Space is the Place
#1 Wed, 2011-08-24 15:14
Space is the Place
As the producer of the film Space is the Place, I'd like to clear the air regarding certain assumptions and misconceptions. There is no "Sun Ra edit" of the film. The film was originally edited under the supervision of Barbara Pokras at her LA studio, and the longer version released on DVD by Plexifilm is that version. They (Plexi) decided to refer to it as the "director's cut" as a marketing decision. The director John Coney had nothing to do with it, although both he and I endorsed that decision after it was made. Plexifilm currently holds no distribution rights to the film. It is being prepared for release by another company, based in San Francisco. That will most probably be the same version as edited by Pokras and released by Plexi.
The shorter VHS version (with scenes cut with the help of Mark Gorney) was released by Bruce Ritter of Rhapsody Films. Bruce decided (apparently for financial reasons) to stopped reporting sales after a few years into his contract. I had to hire lawyers to force him to release essential materials. I have no idea what he owed us, since he didn't continue to report sales.
The VHS version was edited in part to respond to Sun Ra's continuing to express his hope that the film contain more beauty. Specific scenes (i.e. those that were cut) never were a part of any of our discussions with Sun Ra. There was also a feeling that a shorter version would conform better to potential TV distribution deals. None ever materialized. I sat in on a number of viewing sessions with Ra, all of which included the scenes that were cut from the VHS version. He and his entourage laughed throughout and seemed to be enjoying themselves. At one point I shipped several boxes of outtakes, work print material that was shot during the production. This was done to allow him to have some hands on experience with the materials and to see if he could put together something that would better express his idea of "beauty." Nothing ever came of this effort – at least nothing that I ever saw.
That's pretty much the story as I lived through it during the 70s and early 80s.
Jim Newman, Producer
SPACE IS THE PLACE