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Jonas Mekas: Advice to the Young

Updated: Jul 5, 2022

Video from Louisiana Channel

"The godfather of American avant-garde cinema, filmmaker and poet Jonas Mekas (b.1922 - d.2019), whom we met in his Brooklyn-home, has a clear piece of advice for aspiring filmmakers: “Don’t go to film school. Get a camera.” If you have the necessary funds, film school is a nice place to meet like-minded people and make friends. Apart from that, it makes more sense to look into the specific things that you take special interest in – such as lenses – rather than to simply study everything: “Why do you need everything? Maybe you’ll never need it for what you want to do.” Jonas Mekas (b.1922 in Lithuania - d.2019) is an experimental filmmaker and poet. He has filmed artists such as Andy Warhol and Allen Ginsberg, and his movies include ‘The Brig’ (1963) – which won him the Grand Prize at the Venice Film Festival the same year –, ‘Walden’ (1969), ‘Lost Lost Lost’ (1975), ‘Scenes from the Life of Andy Warhol’ (1990), ‘As I was Moving Ahead I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty’ (2000) and ‘Sleepless Night Stories’ (2011). Since 2000, he has expanded his work into the area of film installations, exhibiting at prominent venues such as the Serpentine Gallery, the Centre Pompidou, Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, Moderna Museet, PS1 Contemporary Art Center MoMA and the Venice Biennale. Mekas is also responsible for the legendary Movie Journal (from 1958) in the Village Voice, and in 1964 he founded the Filmmakers’ Cinematheque, which eventually grew into Anthology Film Archives, one of the world’s largest and most important repositories of avant-garde cinema and screening venue. Moreover, he is one of the co-founders of New American Cinema Group. Mekas currently lives and works in New York City. For more about him see: Jonas Mekas was interviewed by Kasper Bech Dyg in his home in Brooklyn, New York in November 2014. Camera: Pierce Jackson Produced and edited by: Kasper Bech Dyg Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2015 Supported by Nordea-fonden" from video introduction.

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