In Memory & Thankfulness, Jonas Mekas (24.12.1922 – 23.01.2019)
A personal film about lithuanian refugee Jonas Mekas, who, in New York, became a great inspirer for independent film, poetry and people. Filmed between 2015 and 2020, mainly in Brooklyn, with son Sebastian, and many friends - like Jim Jarmusch, John Waters, Julian Schnabel - at auction for the Harry Smith-Heaven & Earth Library; …then visiting Hamburg(Golden Poodle), Berlin, Leipzig, Kassel(documenta), for film- and book-presentations. Some flashbacks, and footage from Jonas-films, about “home”, feeling lost, and memory, then again with extreme positive energy. And very alive memorial-events at St.Marks Church, AnthologyFilmArchives in East-Village, and in Birzai, the place of Jonas’ childhood, in the fields of Lithuania, with a silver cow. Jonas, who was called “Godfather Of American film-avantgarde”, often laughed: “I am a farmer boy.”
Music: Matthias Schuster, Das Institut, Peter Brötzmann, Saal 2, Bürgermeister Der Nacht, Auguste Varkalis, Now We Are Here Band, Jonas, Julius Ziz ...
Guests: Sebastian Mekas, Hollis Melton, Oona Mekas, Jim Jarmusch, John Waters, Julian Schnabel, John Leland, Michael Stipe, Andy Lampert, Vyt Bakaitis, Patti Smith, Allen Ginsberg, Phong Bui, Indra Drevinskaitè, Heike Geißler, Anne König, Mario, Holger Steen, and friends, horses, cows and happy birds…
Director Statement (Peter Sempel, 6/21)
Jonas Mekas, in honour and memory... he became 96... Such an energetic and wonderful music, film, art, and life-inspirer! ..We met end of the 80s in NY, and since then often also around half the world, with camera. ...He reads, at home in Brooklyn, f.ex. some parts of his book "I Had Nowhere To Go", saying how he envies the gypsies... This is over 30 years my 4.th film about Jonas, and still only glimpses into his fascinating life... Many great loving friends repeat his "Keep dancing, singing, have a good drink, and don´t get too serious!",...yes, i sveikata! ...I remember very well one of my last scenes when I filmed Jonas, as he was filming a big flock of singing birds and he cheered: "Look, the birds are happy!"
Vita (Peter Sempel): Born in Hamburg, grew up in Australian bush, no electricity, to school on horseback. As teenager back in Hamburg, Abitur, hobby: undergroundmusic +opera, started films 1981 because of music, and dance. Many shorts, and 14 long films, with Blixa Bargeld, Nick Cave, Nina Hagen, 2films Kazuo Ohno, 3films Jonas Mekas, Flamenco, Ginsberg, Patti, Lemmy (Motörhead), Meese+Artscene, Jazzer Peter Brötzmann, Dieter Meier/Yello, Bazon Brock, …, many independents and animals. Often presents his films (and fotos) personally, in all kinds of places, but best in cinemas!
A few Film-moments, text in progress: information for website, P.Sempel, 6/21:)
This is a longtime project about Jonas Mekas. 1994: Jonas in the Desert (104min, 16mm), 2002: Jonas At The Ocean (94min, 16mm), 2013: Jonas In The Jungle (98min, BluRay, Digibeta)
How it started: his film "He Stands In A Desert Counting The Seconds Of His Life" which i saw at the Int. Film Festival Torino 1985, and his presentation of my film DANDY at Anthology Film Archives in 1989. Then he was a special guest for one minute in the Kazuo Ohno film "Just Visiting This Planet", sitting on his refridgerator next to a big clock and then said: (which he doesn't remember) "hey, why don't you make a whole film about me?", like saying "give me the apple over there".. Over the years we had many meetings, drinks and films.
LONG LIVE ANTHOLOGY FILM ARCHIVES!!...mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org