In Discussion: Jonas Mekas

This interview is from April 18th, 2017 which was originally published on Our Culture.

Jonas Mekas is considered one of the most important filmmakers in the alternate cinema world. Lithuanian born filmmaker, poet and artist is often regarded as the “Godfather of American avant-garde cinema“. If one was to define pure cinema, one of the first names that would come up would be Jonas Mekas.

Furthermore, he has made films such as Walden (1969), As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty (2000), Lost, Lost, Lost (1976) and many more. Mostly, he is known for documenting his own life in his films but equally known for introducing Andy Warhol into cinema and documenting his life from around 1963 to 1990 in the film Scenes from the Life of Andy Warhol: Friendships and Intersections (1990). This is our interview with Jonas.

Hi, How are you Jonas?
I am doing very well. No complaints.

So, when did you realise you wanted to be a filmmaker?
I never wanted to be a film-maker. But at some point I discovered that I was making films! It was a surprising discovery.

Who or What influences your work?
Absolutely everything under the sun — and beyond – influences me and my work.

If you could give any advice to a person that wants to be filmmaker what would it be?
Get a camera!

Do you have a favourite piece of work you have made?
No. I like several pieces. No one favorite.

How do you decide what to make next?
I make no decisions. I never know what I’ll film/tape/record next. I like to be surprised. Things keep coming at me.

Do you have a favourite film or filmmaker?
Hundreds. From different countries, periods, styles, formats, genres etc.

How do you feel the world has changed since you began as a filmmaker?
The world changes drastically almost every day.

Describe yourself in one word.
A soul.

How would you define culture?
Culture is the soul content of humanity.

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