Ginsberg biopic 'Howl' premieres at Sundance

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The Independent Culture

Howl, a biopic about American beat poet Allen Ginsberg, premieres January 21 at the Sundance Film Festival. Written and directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, the film focuses on the obscenity trial brought about by the 1956 publication of Ginsberg's Howl and Other Poems.

According to The Guardian, the Oscar/Emmy-winning filmmaking team accepted the project from Ginsberg's estate eight years ago, initially planning the film as a documentary in honor of the then-approaching 50th anniversary of the poem's publication. Out three years later than planned, the resulting work is a mixed-genre film that reflects the filmmakers' intense devotion to their subject.

The film features James Franco as Ginsberg, as well as Aaron Tveit, Jon Hamm, Alessandro Nivola, and Mary-Louise Parker. Jon Prescott portrays Neal Cassady, Todd Rotondi is Jack Kerouac, and Andrew Rogers is Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

Sundance provides the following film description: "It's San Francisco in 1957, and an American masterpiece is put on trial. Howl, the film, recounts this dark moment using three interwoven threads: the tumultuous life events that led a young Allen Ginsberg to find his true voice as an artist, society's reaction (the obscenity trial), and mind-expanding animation that echoes the startling originality of the poem itself."

Howl premieres at the opening night of the Sundance Film Festival, where it is nominated for a Grand Jury Prize. Theater release dates are TBD.

Watch four just-posted clips from the film at http://www/collider.com.

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