Early Monthly Segments

#86 = 7/18/2016 = Jerome Hill’s Film Portrait

Film Portrait

Film Portrait

One of the often under discussed histories of art and film making is the history of patronage. Often a clandestine part of the discussion of artists and money—especially in locales with little public funding for the arts—its nevertheless an important part of the historical record. The history of the New American Cinema, especially in relationship to Anthology Film Archive, has never hidden this part of their history. In fact, one of their prime patrons was a filmmaker himself and an active participant in the scene—Jerome Hill. A dear friend of Jonas Mekas, Hill was integral in the founding of AFA and to the Jerome Foundation which has supported emerging artists in Minnesota (his state of birth) and New York (his place of residence) for the last 50 years.

In addition to his philanthropy, Hill was himself a noted filmmaker. After producing award winning documentary portraits of Grandma Moses and Albert Schweitzer in the 1950s, he became taken with the freeform film styles of the New American Cinema and started making more personal films, including work that saw him animating and painting on films. Film Portrait, the final film before his death in 1972, is an autobiographical film that utilizes compelling home movie footage, coupled with experimental flourishes like negative imagery and hand-painted frames. The memoir becomes both a Proustian glimpse at a well-appointed life during the early part of the 20th century (Hill being the grandson of a railroad baron) and the Jungian psychological challenges of being an outsider to that life—artistic, adventurous and queer.

“[Film Portrait] is about the liberation of an artist from the bonds of his family, his class, the fashionable art styles, and one thousand other bonds: a liberation through cinema…” – Jonas Mekas


Film Portrait, Jerome Hill, USA, 1972, 16mm, 82 min.

@ Gladstone Hotel, Ballroom | 1214 Queen Street West
Monday July 18, 2016 | 8:00 PM screening | $5-10 suggested donation

Special thanks to Carl Lee and the Department of Media Study, SUNY Buffalo, Ekrem Serdar and the Film-makers Coop.