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Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton

Years before the Beats arrived in San Francisco, the city exploded with artistic expressions – painting, theatre, film, poetry. At its center was the groundbreaking filmmaker and poet James Broughton. “Big Joy” explores Broughton's passionate embrace of a life of pansexual transcendence and a fiercely independent mantra: ‘follow your own weird’. His remarkable story spans the post-war San Francisco Renaissance, his influence on the Beat generation, escape to Europe during the McCarthy years, a lifetime of acclaim for his joyous experimental films and poetry celebrating the human body, finding his soulmate at age 61, and finally, his ascendancy as a revered bard of sexual liberation.

Director: Eric Slade, Stephen Silha

Executive Producer: Stephen Silha, Jok Church

Producer: Stephen Silha, Eric Slade, Max St. Romain

Cinematographer: Ian Hinkle, Art Adams

Editor: Dawn Logsdon (co-director); Kyung Lee; Consulting Editor: Bill Weber

Sound Designer: James LeBrecht

Music: Jami Sieber & Evan Schiller

Principal Cast: James Broughton, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Anna Halprin, Armistead Maupin, Jack Foley, Neeli Cherkovski, Alex Gildzen, Keith Hennessy, Joel Singer


Stephen Silha, former reporter for The Christian Science Monitor, was inspired by his mentor James Broughton’s philosophy, life and work to make his first feature film. Eric Slade’s PBS credits include “History Detectives” and “America’s History in the Making". His documentary “Hope Along the Wind: The Life of Harry Hay” won many festival awards.

Public Film Contact
Stephen Silha
Frisky Divinity Productions
(206) 567-4363