Jacaranda Joe's 35mm negative

Steven Haines and Miriam Meislik inspect Jacaranda Joe's 35mm footage.

Last week, I joined Media Curator Miriam Meislik and Steven Haines, local archivist and proprieter of Flea Market Films, to inspect the nine reels of 35mm film recovered from Jacaranda Joe, George Romero's once-lost short film made in 1994. Several of the reels were visibly damaged, with warping and sticking making it dangerous to even unroll the film. 

However, the damage was almost entirely limited to positive prints. 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. Jacaranda Joe also includes a great deal of location footage shot on video, so the negatives do not include any of those images. (The only copy of the video footage that we have found is what is contained within the VHS workprint within the archive. It seems likely that those original tapes are lost.) 

This is all incredibly exciting! 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. 

- Adam Charles Hart