In Search of Avery Willard

by Monday, November 4, 2013

A Charlie Guidance Production
Directed by Cary Kehayan
Executive Producers: Ira Sachs and Lucas Joaquin
Produced by Cary Kehayan and Amanda Hammett
2012 | Color | 23 minutes

*WINNER* Shout Award, ‘Best Short Film’ – 2012 Sidewalk Film Festival
Senses of Cinema FIlm Journal (2012 World Poll), Attitude Magazine (Best of BFI London LGFF 2012)
2013 Rotterdam International Film Festival, 2013 BFI London LGFF, Outfest 2012, 2012 Frameline Film Festival, 2012 Northside Festival Brooklyn

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Produced concurrently and in partnership with Ira Sachs’ acclaimed feature film KEEP THE LIGHTS ON (2012, Music Box Films) with support from the New York Public Library, IN SEARCH OF AVERY WILLARD is an illuminating portrait of one of queer art’s most fascinating and elusive innovators.

Broadway photographer, physique artist, gay activist, experimental filmmaker, drag historian, leatherman, pornographer: New York City artist Avery Willard produced a lifetime of historically significant work that has remained widely unseen for decades. Through rare interviews with collaborators, friends and preeminent cinema historians, filmmaker Cary Kehayan traces Willard’s provocative career from the 1940s through the 1990s. Featuring newly restored, never-before-seen archival films and photographs, this revealing documentary tells the story of a lost trailblazer of the queer art movement – a man who was as ambitious as he was self-sabotaging.

Executive produced by Ira Sachs (Forty Shades of Blue, Love Is Strange) and Lucas Joaquin (Beasts of the Southern Wild, Keep the Lights On) and featuring an original score by Daniel Quinn (Cosmonaut), IN SEARCH OF AVERY WILLARD has screened at over 25 U.S. and international film festivals and was released by Music Box Films as part of the Keep the Lights On DVD and Blu-ray editions.


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“…a revelation… It’s fascinating, historically and culturally invaluable stuff.”
– DVD Talk

“…the wonderful In Search of Avery Willard… is a great companion piece to [Keep the Lights On] and also a great short film by itself (is someone making a feature length on Willard? Because they should).”
– PopMatters

“It’s a genuinely fascinating portrait of a largely unsung artist, whose contributions have hardly been accorded a footnote in the history of the gay-rights movement.”
– Movie City News

“Everything that Cary Kehayan is making seems to have a theme… [In Search of Avery Willard] presents a hybrid of 8mm and 16mm unprocessed films that is a huge missing piece in film history, dating all the way back from the ’40s to the ’70s. The results also show a monumental leap into re-defining the queer art scene during that time period. This not only bridges the gap between artists, it bridges the gap between filmmakers… Kehayan asks, ‘What does it mean for a life to fade over time, to dissipate? And once that happens, how do you extract that?’ We didn’t know the exact answer, but we knew that Kehayan definitely managed to do it with In Search of Avery Willard.”
– Damn NYC

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© 2012 Charlie Guidance Productions, Inc. For streaming purposes only. Not to be distributed.

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