Monday, August 28, 2006

A Year Full of Jonas Mekas

Mark September 15 on your calendar. That's the day when experimental filmmaker Jonas Mekas begins releasing a three- to five-minute video a day for a year for Apple's video iPod. That's right: 365 short films, made by the 83-year-old Mekas. Those are two pretty impressive numbers. Mekas will also be curating downloadable classic and new shorts (reportedly the directors on board include Scorsese, Waters and Jarmusch). New York Magazine has a brief run-down here of the Apple project and other things the tireless Mekas has been up to lately. In a Q&A from a few years back, Mekas made a few choice observations:

On independent filmmakers: "They are just more or less in the kitchen of Hollywood. They are Hollywood. If they are different in any way it's only that their budgets will not allow them to be as slick as Hollywood. In their themes and subject they don't differ that much. Of course they differ, but not essentially."

On his editing process: "When I begin to work in the editing room, my method is elimination. I begin to eliminate until what's left is just what I want it to be. Then I begin to change the order, or trim something here and there. Some people have said that I'm careless, random, anything goes. The truth is that what stays in – every frame – is approved by me. The seeming randomness of my filmmaking is actually very deceiving. Because what I film is very precisely determined, chosen by my memory and intuition. And in the editing room it all goes through the Procrustean bed of my editing method. In short: I control absolutely every frame of my film."

Read the entire interview here, and sign up for updates at Mekas' web site.

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