Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Jonas Mekas’s Guide to Becoming an Avant-Garde Filmmaker

Earlier this week Artspace published an excerpt by Jonas Mekas from Phaidon’s Akademie X - a collection of lessons, stories, and practical advice from a range of international artists including Marina Abramovic, Dara Birnbaum, Mark Dion, Olafur Eliasson, Harrell Fletcher, Dan Graham, Joan Jonas, Miranda July, Chris Kraus, Dinh Q Le, Michael Smith, James Welling, Richard Wentworth, Christopher Williams and Krzysztof Wodiczko.

In the chapter (which cites films by Michael Snow, Harmony Korine, Andy Warhol, Chris Marker, Peter Greenaway and many others), the 93-year-old Lithuanian filmmaker (and founder of Film Culture magazine, and co-founder of the Anthology Film Archives, etc.) lays out 13 simple steps to jumpstarting your career as a modern-day experimental filmmaker.

It begins:

"Today there are at least half-a-billion tools and gadgets for making motion pictures: film cameras, video cameras, computers, mobile phones, even Google glasses. Which means that practically anybody can make movies; just as anybody can write, dance, or sing.
While most singing, dancing, writing and, now, moving picture-taking/sending is just a part of normal “social activity,” there are always some of us who want, or are inexplicably driven, to go a step further and pursue the tradition established by the so-called Seven Arts, to which the art of motion pictures has now been added.

If you’ve been bitten by the bug of cinema, I’d like to share with you the following thoughts that may be of some use upon embarking on that perilous journey that is your life."

Read the full article at Artspace, here. More information about  Akademie X can be found at Phaidon's site,  here.

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