Lithuanian Culture Institute
Jonas Mekas 100 news, News


Lithuanian Culture Institute

The centenary of the birth of Lithuanian avant-garde film artist Jonas Mekas (1922–2019) became one of the most important highlights of the Tampere International Short Film Festival in Finland on 9–13 March where it was commemorated with two short film programmes. One of Mekas’ films was screened at the opening of the festival. In this way, the Tampere Film Festival has joined many other festivals, exhibitions and symposia dedicated to Jonas Mekas in 2022 around the world.

Jonas Mekas attended the Tampere Film Festival in 2007. At the time, he was working on his project 365 Days, every day releasing a new film online, often filmed the day before on his travels around the world. Several films created between 16 and 21 March were made during his trip to Tampere. They are still available on his website.

“This year, only a small part of cinematographic works by Jonas Mekas was shown at the Tampere Film Festival, seeking to ignite the audience’s interest in this artist and his work. This two-part programme provided a chance for only a brief whirl through the many decades, for a look at the world through the lens of this artist. Nevertheless, it was absolutely gratifying to see the halls full to the brim of his fans, including well-known film professionals and avant-garde film experts,” shared Liana Ruokytė-Jonsson, the initiator of the Jonas Mekas film programme at the Tampere Film Festival.

“Whenever I saw Jonas Mekas, talked to him or witnessed how he interacted with the audience, I was always fascinated by his energy and, like many other people, enchanted by his charisma. I still remember how once he became annoyed during a discussion with a young filmmaker who claimed that the new technology was somehow less artistic than the 16mm film. Jonas could not understand young people living in the past, always encouraging them to take advantage of the new technology available to them and the opportunities that came with it. He was always looking ahead, always interested in what was new. An eternal avant-garde artist,” shared Jukka-Pekka Laakso, director of the Tampere Film Festival.

The 52nd Tampere International Short Film Festival is the largest of its kind in the Nordic and Baltic countries and one of the three largest short film festivals in Europe. Every year, it attracts about 30,000 viewers, presents about 400 films and hosts competition programmes. It should be mentioned that this year, the music category of the competition programme featured the film Techno, Mama by the Lithuanian director Saulius Baradinskas.

Jonas Mekas’ documentary shorts – a total of 14 films of various length – were shown within two programmes at the festival. The programme titled Jonas Mekas 1 featured the following films: Jonas Keeps Shooting Around – an Interview Portrait of Jonas Mekas (dir. Pip Chodorov), Cassis, Hare Krishna, Notes on the Circus, Quartet Number One, Imperfect 3-image Films, Song of Avignon, Cinema is not 100 years old, Ein Märchen aus alten Zeiten, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 365 Day Project March 16 (dir. Jonas Mekas). The second programme, Jonas Mekas 2, consisted of three films: Scenes from the Life of Andy Warhol, Zafiro Torna or Scenes from the Life of George Maciunas, and This Side of Paradise: Fragments of an Unfinished Biography (Warhol / Kennedy) (dir. Jonas Mekas).

The Jonas Mekas film project was initiated, coordinated and presented at the Tampere Film Festival by Liana Ruokytė-Jonsson, Cultural Attaché of the Republic of Lithuania in Sweden, Finland and Denmark. The film programme was curated by Jonas Mekas’ friend, art expert, and curator Pip Chodorov. The project was partially funded by the Lithuanian Culture Institute.

The international project Jonas Mekas 100! is dedicated to the centenary year of the birth of the avant-garde filmmaker, film critic and poet Jonas Mekas in 2022. The programme, comprising over 50 various events, has been prepared by the Lithuanian Culture Institute, the Lithuanian cultural attachés and the Estate of Jonas Mekas. Film screenings, exhibitions, video installations, concerts, poetry readings, discussion and thematic residency programmes, poetry translation workshops, publishing projects and other initiatives will take place in leading cultural institutions in many countries around the world. The programme is partially funded by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania. The Jonas Mekas 100! programme is available on the website


More information: Liana Ruokytė-Jonsson


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