The film could have well been called Kicking and Screeming but that only describes me in the process of making it, questioning its taste. Once the message kicked in it overrode all objection. The piece demanded J.G.Thirlwell’s music, normally way too overtly expressive for me as most of my stuff comes out of painting and is also to be absorbed in silence. Who will even notice visual innovation now, or what’s happening with time? Determining a place between two and three dimensions, pushing time to take on substance, is what I do. Seeking the Monkey King is a reversion to my mid-twenties and that sense of horror that drove the making of Star Spangled to Death. —Ken Jacobs
Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Ken Jacobs, was born in Brooklyn, NY, in 1933. He studied painting with one of the prime creators of Abstract Expressionism, Hans Hofmann, in the mid-fifties. It was then that he also began filmmaking (Star Spangled To Death). His personal star rose, to just about knee high, with the sixties advent of Underground Film. In 1967, with the involvement of his wife Florence and many others aspiring to a democratic rather than demagogic cinema, he created The Millennium Film Workshop in New York City. A nonprofit filmmaker’s co-operative open to all, it made available film equipment, workspace, screenings and classes at little or no cost. Later he found himself teaching large classes of painfully docile students at St. John’s University in Jamaica, Queens.
In 1969, after a week’s guest seminar at Harpur College (now, Binghamton University), students petitioned the Administration to hire Ken Jacobs. Despite his lack of a high school diploma, the Administration… read more
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The program includes work by Ken Jacobs, Travis Wilkerson, Nicolas Provost, Don Hertzfeldt, Lucy Walker, the Safdies and more.
Jacobs’ masterpiece is re-appearing at a retrospective on the filmmaker in NYC.