Mekas movies: Film legend premieres a doc at film fest this weekend

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Legendary filmmaker and Gotham flaneur Jonas Mekas is set to kick off the first-ever Greenpoint Film Festival with the premiere of a full-length documentary about boozing it up at the infamous Mars Bar in Manhattan.

The 88-year-old, Lithuanian-born and Brooklyn-based filmmaker nicknamed “the Godfather of avant-garde cinema,” will screen five of his films at the Greenpoint Film Festival — Oct. 27–30 at Broadway Stages in Greenpoint — including his brand new “My Mars Bar Movie,” an homage — and love letter — to the iconic Manhattan dive that recently closed.

Additionally, Mekas will screen “World Trade Center Haikus,” a collection of decades’ worth of footage of the twin towers before September 11; “Song of Avila,” a short film about Avila, Spain; and “Williamsbu­rg, Brooklyn,” a rumination on the first neighborhood Mekas called home after immigrating from Europe in 1949.

“I began my American life in Brooklyn, in Williamsburg, near Henry Miller’s house, then near where Betty Smith wrote ‘A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,’ ” said Mekas, who has amassed more than 2,000 hours of footage over the course of 35 years.

“There was a tree there, and I filmed that tree.”

Other highlights of the Greenpoint Film Festival weekend, organized by Greenpoint-based public art collective Woven Spaces, include screenings of short films, commercials and features by filmmaker David Lynch — think a midnight screening of “Eraserhead” — as well as a documentary about his life; an after-hours Halloween party and costume contest at nearby TBD bar; a Saturday brunch catered by neighborhood restaurants; and a Sunday morning children’s program.

Greenpoint Film Festival at Broadway Stages (222 West St. between Eagle and Freeman Streets in Greenpoint), Oct. 27-30, Tickets, $4 ($20 for a day pass). For info, visit

Updated 5:27 pm, July 9, 2018
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