Jason and Shirley

Jason and Shirley stillRelease Date:  8/7/16; Blackstar Film Festival (2015)
Genre:  Biography/Drama
Rating:  NR
Running Time:  79 mins.
Black & White
Director:  Stephen Winter
Cast:  Jack Waters, Sarah Schulman, Eamon Fahey, Tristan Cowen, Tony Torn, Peter Cramer, Mike Bailey-Gates, Bryan Webster, Denise Dixon, Orran Farmer.

Story:  Based on a true story, Jason and Shirley thrillingly recreates the dark, electrifying, take-no-prisoners 1966 power struggle between Jewish, Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker, Shirley Clarke and her subject, Jason Holiday, a fierce black gay queen over a 12-hour marathon filming session which gave rise to Clarke’s iconic documentary Portrait of Jason.

When Academy Award-winning filmmaker Shirley Clarke made her groundbreaking avant-garde documentary, it was the first-ever feature film about being a black gay man.  Her subject was raconteur, entertainer, and self-professed hustler, Jason Holliday, whom Clarke interviewed for twelve hours straight in her Chelsea Hotel penthouse.

Over the course of the evening, questions went from the anodyne (“What do you for a living, Jason?”) to the arch (“Why you’d do that to me? Rotten queen!”).  In the final product, we see only Holliday onscreen, smoking joints and drinking copious amounts of whiskey as he seems to suffer a slow breakdown at the hands of Clarke and a co-interviewer.  Source(s):  Official Facebook page; NPR; IMDB.


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