Underground Film Journal

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Happy 95th Birthday, Jonas Mekas!

By Mike Everleth ⋅ December 24, 2017

Happy Birthday to Jonas Mekas! Who turns 95 today!

From humble beginnings in a small Lithuanian town, to escaping the Nazis, to arriving in New York City in 1948 to become a champion of the cinema! At first hesitant about the then burgeoning American avant-garde, Mekas would become it’s biggest supporter: Publishing Film Culture magazine, drafting the First Statement of the New American Cinema Group, founding the Film-makers’ Cooperative, founding the Anthology Film Archives, etc. etc. etc. (All with help, of course.) He has also made several avant-garde classics, such as The Brig. His Movie Journal collection of columns for the Village Voice was recently released in a new edition and is an amazing, inspirational work. (We refer to it constantly.)

And he’s still going strong! Traveling the world to promote the avant-garde and recently appearing in the excellent documentary EXPRMNTL, which chronicles the famous European film festival of the same name that Mekas had a tempestuous relationship with.

A happiest of birthdays to you Jonas, and may we all aspire to what you have accomplished: Making this world a better place than you found it!

(In the photo below, that’s Jonas in the bottom right corner.)

Childhood photo of Jonas Mekas

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