Killer of Sheep: Burnett’s Masterpiece Rereleased by Milestone Film

Feb 20, 2007–Charles Burnett’s masterpiece KILLER OF SHEEP played at a handful of colleges around the United States and in some small European festivals before receiving the Critics’ Award at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1981. In 1990, the Library of Congress declared it a national treasure and placed it among the first 50 films entered in the National Film Registry for its historical significance. In 2002, the National Society of Film Critics also selected the film as one of the 100 Essential Films of all time.

Directed by Charles Burnett, KILLER OF SHEEP examines the black Los Angeles ghetto of Watts in the mid-1970s through the eyes of Stan, a sensitive dreamer who is growing detached and numb from the psychic toll of working at a slaughterhouse. Frustrated by money problems, he finds respite in moments of simple beauty: the warmth of a teacup against his cheek, slow dancing with his wife to the radio, holding his daughter. The film offers no solutions; it merely presents life – sometimes hauntingly bleak, sometimes filled with transcendent joy and gentle humor.

Despite its critical success, KILLER OF SHEEP never saw theatrical distribution due to complications with the music rights and was seen only in rare museum and festival showings on poor quality 16mm prints. Now, Milestone Films and Steven Soderbergh present Charles Burnett’s legendary debut feature film, Killer of Sheep, brilliantly restored and enlarged to 35mm by UCLA Film & Television Archive and brought to the screen on the thirtieth anniversary of its original showing for its premiere theatrical release.

Milestone Film will release KILLER OF SHEEP in New York City on March 30th, 2007 at the IFC CENTER and in Los Angeles at the NUART Theatre on April 6.