howard’s debut film. Howard’s video diaries documenting his illness and personal feelings, photographs, rehearsal videos from his Hollywood feature with Madonna, buried letters, and extensive documentation from the mid 80s until his death all become guides to piecing together a Rashomon-like existence to fulfil his uncle’s dying wish not to be forgotten.
Aaron’s conversations with family and his uncle’s closest friends trigger an exploration into the eruption of our modern plague AIDS, the ideas of William S. Burroughs, sex, politics, a bankrupt NYC, drug addiction, his own family, and artistic determination. William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Patti Smith, John Giorno, Brion Gysin, Terry Southern, Jim Jarmusch, Robert Wilson, Madonna, Matt Dillon and Francis Bacon all join Howard to reveal his tumultuous and mysterious short journey of life, struggles, and untimely death.

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