Anthology Film Archives


November 17 – November 23

Filmmaker in person for selected screenings!

The career of Jill Godmilow is one of restless investigation, constant shape-shifting, and tireless engagement, both cultural and political. Godmilow has produced a dizzyingly varied body of moving-image works, encompassing beautifully crafted documentary portraits, invaluable recordings of theater pieces, a fictional feature based on the lives of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, conceptually rich “remakes” of agit-prop classics (WHAT FAROCKI TAUGHT and SCUM MANIFESTO), an animated film about the domestication of sheep, and a pioneering documentary-fiction hybrid (FAR FROM POLAND).

Godmilow is equally adept at constructing sensitive and perceptive portraits of artists at work – from sculptors and musicians to writers and theater artists – and at deconstructing the artistic process, including her own. If there’s a single thread uniting her various films – aside from her uncompromising political commitment – it’s her persistent focus on the creative process: several of her films explicitly depict artists at work (ANTONIA: A PORTRAIT OF THE WOMAN; NEVELSON IN PROCESS; THE ODYSSEY TAPES), while others foreground the process or roots of their own creation (FAR FROM POLAND; WHAT FAROCKI TAUGHT; SCUM MANIFESTO).

Godmilow has long been at the heart of the film cultural community in New York and beyond, thanks to her work as a filmmaker and artistic collaborator; her parallel career as a teacher, scholar, and writer; and her founding in 1985 of the non-profit organization Laboratory for Icon & Idiom, which was initially formed to produce her films, but has more recently evolved into IndieCollect, which is dedicated to the rescue, restoration and reactivation of independent cinema, with an emphasis on films by women, people of color and makers who identify as LGBTQ+.

Although several of her films remain in circulation and are screened regularly, this retrospective represents the first comprehensive survey of her films and videos to take place in many years, and provides an invaluable opportunity to appreciate the full breadth and depth of her moving-image work.

Special thanks to Jill Godmilow; Johanna Bauman (Pratt Institute); Jennifer Bertani (WNET); Judy Collins; Cassandra Gerstein; Andre Gregory; Edda Manriquez (Academy Film Archive); Colleen O’Shea (Women Make Movies); Ethel Raim (Center for Traditional Music & Dance); Elena Rossi-Snook (New York Public Library for the Performing Arts); Sandra Schulberg and the IndieCollect team; and Amanda Smith (Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research).

Godmilow’s new book, “Kill the Documentary”, is forthcoming from Columbia University Press. An urgent call for a new kind of nonfiction filmmaking, “Kill the Documentary” advocates for a “postrealist” cinema, for documentary films that are experimental, interventionist, performative, and transformative. The book will be published in February 2022; for more info, click here.

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