Jonas Mekas with Jeanne Moreau

Compiled by Anthology Film Archives and Pip Chodorov

Jonas Mekas: filmmaker, videomaker, film critic, poet, lecturer, curator. Born into a farming family in Lithuania on December 24, 1922. Imprisoned in a forced labour camp in Nazi Germany from 1944-45. Studied philosophy at the University of Mainz from 1946-48. Relocated to the United States on October 29, 1949. Worked in factories in Brooklyn, New York from 1949 to 1950.

In 1954, Mekas became editor-in-chief of Film Culture magazine. He was the movie critic for the Village Voice newspaper in New York from 1958-75, and the movie critic for Soho Weekly News newspaper, also in New York, from 1976-77. He was President of New American Cinema Group (Filmmakers Cooperative) from 1961-80, film curator of the Jewish Museum from 1968-71. He taught film at higher education centers including Cooper Union, international Center for Photography, M.I.T., New School for Social Research, New York University. He lectured on film throughout the US, Europe, Asian and South America. He has been Program Director and President of Anthology Film Archives since 1970. He has befriended Kenneth Anger, Stan Brakhage, John Cassavetes, Salvador Dali, Miles Davis, Robert Frank, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Henri Langlois, John Lennon, Norman Mailer, Nico, Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik, Lou Reed, Andy Warhol. He married Holis Melton in 1974 – parents of daughter (Oona) and son (Sebastian).

Jonas Mekas films

1962        Guns of the Tree 75′

1963        Film Magazine of the Arts 20′

1964        The Brig 68′

1964        Award Presentation To Andy Warhol 12′

1965-66  Report from Millbrook 12′

1966        Cassis 4′

1966        Hare Krishna 4′

1966        Notes On the Circus 12′

1967        The Italian Notebook 15′

1968        Time & Fortune Vietnam Newsreel 4′

1969        Walden 180′

1971-2    Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania 82′

1949-63/1976        Lost, Lost, Lost 180′

1966-78   Notes for Jerome 45′

1964-68/1978        In Between 52′

1979        Paradise Not Yet Lost (aka Oona’s Third Year) 97′

1965/1983        Cup/Saucer/Two Dancers/Radio 23′

1966/1983        Street Songs 11′

1983        Erick Hawkins: Excerpts From Here and Now With… Lucia Dlugoszewski Performs 6′

1969-85   He Stands In a Desert Counting the Seconds of His Life 160′

1965-1982/1991        Scenes from the Life of Andy Warhol: Friendships and Intersections 36′

1992        The Education of Sebastian or Egypt Regained (video)

1992        Zefiro Torna or Scenes from the Life of George Maciunas 35′

1993        Mob of Angels (video)

1995        3 Imperfect Three Image Films 6′

1995        Quartet #1 5′

1995        Happy Birthday to John 18′

1996        Cinema Is Not 100 Years Old (video) 5′

1996        Memories of Frankenstein

1997        Birth of a Nation 80′

1997        Letters to Friends #1 (video) 88′

1997        Scenes from Allen’s Last Three Days on Earth as a Spirit (video) 67′

1997        Symphony of Joy (video)

1999        This Side of Paradise: Fragments of an Unfinished Biography 25′

2000        As I was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty 320′

2000        Song of Avignon 8′

2000        Autobiography of a Man Whose Memory Was In his Eyes