Biography

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.

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.

Personal Info

Known For Directing

Gender Male

Known Credits 137

Birthday 1922-12-24

Day of Death 2019-01-23

Place of Birth Semeniškiai, Lithuania

Official Site http://jonasmekas.com

Also Known As

  • -

Directing TV ShowsMovies

2017 From the Notebooks of a Cinema Maniac Director
2017 I Don't Know Which Tree It Comes From that Fragrance Director
2015 Scenes from the Life of Raimund Abraham Director
2012 Out-Takes from the Life of a Happy Man Director
2012 Reminiscences from Germany Director
2011 Sleepless Nights Stories Director
2011 3.11 A Sense of Home Director
2011 Cinematic Correspondences: Jonas Mekas - J.L. Guerin Director
2010 42 One Dream Rush Director
2010 A Daydream Director
2010 WTC Haikus Director
2009 Lithuania and the Collapse of the USSR Director
2009 I Leave Chelsea Hotel Director
2008 Notes on an American Film Director at Work: Martin Scorsese Director
2007 365 Day Project Director
2007 Day Nine Director
2006 The Destruction Quartet Director
2004 A Letter from Greenpoint Director
2003 Williamsburg, Brooklyn Director
2001 Elvis Director
2001 Ein Märchen aus alten Zeiten Director
2001 A Letter to Penny Arcade Director
2000 As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty Director
2000 Requiem for a Manual Typewriter Director
1999 This Side of Paradise Director
1999 The Sixties Quartet Director
1999 Letter to John from Jonas Director
1999 Laboratorium Anthology Director
1998 Song of Avignon Director
1997 Happy Birthday to John Director
1997 Scenes from Allen's last three days on Earth as a spirit Director
1997 Birth of a Nation Director
1996 Cinema is Not 100 Years Old Director
1995 Imperfect Three-Image Films Director
1993 Peter Kubelka at the Library of Congress Director
1992 Zefiro Torna or Scenes from the Life of George Maciunas (Fluxus) Director
1991 Carl G. Jung by Jerome Hill or Lapis Philosophorum Director
1991 Quartet Number One Director
1990 Three Friends Director
1990 Scenes from the Life of Andy Warhol: Friendships and Intersections Director
1990 Mob of Angels: Baptism Director
1990 A Walk Director
1986 He Stands in a Desert Counting the Seconds of His Life Director
1983 Street Songs Director
1983 Cup/Saucer/Two Dancers/Radio Director
1983 Erick Hawkins: Excerpts from "Here and Now with Watchers" Director
1981 Travel Songs Director
1981 The Song of Stockholm Director
1980 Robert Haller's Wedding Director
1980 Self-Portrait Director
1979 Paradise Not Yet Lost, or Oona's Third Year Director
1978 Notes for Jerome Director
1978 In Between Director
1976 Lost, Lost, Lost Director
1972 Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania Director
1971 A Visit to Timothy Leary Director
1971 Marcel Hanoun wedding Director
1971 The Song of Moscow Director
1970 Dedication to Matsuo Basho Director
1969 Diaries, Notes, and Sketches Director
1969 John & Yoko Bed-In Director
1968 Time & Fortune Vietnam Newsreel Director
1967 The Song of Avila Director
1967 For Life, Against the War Director
1967 The Song of Assisi Director
1967 The Song of Italy Director
1967 The Italian Notebook Director
1966 Notes on the Circus Director
1966 Cassis Director
1966 Report from Millbrook Director
1966 Hare Krishna Director
1966 A Visit to Stan Brakhage Director
1966 The Velvet Underground Director
1965 To Barbara Rubin with Love Director
1964 The Brig Director
1964 Award Presentation to Andy Warhol Director
1964 Salvador Dali at Work Director
1963 Hallelujah the Hills Assistant Director
1963 Film Magazine of the Arts Director
1961 Guns of the Trees Director

