Image of Jonas Mekas

Jonas Mekas

Jonas Mekas was born in 1922 in the farming village of Semeniškiai, Lithuania. In 1944, he and his brother Adolfas were taken by the Nazis to a forced labor camp in Elmshorn, Germany. After the War he studied philosophy at the University of Mainz. At the end of 1949 the UN Refugee Organization brought both brothers to New York City, where they settled down in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Two months after his arrival in New York he borrowed money to buy his first Bolex camera and began to record brief moments of his life. He soon got deeply involved in the American Avant-Garde film movement. In 1954, together with his brother, he started Film Culture magazine, which soon became the most important film publication in the US. In 1958 he began his legendary Movie Journal column in the Village Voice. In 1962 he founded the Film-Makers' Cooperative, and in 1964 the Film-Makers' Cinematheque, which eventually grew into Anthology Film Archives, one of the world's largest and most important repositories of avant-garde cinema, and a screening venue. During all this time he continued writing poetry and making films. To this date he has published more than 20 books of prose and poetry, which have been translated into over a dozen languages. His Lithuanian poetry is now part of Lithuanian classic literature and his films can be found in leading museums around the world. He is largely credited for developing the diaristic forms of cinema. Mekas has also been active as an academic, teaching at the New School for Social Research, the International Center for Photography, Cooper Union, New York University, and MIT. Mekas' film The Brig was awarded the Grand Prize at the Venice Film Festival in 1963. Other films include Walden (1969), Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania (1972), Lost Lost Lost (1975), Scenes from the Life of Andy Warhol (1990), Scenes from the Life of George Maciunas (1992), As I was Moving Ahead I saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty (2000), Letter from Greenpoint (2005), Sleepless Nights Stories (2011) and Out-takes from the Life of a Happy Man. In 2007, he completed a series of 365 short films released on the internet -- one film every day -- and since then has continued to share new work on his website. Since 2000, Mekas has expanded his work into the area of film installations, exhibiting at the Serpentine Gallery, the Centre Pompidou, Musée d'Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Moderna Museet (Stockholm), PS1 Contemporary Art Center MoMA, Documenta of Kassel, the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, and the Venice Biennale.

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Dec 24, 1922 In Semeniškiai, Lithuania
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
Movie Tapes 2020-09-14
Latest Project:
In the movie Diane the Zebra Woman 1962-01-01
Known For
Movie Tapes
Movie Tiny Tim: King for a Day Himself
Movie Self Discovery for Social Survival Narrator (voice)
Movie Gena Rowlands: A Life on Film Himself
Movie Beyond the Bolex
Movie Barbara Rubin and the Exploding NY Underground
Movie George: The Story of George Maciunas and Fluxus Himself
Movie A Day in the Life of Andy Warhol Himself
Movie River of Fundament Wake Guest
Movie My Conversations on Film Himself
Movie What is Cinema? Himself
Movie Maya Deren, Take Zero Himself
Movie 3.11 A Sense of Home Himself (voice) (segment "Mt. Ventoux")
Movie Free Radicals: A History of Experimental Film Himself
Movie Re: Maciunas and Fluxus
Movie New York Conversations
Movie It Came from Kuchar Himself (archive footage)
Movie Notes on an American Film Director at Work Himself - Filmmaker (voice)
Movie Andy Warhol's Factory People... Inside the Sixties Silver Factory
Movie Day Nine Himself
Movie Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis Himself
Movie Salvador Dalí at Work Himself
Movie Anger Me Himself
Movie Notes on Marie Menken Himself
Movie Who Gets to Call It Art? Himself
Movie Meet The Kuchar Brothers
Movie The Definition of Insanity
Movie Excavating Taylor Mead Himself
Movie A Letter from Greenpoint Mekas
Movie In the Mirror of Maya Deren Himself
Movie As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty Himself / Narrator
Movie Song of Avignon
Movie Scenes from Allen's Last Three Days on Earth as a Spirit Himself
Movie Nico Icon Himself
Movie Jonas in the Desert Himself
Movie Award Himself
Movie Just Visiting This Planet
Movie Step Across the Border Butterfly Wing
Movie Superstar: The Life and Times of Andy Warhol Himself
Movie Scenes from the Life of Andy Warhol: Friendships and Intersections Himself
Movie Belladonna
Movie Warhol's Cinema 1963-1968: Mirror for the Sixties Himself
Movie Invocation: Maya Deren Himself
Movie He Stands in a Desert Counting the Seconds of His Life Himself
Movie The Queen of Sheba Meets the Atom Man
Movie No. 18: Mahagonny
Movie ORG
Movie Paradise Not Yet Lost (aka Oona's Third Year) Himself
Movie Cinématon N°1590
Movie Lost, Lost, Lost Himself
Movie ‘Rameau’s Nephew’ by Diderot (Thanx to Dennis Young) by Wilma Schoen
Movie Imagine Himself
Movie Going Home Himself
Movie Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania Himself
Movie Journey to Lithuania Himself
Movie A Matter of Baobab
Movie Diaries, Notes, and Sketches Self
Movie Filmmakers Himself
Movie Underground New York Himself
Movie Poem Posters Himself
Movie Galaxie Himself
Movie The Love Merchant Lounge Patron
Movie Andy Warhol Screen Tests Himself
Movie Dirt
Movie Award Presentation to Andy Warhol Himself
Movie Diane the Zebra Woman