"Shepard and Dark" Documentary to Shine Light on Playwright Sam Shepard and Friend

By Carey Purcell
May 7, 2013

A documentary about Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and actor Sam Shepard and his friend Johnny Dark will appear in the Cannes Film Festival, which runs May 15-26.



"Shepard and Dark," directed by Treva Wurmfeld, focuses on the relationship between the two men, which began in the early 1960s. Shepard went on to become a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright (Buried Child) and an Academy Award-nominated actor ("The Right Stuff"), while Dark was a homebody who worked odd jobs such as deli worker and dog catcher. They became family members and housemates when Dark married a woman named Scarlett and Shepard married her daughter, and the two couples lived together until Shepard left his wife for Jessica Lange, leaving Dark to help raise Shepard's first son.

"Wurmfeld began filming the two friends in 2010 during a period of transition and reflection for Shepard," press notes state. "He had quietly ended his relationship with Lange at the time and accepted a proposal to publish his correspondence with Dark. The task required them to meet and sift through years of their shared history, stirring memories both good and bad. Wurmfeld observes the two men, separately and together, over a period of eighteen months and captures an indelible portrait of a complex friendship. On the surface, they are like jovial siblings, having laughs at each other's expense, but as they trace back four decades of experience, each man taps into deeper subjects of love, duty, fatherhood, illness, grief, passion, money, art, freedom and isolation."

The film is scheduled for additional screenings, including one at the San Francisco International Film Festival. It was screened at a wide assortment of film festivals earlier this year and late last year such as the Florida Film Festival, Cleveland International Film Festival, Martha's Vineyard Film Festival, DOC NYC 2012 and its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2012. "Shepard and Dark" received Best Feature Documentary at the Woodstock Film Festival.

More information about "Shepard and Dark" can be found at shepardanddark.com.