Acting

2019 Self Discovery for Social Survival as Narrator (voice)
2019 Gena Rowlands: A Life on Film as Himself
2019 Makeshift (for Mekas)
2019 Keep singing: a tribute to Jonas Mekas
2018 Barbara Rubin and the Exploding NY Underground
2018 George: The Story of George Maciunas and Fluxus as Himself
2018 Nitsch
2017 I Don't Know Which Tree It Comes From that Fragrance as Himself
2016 I Had Nowhere to Go as Himself
2015 A Day in the Life of Andy Warhol as Himself
2014 River of Fundament as Wake Guest
2013 My Conversations on Film as Himself
2013 What is Cinema? as Himself
2012 Out-Takes from the Life of a Happy Man as Jonas Mekas
2012 Free Radicals: A History of Experimental Film as Himself
2012 Maya Deren, Take Zero as Himself
2012 Reminiscences from Germany as Himself
2010 Portrait Serie - Jonas Mekas as himself
2010 New York Conversations
2010 Visionaries as Himself
2009 Jonas Mekas in Kodachrome Days as Himself
2009 It Came from Kuchar
2008 Question a Day
2007 Day Nine as Himself
2007 Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis as Himself
2006 Anger Me as Himself
2006 Notes on Marie Menken as Himself
2006 Who Gets to Call It Art? as Himself
2006 Meet The Kuchar Brothers
2005 The Definition of Insanity
2005 Excavating Taylor Mead as Himself
2004 A Letter from Greenpoint as Mekas
2002 In the Mirror of Maya Deren as Himself
2001 A Letter to Penny Arcade
2000 As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty as Himself / Narrator
2000 Requiem for a Manual Typewriter as Himself
1999 Letter to John from Jonas
1999 Laboratorium Anthology as Himself
1997 Scenes from Allen's last three days on Earth as a spirit as Himself
1997 A Poet from the Lower East Side as Himself
1996 Cinema is Not 100 Years Old as Himself
1995 Nico Icon as Himself
1994 Jonas in the Desert as Himself
1992 Zefiro Torna or Scenes from the Life of George Maciunas (Fluxus)
1992 Award as Himself
1991 Just Visiting This Planet
1990 Step Across the Border as Butterfly Wing
1990 Superstar: The Life and Times of Andy Warhol as Himself
1990 Scenes from the Life of Andy Warhol: Friendships and Intersections as Himself
1989 Belladonna
1989 Warhol's Cinema 1963-1968: Mirror for the Sixties as Himself
1986 Invocation: Maya Deren
1986 He Stands in a Desert Counting the Seconds of His Life as Himself
1980 No. 18: Mahagonny
1980 Self-Portrait as Himself
1979 ORG
1976 Lost, Lost, Lost as Himself
1974 ‘Rameau’s Nephew’ by Diderot (Thanx to Dennis Young) by Wilma Schoen
1972 Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania as Himself
1972 Going Home as Himself
1971 Journey to Lithuania as Himself
1970 A Matter of Baobab
1969 Diaries, Notes, and Sketches as Himself
1969 Filmmakers as Himself
1968 Underground New York as Himself
1968 Jonas as Himself
1967 The Song of Avila as Narrator
1966 Galaxie as Himself
1966 The Love Merchant as Lounge Patron
1966 Poem Posters as Himself
1965 Andy Warhol Screen Tests as Himself
1965 Dirt
1964 Award Presentation to Andy Warhol as Himself
1964 Salvador Dali at Work as Himself
1964 Jonas in the Brig as Jonas Mekas
1963 The Queen of Sheba Meets the Atom Man
1962 Diane the Zebra Woman

Editing

2010 WTC Haikus Editor
2000 As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty Editor
1997 Scenes from Allen's last three days on Earth as a spirit Editor
1997 Birth of a Nation Editor
1991 Carl G. Jung by Jerome Hill or Lapis Philosophorum Editor
1990 Scenes from the Life of Andy Warhol: Friendships and Intersections Editor
1986 He Stands in a Desert Counting the Seconds of His Life Editor
1976 Lost, Lost, Lost Editor
1972 Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania Editor
1969 Diaries, Notes, and Sketches Editor
1966 Notes on the Circus Editor
1964 Award Presentation to Andy Warhol Editor
1963 Film Magazine of the Arts Editor
1961 Guns of the Trees Editor

Crew

2004 A Letter from Greenpoint Creator
2000 As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty Cinematography
1997 Scenes from Allen's last three days on Earth as a spirit Cinematography
1997 Birth of a Nation Cinematography
1990 Scenes from the Life of Andy Warhol: Friendships and Intersections Cinematography
1986 He Stands in a Desert Counting the Seconds of His Life Cinematography
1976 Lost, Lost, Lost Cinematography
1972 Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania Cinematography
1969 Diaries, Notes, and Sketches Cinematography
1966 Notes on the Circus Cinematography
1964 The Brig Cinematography
1963 Film Magazine of the Arts Cinematography
1961 Guns of the Trees Cinematography

Writing

2008 Notes on an American Film Director at Work: Martin Scorsese Writer
2004 A Letter from Greenpoint Writer
2000 As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty Writer
1999 This Side of Paradise Writer
1998 Song of Avignon Writer
1997 Birth of a Nation Writer
1986 He Stands in a Desert Counting the Seconds of His Life Writer
1976 Lost, Lost, Lost Writer
1972 Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania Writer
1969 Diaries, Notes, and Sketches Writer
1964 Salvador Dali at Work Writer
1961 Guns of the Trees Writer

Camera

2010 WTC Haikus Director of Photography
1990 A Walk Camera Operator
1966 The Velvet Underground: Psychiatrist's Convention, NYC, 1966 Camera Operator
1964 Empire Director of Photography
1964 Award Presentation to Andy Warhol Director of Photography

Production

2010 WTC Haikus Producer

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