Juno Films has licensed the exclusive worldwide rights to Barbara Rubin & The Exploding New York Underground. Chuck Smith’s award-winning film brings to life the influential maverick filmmaker who in the 1960s collaborated with Andy Warhol, Allen Ginsberg, the Velvet Underground and Bob Dylan to produce an oeuvre of work that still scandalizes. Filmmaker Jonas Mekas, her close friend and collaborator, collected all of her films and letters which form the basis of the film along with his commentary. The film premiered at DOC NYC where it won the Metropolis Grand Jury Prize and will open theatrically in NYC at the IFC Center in 2019 followed by broadcast, digital and home video release, along with international broadcast sales.
Made when she was just 18 years old, Barbara Rubin’s art-porn masterpiece Christmas On Earth (1963-65) shocked NYC’s experimental film scene and inspired NYC’s thriving underground. For the next four years her filmmaking and irrepressible energy helped shatter artistic and sexist boundaries. A mythical “Zelig” of the sixties, she introduced Andy Warhol to the Velvet Underground and Bob Dylan to the Kabbalah. But beyond shaping the spirit of the sixties, Barbara was seeking the deeper meaning of life. After retiring to a farm with Allen Ginsberg, she shocked everyone by converting to Hasidic Judaism, marrying and moving to France to live an anonymous life. Tragically, she died in 1980 after giving birth to her fifth child. For years, Jonas Mekas treasured all of Barbara’s letters and films and cherished her memory. Working with Mekas’ footage, the film takes us inside the world and mind of Barbara Rubin; a woman who truly believed that film could change the world.
The deal was negotiated between Elizabeth Sheldon, Juno’s CEO and co-founder, and filmmaker Chuck Smith. “Chuck’s film excavates a figure in film history who has long been overlooked. Her contributions and influence on the underground art scene of the 60s can now find its proper place alongside her contemporaries,” says Elizabeth Sheldon. Chuck Smith comments, “Elizabeth’s passion for the film and Barbara’s story helped convince me that Juno Films is the perfect home for the documentary. I look forward to working with Juno to share this incredible story with the world.”
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