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1954 Allen Willis, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Phil Green, Dave Myers

Allen Willis was known as the dean of African American documentary filmmakers in the SF Bay Area—and very much attached to the rich history of San Francisco independent film. He studied filmmaking at the School in the mid-1950s with Robert Katz and fellow film students Yvonne Rainer and Stan Brakhage.  Willis’ film, Have You Sold Your Dozen Roses, which includes a poetic narration by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, was made at the School’s Film Workshop, with fellow students, Phil Green and Dave Myers. Filmed at the San Francisco dump at Hunter’s Point, Ferlinghetti’s narration begins, “Have you sold your dozen roses, in the flowerless fields of heaven?” The film has been described as “beautiful in a weird and yet not arty way.” Willis won an Emmy for his 1972 film Can You Hear Me?

With permission, SFAA is re-posting the emails Jeff Gunderson Librarian/Archivist Anne Bremer Memorial Library has been sending out since March 2020. Please enjoy this magnificent archive.


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