Resume

Here’s what I cough up when asked for a resume, vita, or whatever.  I never keep papers of this kind, nor do I catalog what I do, so I know I have forgotten many things – awards, workshops and screenings done, and all that.  I don’t regard these things as important at all, but it appears others do.

Born in Chicago on May 16, 1943, of a military family, Jon Jost grew up in Georgia, Kansas, Japan, Italy, Germany and Virginia. Expelled from college in 1962, he began making 16mm films in January, 1963. He is self-taught. He has made 38 feature length works in the period 1963-2014 (celluloid, 16 and 35mm until 1996; digital since that time), as well as more than 30 short works, all of which he has conceived, written (where applicable), photographed, directed and edited; most of these he also produced. Since 1996 he has worked only in Digital Video (DV and HD), completing 25 full-length works and many shorts in that period, as well as one large-scale 7 screen installation work, TRINITY, presented at the ZKM, Karlsruhe Germany, in this medium as of 2007.  In addition he has several never exhibited installation works.

After 10 years of making short works, Jost made his first feature-length film, Speaking Directly, in 1973, and has since devoted himself to the making of a wide-ranging series of films, largely focused on specifically American topics, in forms ranging from essays (Speaking Directly, Uncommon Senses, Stagefright, 6 Easy Pieces), documentaries (London Brief, Nas Correntes de Luz, Imagens de um cidade perdida, The Narcissus Flowers of Katsura-shima) and fictions.

His work has shown widely in museums, film archives, and festivals since 1975. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, first screened a program of his shorts in 1973, and later presented a complete retrospective of Jost’s work in January 1991. This show subsequently traveled to the J.F.Kennedy Center, Washington DC, the Harvard Film Archive, the UCLA Film Archive, The Film Arts Foundation of San Francisco, as well as to the Bergamo Film Meeting 1993, the Viennale festival 1993, the Bologna and Torino Film Archives in Italy (1995). His his films were accorded full retrospectives at the Cinemateca Portuguese (1996) and the Filmoteca Español (1997), and in 2006 the Buenos Aires Independent Festival accorded his work a partial retrospective. In 2010 the Kolkata Film Festival did a partial retrospective focus, showing 9 films; in 2011 the Jerusalem Cinematheque did an 11 film partial retrospective, which was repeated in Haifa and Tel Aviv. In 2012 the Athenee Francais, Tokyo (which functions as the Japanese Cinematheque) did a partial 11 film retrospective in February. In February 2014 the Cinemateca Portuguese in Lisbon did a 9 film partial retrospective of digital works made since 1996.

Jost was one of the founders of the American political film organization Newsreel, in 1967; a member of the Board of Directors of Canyon Cinema in 1970-1; and has initiated or participated in numerous filmmaker organizations.

His film Plain Talk and Common Sense was in the Whitney Biennial, 1988, and won the first prize at the Ann Arbor Film Festival in the same year.

Jost was honored by the IFP, with its first “John Cassavetes Award”, in 1991, along with Producer Ed Pressman; he was the first “Maverick” filmmaker of the San Jose Maverick Festival. His films have won various prizes, among them the Caligary Prize at the Berlin Festival, 1991, for All the Vermeers in New York and Sure Fire.    Critics have described him as the “father” and then “grandfather” of the American Independent filmmaker scene.

His film, Last Chants for a Slow Dance is listed in the book 1001 Films You Must See Before You Die.

Jost has received many grants, among them a Guggenheim Fellowship, several National Endowment for the Arts Production Grants, a DAAD Berlin Residency and others.

Jost has conducted workshops in media production throughout his career, in Europe, the USA, Australia and in Asia, These range from short one day and weekend workshops, to longer ones, including, under the wing of the US State Department Cultural Exchange, a one-month workshop in Raipur India, with tribal and lower caste only participants, and a month of workshops at 4 different media organizations in Kolkata. Other longer workshops include ones in Gallo d’Oro, Sicily (with Roberto Perpignani, editor for Taviani bros, etc., and teacher at Centro Sperimentale, Roma), Hanoi, Vietnam for the governmental filmmaking agency (2010); Boston University; Perth and Brisbane, Australia (2004). He has done other workshops at the Tokyo Film School, Waseda University, Tokyo, Singapore, RainDance in London, and too many others to remember or list in the USA and Europe.

Mr. Jost spent four years teaching in the Graduate Dept of Communications and Arts at Yonsei University, 2007- 2011. He retired as Distinguished Professor in July 2011, and resumed full time filmmaking, photography and painting.

 

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