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Shepard & Dark

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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.

Reactions, Awards & Festivals

“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

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
  • Himself : Sam Shepard
  • Himself : Johnny Dark
  • Director : Treva Wurmfeld
  • Editors : Sandra Adair, ACE
  • Producers : Amy Hobby
  • Executive Producers : Emily Wachtel, Treva Wurmfeld
  • Director of Photography : Treva Wurmfeld
  • Music : Graham Reynolds
Technical Info
  • Production Year : 2012
  • Release Date : 09/25/13
  • Countries of Production : USA
  • Languages : English
  • Running Time : 92 minutes
  • Screen Ratio : 16x9
  • Sound : Dolby
  • Color : Color
  • Rating : Not Rated
Theatrical Engagements
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DVD/Blu-Ray Special Features

Extended Interviews

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Poster Gallery

Deleted Scenes

7 Things I Learned From You Featurette

Theatrical Trailer