A brunette Madonna shimmies in this exclusive clip from “Uncle Howard,” the new documentary about the life of avant-garde New York filmmaker Howard Brookner.
The Queen of Pop was at the peak of her fame when she starred alongside Matt Dillon, Randy Quaid and Jennifer Grey in 1989’s Jazz Age-themed comedy, “Bloodhounds of Broadway.” Despite the presence of such Hollywood heavyweights, the film is widely considered a flop and rarely broadcast.
As “Uncle Howard” recalls, however, “Bloodhounds of Broadway” was very special for Brookner, who was battling AIDS at the time of its production. The filmmaker had only worked on documentary films beforehand, including the acclaimed “Burroughs: The Movie,” about beat generation author William S. Burroughs. “Bloodhounds of Broadway” was intended to be Brookner’s big screen breakthrough, but the director died just months before its release.
While Brookner didn’t leave as big of a mark on Hollywood as he’d hoped for, it was enough to entice his nephew, Aaron, into directing a film about his uncle’s legacy. Never-before-seen footage capturing the New York of the 1970s and ‘80s, as well as Brookner’s relationships with Burroughs, Madonna and Allen Ginsberg, is among the highlights.
Aaron Brookner told The Huffington Post that, above all, he’d like the documentary to give viewers new insight as to why his uncle was such a pioneering figure in the New York arts scene.
“Howard took inspiration from the likes of Burroughs and Ginsberg, who were pioneering in their writing about homosexuality. Howard’s own work championed theirs and he took it further, putting open homosexuality on screen, and living his own life openly as a queer man,” he said. “It is painfully clear that had those in power not had prejudice against the LGBTQ community, we might not be mourning so many people and great artists today. This should be remembered now more than ever.”
Ultimately, he hopes audiences come away from the film knowing “what you do and who you influence in this life really does matter.”
“If Howard never picked up a camera and never had such an impact on me and those around him,” he said, “few people would even know he ever existed, let alone been so inspired by him.”
“Uncle Howard” will hit New York’s IFC Center on Nov. 18.