Jonas Mekas 1922-2019

Audrius Stonys: Jonas left us. With the same lightness as he used to live. Silently and gently as if he didn’t want to disturb the image of life. We first met in 1990, when he invited us, 10 young filmmakers from Lithuania to his Film Anthology Archive in New York.

The first day he told us a fairy tale about a clear and beautiful image of Paradise. One day this image was destroyed by the devil. It broke in to zillion peaces that scattered all around the world. The filmmakers, he said, are the ones who are looking for those tiny pieces of Paradise trying to put the image back together. The Paradise is not lost, he said. And we believed him. And since then we are collecting those pieces of Paradise.

I always wondered how images of his films could be filled with incredible joy and at the same time deepest existential sadness, indescribable lightness and philosophical depth.

When I asked him that question, he said: I lost too much in my life. And added: Don’t take everything too seriously. He lost his homeland, his landscapes, faces of his loved ones, sound of Lithuanian songs, images of the first snow, that falls on his village. He didn’t want to lose nothing more in his life, not a single second, so he started to film every second of his life.

He never was making films. He was standing in the Desert counting the Seconds of his Life. When Jonas Mekas friend George Maciunas, founder and soul of Fluxus, was dying from cancer in 1978, he said: I am not afraid to die. When I die, I will have a possibility to listen to all seven lost operas of Monteverdi. I am sure, that now, when the count of seconds of life is over, Jonas is standing in front of the complete image of Paradise.

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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