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Filmmaker Jonathan Demme’s personal archive donated to U-M Library

By Chris Gore | August 6, 2018

The University of Michigan Library in Ann Arbor will welcome the archive of the late award-winning director, producer and screenwriter Jonathan Demme. The donation from the Demme family was announced August 3rd at the Traverse City Film Festival at a special screening of Demme’s 1987 film Swimming to Cambodia. The personal archive comprises materials related to Demme’s 40-year-long career that included films Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia, Stop Making Sense, Something Wild, and Beloved, among many others.

The collection features photographs, scripts, correspondence, personal notes, unfinished documentary film footage, promotional items, costumes and props, which will become part of the popular Screen Arts Mavericks and Makers collection, a trove of material that highlights visionaries in the genre of independent film. As a filmmaker who navigated the space between Hollywood and the independent film industry, Demme’s collection offers another unique perspective.

The unfinished footage and outtakes from the filmmaker’s documentaries are set to become part of a class where film students have the opportunity to repurpose the footage and create new work. Once processed, the full collection of materials will be made available both digitally and upon special request via the U-M Library’s Special Collections Research Center.

Demme, who died in April 2017 at the age of 73, is survived by his wife Joanne Howard and their three children.

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