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George A. Romero’s Never Before Seen Bigfoot Short Film to Get Free Virtual Screening

Jacaranda Joe is a 17 minute “found footage” piece by Romero, that can be seen for the first time at the free to register event on April 12th.


Last year, a long-lost George A. Romero movie, The Amusement Park, was finally released to the world via streaming service Shudder. Fans of the horror master are in for another treat next month when the director’s short film Jacaranda Joe will receive its first-ever public screening in a free virtual event on April 12th. The film is one of the many gems among the George A. Romero Archival Collection that the University of Pittsburgh Libraries acquired in 2019 and have been working on preserving the legend’s lesser-known work.

Jacaranda Joe is a short film that Romero made in 1994 and features a “found-footage”Clip that pre-dates the first big movie of the genre, The Blair Witch Project, making it not only a fantastic find for fans of Romero but also genre lovers. The film itself focuses on the Bigfoot legend and was Romero’s attempt to find out if audiences could be scared by something that looked like a documentary, and like so many other recent Romero finds, it took a while to make sure all the pieces of the 17 -minute-long movies were intact.


The Horror Studies website explains:

“In June 1994, George Romero traveled to Valencia College in Florida to make a short film called Jacaranda Joe. It was a re-imagined version of a movie he’d tried to make in the 1970s called The Footage, about a TV show in which a famous athlete learns to hunt alongside a handful of experienced outdoorsmen that stumbles onto a bigfoot community. But while that story was entirely focused on the film shoot, with the footage never actually being seen by anyone (one version ends with the bigfeet throwing the film reels into the air like streamers), Jacaranda Joe takes place after a clip from a similar TV show has leaked out. It was very much a proto-found footage movie, about which Romero told a local paper that he “wants to know if audiences can be scared by a documentary format.” But it was also pre-Blair Witch Projectand so that footage makes up only a few seconds of the running time. ”

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While it is exciting for fans of Romero to see some of these lost pieces of the director’s work, much of the ongoing work being done by University of Pittsburgh Libraries is really about restoring, preserving and in some cases, locating and piecing together long-lost and never before seen films to ensure they are available for the next generation and beyond. The virtual presentation of Jacaranda Joe is possible following the recovery of the newly recovered 35mm film.

Adam Charles Hart explained:

“Six of the reels were original camera negatives from the filming of Jacaranda Joe at Valencia College (then Valencia Community College), with director of photography and Valencia faculty member Dominic Palmieri, and those reels are either pristine or have sustained minimal damage. Comparing the negatives with the surviving cut of the film as well as the storyboards, this appears to be complete: as far as I can tell, every 35mm shot is accounted for. Our first priority here, as it is with all of our archives, is preservation. And with the recovery of this 35mm negative, we can ensure that this unseen short from George Romero’s filmography will be preserved in its original format. “

Registration for the virtual event, which includes a Q&A session with crew members from the shoot, is free and can be done via this websiteand the screening takes place at 7 pm EST on April 12th.

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