“Full of the passion of lives lived fully on their own terms.” -The Wall Street Journal

Shepard & Dark

Shepard & Dark

About the Film

Sam Shepard and Johnny Dark met in Greenwich Village in the early 1960s and, despite leading very different lives, remained close friends ever since. Shepard became a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright (Buried Child) and an Academy Award-nominated actor (The Right Stuff), while Dark was a homebody who supported himself with odd jobs. Through the decades, they stayed bonded by family ties. Dark married an older woman named Scarlett and Shepard married her daughter. For years, the two couples lived together, until Shepard broke away for a relationship with Jessica Lange in 1983, leaving Johnny to help father his first son. Nevertheless, he and Dark continued writing to each other, amassing hundreds of letters.

Director Treva Wurmfeld began filming the two friends in 2010 during a period of transition and reflection for Shepard. At the time, he had quietly ended his relationship with Lange and agreed 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 over a period of 18 months and captures an indelible portrait of a complex male friendship rarely depicted on screen.
Starring: Sam Shepard, Johnny Dark
Director: Treva Wurmfeld

Reactions

“Offers not just an intimate perspective on the playwright's biography but some touching reflections on the comforts and perils of long-term friendship.” - John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter

“Tragic and tender, full of the passion of lives lived fully on their own terms.” - Steve Dollar, The Wall Street Journal

“A portrait that’s refreshingly casual in its sage wisdom.” - Nick McCarthy, Slant Magazine

“A captivating and richly emotional story. A sometimes startlingly intimate exploration of love, friendship, manhood, the artistic instinct and the American road, the film plays like a long goodbye to what used to be called bohemia.” -Steve Dollar, GreenCine Daily

Awards & Festivals

  • One of the 50 Best Undistributed Films of 2012, Film Comment
  • Winner! Woodstock Film Festival 2012, Best Documentary & Best Editing
  • Winner! Cleveland International Film Festival 2013, Nesnadny and Schwartz Documentary Film Competition

Cast & Crew

Featuring

Sam Shepard
Johnny Dark

Principal Cast Biographies

Sam Shepard

Born on November 5th, 1943 in Fort Sheridan, Illinois, USA, Sam Shepard has written 45 plays, 11 of which have won Obie Awards, and has appeared as an actor over 40 films. In 1979 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Buried Child, and in 1984 he gained an Oscar nomination for his performance in THE RIGHT STUFF.

His screenplay for Paris, Texas won the Golden Palm Award at the 1984 Cannes Film Festival, and he wrote and directed the film FAR NORTH in 1988. Other plays by Sam Shepard include Simpatico, Curse of the Starving Class, True West, Fool for Love and A Lie of the Mind.

In 1986 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and in 1992 he received the Gold Medal for Drama from the Academy. In 1994 he was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame.

Crew

Director: Treva Wurmfeld
Editors: Sandra Adair, ACE
Producers: Amy Hobby
Executive Producers: Emily Wachtel, Treva Wurmfeld
Director of Photography: Treva Wurmfeld
Music: Graham Reynolds

Director Biography

Treva Wurmfeld

Treva Wurmfeld has been working in documentary and television since 2005. Her feature debut SHEPARD AND DARK made its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2012 and won top awards at the Woodstock, Florida and Cleveland Film Festivals.

Recently Wurmfeld was nominated for the Caméra d’Or at Cannes.  Previously, she produced for the Emmy Award winning A&E series Intervention. In 2008, she wrote, directed and produced the short film Oyster.  She began her career as a visual effects assistant on Doug Liman's MR. AND MRS. SMITH and went on to produce the EPK for Liman's JUMPER, FAIR GAME, and ALL YOU NEED TO KILL. She received her MFA in Video Art from Hunter College in 2006.

Technical Info

Production Year: 2012
Countries of Production: US
Languages: English
Running Time: 1h 32m

Theaters

Martha's Vineyard
Massachusetts
2/17/13
Missoula
Montana
2/17/13
Ashland
Oregon
4/5/13
Maitland
Florida
4/6/13
Sarasota
Florida
4/11/13
Cleveland
Ohio
4/13/13
Madison
Wisconsin
4/15/13
San Francisco
California
5/3/13
San Francisco
California
5/5/13
New York
New York
9/25/13
Chicago
Illinois
10/4/13
Beverly Hills
California
10/11/13
Missoula
Montana
10/11/13
Santa Fe
New Mexico
10/18/13
Portland
Maine
10/25/13
Austin
Texas
10/25/13

Shepard & Dark - Press Page

Hi Res Photos
For single image download (Open and Right-click to save to desktop)
Shepard Dark 1
Shepard Dark 2
Shepard Dark 3
Shepard Dark 4

Awards & Festivals

  • One of the 50 Best Undistributed Films of 2012, Film Comment
  • Winner! Woodstock Film Festival 2012, Best Documentary & Best Editing
  • Winner! Cleveland International Film Festival 2013, Nesnadny and Schwartz Documentary Film Competition

Reactions

“Offers not just an intimate perspective on the playwright's biography but some touching reflections on the comforts and perils of long-term friendship.” - John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter

“Tragic and tender, full of the passion of lives lived fully on their own terms.” - Steve Dollar, The Wall Street Journal

“A portrait that’s refreshingly casual in its sage wisdom.” - Nick McCarthy, Slant Magazine

“A captivating and richly emotional story. A sometimes startlingly intimate exploration of love, friendship, manhood, the artistic instinct and the American road, the film plays like a long goodbye to what used to be called bohemia.” -Steve Dollar, GreenCine Daily

Detailed Film Info

Sam Shepard and Johnny Dark met in Greenwich Village in the early 1960s and, despite leading very different lives, remained close friends ever since. Shepard became a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright (Buried Child) and an Academy Award-nominated actor (THE RIGHT STUFF), while Dark was a homebody who supported himself with odd jobs. Through the decades, they stayed bonded by family ties. Dark married an older woman named Scarlett and Shepard married her daughter. For years, the two couples lived together, until Shepard broke away for a relationship with Jessica Lange in 1983, leaving Johnny to help father his first son. Nevertheless, he and Dark continued writing to each other, amassing hundreds of letters.


 

Director Treva Wurmfeld began filming the two friends in 2010 during a period of transition and reflection for Shepard. At the time, he had quietly ended his relationship with Lange and agreed 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 over a period of 18 months and captures an indelible portrait of a complex male friendship rarely depicted on screen.

Trailer

Photos

Add To Your Netflix Queue

Not Playing In Your City?

Demand It! Enter your Zip Code below.