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Series "Advice to the Young": Jonas Mekas

The godfather of American avant-garde cinema, filmmaker and poet Jonas Mekas, whom we met in his Brooklyn-home, has a clear piece of advice for aspiring filmmakers: “Don’t go to film school. Get a camera.”

If you have the necessary funds, film school is a nice place to meet like-minded people and make friends. Apart from that, it makes more sense to look into the specific things that you take special interest in – such as lenses – rather than to simply study everything: “Why do you need everything? Maybe you’ll never need it for what you want to do.”

Jonas Mekas (b. 1922 in Lithuania) is an experimental filmmaker and poet. He has filmed artists such as Andy Warhol and Allen Ginsberg, and his movies include ‘The Brig’ (1963) – which won him the Grand Prize at the Venice Film Festival the same year –, ‘Walden’ (1969), ‘Lost Lost Lost’ (1975), ‘Scenes from the Life of Andy Warhol’ (1990), ‘As I was Moving Ahead I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty’ (2000) and ‘Sleepless Night Stories’ (2011).

Jonas Mekas was interviewed by Kasper Bech Dyg in his home in Brooklyn, New York in November 2014.

Produced by the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (Denmark), “Advice to the Young” is a series of video interviews to prominent artists, who have strong and diverse thoughts on what constitutes insightful advice to young artists.

Courtesy of Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

Jonas Mekas, Advice, Young