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Contemplations and digressions from Filmmaker's Editor-in-Chief by Scott Macaulay

GoFundMe Launches to Support Tarnation Director Jonathan Caouette’s Medical Expenses

Jonathan Caouette and Renee Leblanc in Walk Away Renee

Jonathan Caouette, the director whose breakthrough experimental personal doc Tarnation (2004) has proved both tremendously influential but never really matched in terms of formal inventiveness and emotional intensity, is facing significant health challenges, and friends and supporters have launched a GoFundMe to help. Marie Therese Guirgis, Stephen Winter, Brian Kates, John Cameron Mitchell, and Gus Van Sant are behind the fundraiser, which is currently just over midway to its $60,000 goal. Treatment is occurring abroad, and funds raised will go towards “crucial surgeries and medical care, his outstanding medical bills, and his living expenses while he undergoes this long and delicate process of recovery in another country,” the organizers write. “We want Jonathan to be healthy and able to be out in the world, enjoying the company of his many friends, working to support himself, and sharing his singular and beautiful vision with all of us for many years to come,” the organizers write.

Made for less than $300 by Caouette using iMovie, Tarnation led to an also extraordinary companion film of sorts,  Walk Away Renee (2012), which depicts the director moving his mentally ill mother from Houston to a new facility in New York.

For more information, including updates from Caouette penned from Bogota, as well as to donate, if you’re able, visit the GoFundMe page.


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