The Art the Anti-Doc or Post-Realist Nonfiction Film

A Seminar and Screening Series with filmmaker Jill Godmilow


The Integrated Media Arts MFA Program of the Department of Film and Media Studies at Hunter College is pleased to announce a special  seminar and screening series with noted filmmaker Jill Godmilow.  Godmilow, an Academy Award nominee for her first film, ANTONIA: A PORTRAIT OF THE WOMAN, (co-directed with folksinger Judy Collins in 1973) is considered one of the primary theoreticians/practitioners in the American non-fiction genre. In this week long series of seminars and screenings she will work with a selected group of graduate students from the IMA MFA Program.

Twelve students will join Jill for a rigorous discussion of a collection of films from around  the world that use a variety of strategies to produce useful experience –  while avoiding the satisfying tropes of classic documentary forms.

Evening Screenings

This series of evening screenings will accompany the seminar. Each evening a series of short films from makers as varied as Joseph Bueys and Newsreel, to Martha Rosler and Leslie Thornton, that offer a tour of anti-documentary possibilities.

Screening Event – On Thursday November 21st there will be a longer screening and discussion open to students and faculty from 7 – 9 PM. Jill will present several films that relate to the critical issues she is raising about the post-realist film.  This event will take place in Hunter North Room 436.

For more information contact: Martin Lucas:  mluc@hunter.cuny.edu



As a producer/director, Jill Godmilow has earned a substantial reputation during more than four decades of film and video making. Considered one of the primary theoreticians/practitioners in the American non-fiction genre, she has been interviewed in American Film, Afterimage, In These Times, The Independent, History and Theory, Text Performance Quarterly and featured in international festivals since 1973. Her 1971 TALES (made with Cassandra Gerstein and an all-female crew) is a “performed documentary” about how we tell stories about sexual experiences, which Jonas Mekas called the most interesting film in the Whitney Museum’s “New American Filmmakers Series” that year. Her ANTONIA: A PORTRAIT OF THE WOMAN, (co-directed with folksinger Judy Collins in 1973) was the first independently produced American documentary to enjoy extensive theatrical exhibition in the United States and broadcast in eleven foreign countries. Among other honors, it received an Academy Award nomination and the Independent New York Film Critics Award, “Best Documentary”.

Most of Godmilow’s productions are in the realm of non-fiction, including NEVELSON IN PROCESS, a portrait of the sculptress, Louise Nevelson, and THE ODYSSEY TAPES, about Richard Dyer-Bennett’s 24 hour performance of Homer’s “Odyssey”. With the Ethnic Art Center, she produced and directed THE POPOVICH BROTHERS OF SOUTH CHICAGO, the story of a family of Serbian-American musicians in South Chicago, and for the producers Chiquita and Andre Gregory, she directed THE VIGIL, a study of the para-theatrical work of the acclaimed Polish company “Teatr Laboratorium”, and AT NIENADOWKA WITH GROTOWSKI, on the work of Polish theater director, Jerzy Grotowski.

In 1984, her non-fiction feature, FAR FROM POLAND, about the contradictions of the Polish Solidarity movement, was heralded for breaking new ground in the documentary genre. Its radical deconstructive approach and juxtaposition of fact and fiction led directly to the genesis of her dramatic feature film, WAITING FOR THE MOON, a feminist/modernist “fiction” about the lives of the famous literary couple, Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein, (played by Academy Award winner, Linda Hunt, and British stage actress, Linda Bassett). WAITING FOR THE MOON was produced for PBS’s “American Playhouse” series and released theatrically by Skouras Pictures. It was honored at numerous national and international film festivals (First Prize at the Sundance Film Festival) and enjoyed broadcast and theatrical distribution in France, Germany, England, Australia, Sweden and Japan.

In 1995, she directed the feature-length ROY COHN/JACK SMITH – a film which re-interprets Ron Vawter’s famous theatre piece on the closeted and uncloseted lives-in-performance of two radically opposed and infamous queer men, both of whom died of AIDS in the late 1980’s. The film was featured at the Toronto, Berlin, Melbourne, Sydney, Montreal, Jerusalem, and Galway film festivals. In 1998 at the Rotterdam Film Festival she premiered WHAT FAROCKI TAUGHT – a short work which contains, in her own words, “a stubborn, perfect replica”, in color, in English, of Harun Farocki’s astute 1969 b/w German film, “Inextinguishable Fire” – about the production of Napalm B by Dow Chemical for Vietnam, about the abuses of human labor, and about documentary filmmaking. In the U.S., the film has screened at the Big Muddy, Ann Arbor, Athens, Carolina and Vancouver Film Festivals, and in Europe, at Rotterdam, Oberhausen, Locarno and at CONSTANT in Brussels.

In addition to her film work, Jill is a significant film educator. She is professor emeritus in the Film, Television & Theater Department at Notre Dame University where she taught until 2012.

Sponsored by: IMA Program