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First Run Features Invites you to the Press Screening for

Christopher Felver's New Documentary
About the Iconic American Writer Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Opening February 8 in New York at the Quad Cinema

The film features Allen Ginsberg, Dave Eggers, Dennis Hopper, Michael McClure, Billy Collins, Robert Scheer, Pulitzer Prize winner Gary Snyder, and others

Interviews Available with Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Chris Felver

New York Press Screening

Tuesday, January 29th @ 6:00 pm
Magno Review 2: 729 7th Ave. (48th & 49th)

RSVP to:

Screeners also available

*In an effort to go green, we're no longer automatically sending paper press materials along with screeners or at press screenings. If you would like us to send a paper press kit with your screener, please let us know.

The poet and writer Lawrence Ferlinghetti is an iconic presence in the world of arts and letters. For well over half a century he has helped shape the currents of poetry and literature through his forceful engagement with society. Armed with an ideological position that often found him at odds with the political dogma of his day, Ferlinghetti became the bestselling poet of the modern era, a literary mercenary and a rebel at the forefront of a cultural revolution.

In this definitive documentary film, director Christopher Felver crafts an incisive, sharply wrought portrait that reveals Ferlinghetti’s true role as catalyst for numerous literary careers and for the Beat movement itself.

Ferlinghetti explores the world of San Francisco’s legendary poet, artist, publisher and civil libertarian. Presenting himself as a living presence in poetry, Mr. Ferlinghetti reads many of his significant poems, discusses his political and social activism, and gives viewers an insight into his public and private life as it unfolds over nine remarkable decades.

Felver’s one-on-one interviews with Ferlinghetti, made over the course of a decade, touch upon a rich mélange of characters and events that began to unfold in postwar America. These events include the publication of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch, and Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, as well as the divisive events of the Vietnam war, the sexual revolution, and this country’s perilous march towards intellectual and political bankruptcy. Since its inception in 1953, Ferlinghetti’s City Lights Bookstore quickly became an iconic literary institution that embodied social change and literary freedom. Continuing to thrive for over five decades, it is a cornerstone of America’s modern literary and cultural history.

Ferlinghetti’s ideological identity began to coalesce soon after visiting the ruins of Nagasaki – just weeks after the devastation of the atomic bomb in 1945 – an event which he says transformed him into “an instant pacifist.” His newfound skepticism regarding the power of the state materialized into his unique brand of political activism shortly after he moved to San Francisco and made the acquaintance of Kenneth Rexroth. The political principles he infused into his poetry, rooted in anarchist thought and civil libertarianism, quickly spread throughout the world – even cited as one of the primary catalysts of the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia. Back at home, the Beat Generation’s rebellion against the social conservatism of the 1950’s jump-started social awareness and permanently impacted the tone and character of American culture. And it was Ferlinghetti’s infamous censorship trial–for his publication of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl in 1956 – versus the City of San Francisco that launched the social rebellion of the Beats into national consciousness. By winning the trial, Ferlinghetti set a precedent that secured the First Amendment rights of publishing in this country and preserved the freedom of speech in literature. He set the foundation for successive generations of First Amendment activists: the musicians, poets, authors, and filmmakers who continue to protect our freedom of speech today.

The film features archival photographs and historical footage, with appearances by Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Billy Collins, Dennis Hopper, Robert Scheer, Dave Eggers, Pulitzer Prize winner Gary Snyder, and others. The appearance of numerous other prominent figures from the literary, political, and art community further underscore the enormous social impact Ferlinghetti’s legacy continues to have on the American cultural scene. As he reads from A Coney Island of the Mind, Ferlinghetti manifests what it means to be a rebel poet, a renegade publisher and a true bearer of the Whitman tradition. And despite being the bestselling poet in modern literature, his place in the history of American literature was not carved out by his pen alone. With his publishing house at City Lights, he has championed the writings of countless other writers and continues to turn successive generations on to poetry. This film hopes to further educate the general public as to why Lawrence Ferlinghetti is easily one of the preeminent figures of modern political activism and perhaps the most influential artist in the history of American literature since the 1950s.

About the Director / Producer

Christopher Felver is a photographer and filmmaker with solo photographic exhibitions at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Torino Fotografia Biennale Internazionale, Fahey/Klein Gallery in Los Angeles, and Robert Berman Gallery in Los Angeles. He participated in the 53rd Venice International Film Festival. The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the New York Public Library, and the Museum of Fine Art in Boston have presented retrospectives of his films: John Cage Talks About Cows, Cecil Taylor: All the Notes, West Coast: “Beat & Beyond", Taken by the Romans, Donald Judd’s Marfa Texas, Tony Cragg: In Celebration of Sculpture, California Clay in the Rockies, and The Coney Island of Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Mr. Felver’s books are The Late Great Allen Ginsberg, Seven Days in Nicaragua Libre, The Poet Exposed, Ferlinghetti Portrait, Angels, Anarchists & Gods, The Importance of Being and Beat. His work is collected in libraries and museums worldwide.

Ferlinghetti: A Rebirth of Wonder
Directed & Produced by: Christopher Felver
Co-producer: Will Hearst
Associate Producers: Robert Berman, Steve Kotton, Bruce Ricker
Assistant Director: Dave Giles
Sound Design: Disher Music & Sound
Music Composed & Performed by Rick DePofi & David Amram
Music Recorded & Mixed by: Rick DePofi & Craig Bishop / NY Noise Productions

Press kit, photos, & more available at