ARTHUR J. BRESSAN, JR.
One of the pioneers of independent gay cinema in the 1970s and ‘80s, Arthur J. Bressan, Jr. is best known for his devastating 1985 drama, Buddies (the first feature film about AIDS). Working across multiple genres including documentary, narrative, adult and short form filmmaking, Bressan’s boldness and artistry as a writer-director earned him both acclaim and controversy over the course of his decade-long filmmaking career.
In addition to Buddies, Bressan’s best known films include Abuse (hailed by Rex Reed as “a film of astonishing power and emotional impact”); the ambitious 1977 documentary Gay U.S.A. which showcased LGBT Pride celebrations across the country during the time of Anita Bryant’s anti-gay crusade; and Passing Strangers, Bressan’s lyrical hard-core coming out drama which earned him the Best Director Prize at the 1974 San Francisco Erotic Film Festival. Other films include: Forbidden Letters (1979), Family Affair (1982), Thank You, Mr. President (1983), Pleasure Beach (1983), Juice (1984) and Daddy Dearest (1984).
Bressan died of AIDS in 1987. The majority of his films have long been unavailable. The Bressan Project is currently undertaking efforts to preserve and make them available once again.
THE BRESSAN PROJECT
Launched in 2018 by Arthur’s sister Roe Bressan and LGBT film historian Jenni Olson, The Bressan Project is devoted to the preservation and promotion of the films of Arthur J. Bressan, Jr.
The first film to be released by The Bressan Project — in collaboration with acclaimed Blu-ray label, Vinegar Syndrome and Frameline Distribution — is a new 2K digital restoration of Bressan's 1985 independent drama, Buddies which premiered at Frameline: The San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival on June 21st 2018 followed by a one-week theatrical run in New York City at the Quad Cinema.
Keep an eye out for special screenings of Buddies at film festivals, colleges and museums as well, and stay tuned for releases of other Arthur J. Bressan, Jr. films in the months and years ahead.
New Digital Restoration
When gay yuppie New Yorker David volunteers to be a “buddy” to an AIDS patient, the gay community center assigns him to California gay activist, Robert.
The film is also available for exhibition at film festivals, colleges and other venues via Frameline Distribution — just click here for more info.
The newly restored Buddies is being presented at prestigious venues around the world including: The Museum of Modern Art, the Berlin Film Festival, Outfest, Frameline and many more.
Preserved by UCLA Film & Television Archive
Gay USA has been newly preserved by UCLA Film & Television Archive from a 16mm internegative and a 35mm print. Preservation funding provided by The Andrew J. Kuehn Jr. Foundation, Frameline, and members of Outfest.
Implementing his vision to create an uplifting nationwide portrait of the gay and lesbian community, Arthur J. Bressan Jr. enlisted film crews in multiple cities across the country to shoot footage and interviews at the gay pride celebrations of June 26, 1977. Having produced the majority of the footage with his own crew at San Francisco’s Gay Freedom Day Parade, Bressan swiftly edited together the other location footage with his own and released Gay USA before the year was out. His sense of urgency arose out of a desire to combat the virulent homophobia of Anita Bryant’s June 1977 “Save Our Children” campaign.
On its December 1977 release, the Los Angeles Times gave the film a positive review saying that it, “offers a positive and varied view of homosexuality in America.”
Look for Gay USA coming to a film festival near you. To book the film contact Frameline Distribution.