Ross Lipman is a filmmaker and restorationist who, working for the UCLA Film & Television Archive, has made astounding contributions to film culture, restoring films by John Cassavetes and Shirley Clarke, Bruce Conner and Kenneth Anger, Charles Burnett and Kent Mackenzie. The list goes on. His latest completed restoration is Film (1965), the legendary 24-minute work written by Samuel Beckett (his only screenplay), directed by Alan Schneider (though Beckett was a constant presence on the set), and starring Buster Keaton.
Film was commissioned by Barney Rosset, the publisher and free speech icon who ran Grove Press, and it was while exploring Rosset’s apartment that Lipman discovered—under the kitchen sink, no less—reels of film and audio that’d been unseen for decades. As Milestone Films prepares to release the new restoration, founders Amy Heller and Dennis Doros are working with Lipman on a documentary about Film‘s making: Notfilm. And they’ve got a lovely site for both.
They’ve also set up an Indiegogo campaign with the aim of raising $90K, about half the total budget need to complete the doc and “bonus features which will include an alternate version of Film with the legendary and previously lost until now missing first scene!” Notfilm will feature a score by Richard Einhorn and interviews with the likes of Kevin Brownlow, Leonard Matlin, Haskell Wexler and more. You can watch Lipman discuss the work-in-progress at Indiegogo (1’49”); meantime, the current trailer: