TWILIGHT TIME'S JULIE KIRGO (2011 / 2012) - Page 1

In Part 2 of our profile of independent home video label Twilight Time, we chat with film historian Julie Kirgo, an astute and zealous film lover whose excitement for movies great, silly, and guilty easily makes its way into her prose which accompanies the colourful stills in Twilight Time’s booklets.

Kirgo has also contributed to DVD audio commentaries, and like booklets and featurettes on apocryphal subjects, these value-added special features among major label releases have been generally restricted to new releases, HD remasterings of top 100 catalogue films, and select reissues. 

Among indie labels, however, special features are often de rigueur, and the production of relevant and edifying extras is, in fact, a craft. There are banal extras which exist as lazily conceived padding for mediocre films; badly executed and edited extras that lack the discerning, critical eyes & ears of a smart producer; and releases done right, where all the elements form a scrapbook, a snapshot, a retrospective, a documentation and tribute to a great film, a cult classic, and a beloved piece of celluloid or VHS–shot fromage.

MRH: How did your association with home video begin, in terms of doing liner notes and commentaries? It’s an unusual career path.


JK: It is. As with many, many things in my life, I kind of drifted into it. I’ve loved movies forever and I’ve also been a writer forever—I’ve just never done anything else. In fact, one of the very first jobs that I had when I graduated from college was writing as a freelancer for the original 1979 Alain Silver–Elizabeth Ward film noir book. I wrote many entries in there, so I was thinking about movies from a critical perspective very early on. Then I kind of drifted away from that and actually worked as a publicist at Universal at one point, and then I started writing television and did that for 10-plus years.

Later I lived in Vermont and was a magazine editor and journalist, and then came back to California. I was working for a while for what was then AMC (American Movie Classics) Magazine, sometimes doing think pieces or straight journalism about a costume design exhibit in Los Angeles or interviews with people like Theodora Van Runkel.

I actually met Nick Redman because of film music. He hired me to write some liner notes and we really liked working together. I worked with him on a wonderful documentary that he made about John Ford called Becoming John Ford (2007) while I was writing a lot about movie music for a number of different labels.

I did a few commentaries - again, because Nick is quite the entrepreneur, he would set these things up and would ask me to do them - and when he and Brian Jamieson started Twilight Time, they sort of brought me on to be their historian / essay writer for the booklets. The two constants for me have been writing, and just a love of movies.


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