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COMING TO TERMS with Filmmaker Jon Jost

January 25, 2018, 7:00 P.M.

The Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108, George Lucas Building Lobby, USC School of Cinematic Arts Complex, 900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007

Outside the Box [Office] invites you and a guest to attend a special screening of

Coming to Terms with Filmmaker Jon Jost

 Producer, Director, Cinematographer, Editor: Jon Jost
With: James Benning, Katherine Sannella, Stephen Taylor, Roxanne Rogers and Ryan Harper Gray

Followed by a Q&A with Jon Jost

Moderated by David James, Ph.D.,
SCA Professor of Cinema & Media Studies

7:00 P.M. on Thursday, January 25th, 2018
The Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108
900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007


FESTIVALS: Jeonju (S Korea) 2013, St Louis, USA; Rotterdam 2014, Rencontres Internationales, Paris/Berlin, BAFICI Buenos Aires, Las Palmas, (Canary Islands), First Look (Museum of Moving Image, NYC) 2015.

About Coming to Terms

Coming To Terms (Trailer) from Jon Jost on Vimeo.

Couched as a fictional story, Coming to Terms is a meditation on a death, and its psychological impact on a fractured and divided family. Its formal structure is far from normal narrative story-telling in the cinema.

A man (played by avant garde filmmaker James Benning), father of two sons by two wives, calls his fractured family to his disheveled home. He informs them of his state of health, and requests their help in committing suicide.

The film – rendered minimally as a “narrative”- reveals the impact on the family as they confront their father/husband. The means by which this evoked is visual and poetic, expressed tonally rather than as plot.

Jost has published a full diary of the making of the film and of its release in festivals, etc., at:

Provided courtesy of the filmmaker. Not rated. Running time: 89 minutes.


About Jon Jost

Born in Chicago on May 16, 1943, of a military family, Jon Jost grew up in Georgia, Kansas, Japan, Italy, Germany and Virginia. Expelled from college in 1962, he began making 16mm films in January, 1963. He is self-taught. He has made 34 feature length films on celluloid, 16 and 35mm, and digital media, all of which he has conceived, written, photographed, directed and edited; most of these he also produced. He has made more than 30 short works in addition to the long film, and as well as one large-scale 7 screen installation work, TRINITY, presented at the ZKM, Karlsruhe Germany, in this medium as of 2009.

After 10 years of making short works, Jost made his first feature-length film in 1974, and since devoted himself to the making of a wide-ranging series of films, largely focused on specifically American topics, in forms ranging from essays (Speaking Directly, Stagefright, Plain Talk & Common Sense), to fictions (Last Chants for a Slow Dance; Bell Diamond;The Bed You Sleep In) to documentaries (Nas Correntes De Luz da Ria Formosa, London Brief) and hybrids such as Angel City. In Digital Video his work shifted to include highly abstract works such as Passages, Trinity and Dissonance.

His work has shown widely in museums, film archives, and festivals since 1975. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, presented a complete retrospective of Jost's work in January 1991. This subsequently traveled to the J.F. Kennedy Center, Washington DC, the Harvard Film Archive, the UCLA Film Archive, The Film Arts Foundation of San Francisco, as well as to the Bergamo Film Meeting 1993, the Viennale festival 1993, the Bologna and Torino Film Archives in Italy (1995). Most recently his films were accorded full retrospectives at the Cinemateca Portuguese (1996) and the Filmoteca Español (1997), and in 2006 the Buenos Aires Independent Festival accorded his work a partial retrospective.

In November 2010 the Kolkata (India) Film Festival did a partial retrospective of 9 films in a festival "focus" on his work. In February 2011, the Jerusalem Cinematheque did an 11 film retrospective which was also done in Haifa and Tel Aviv. The Tokyo Athenee Francaise will do a 10 film partial retrospective in March 2012. In Oct. 2014 the Mary Riepma Ross Media Center did a full week partial retrospective to celebrate Mr. Jost's 50th year of filmmaking.

He has been regularly invited to major film festivals with new work, including Venice (2004), Rotterdam (2008), Berlin, Toronto, London, Edinburgh, Sydney, Yamagata, Jeonju, Singapore, and many others.

His films have been purchased for television broadcast and/or for cinema distribution in the US, UK, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Norway, Hungry, Russia, and Japan.

Prints of his films are held in the archives of The Museum of Modern Art, NY; the British Film Institute, the Freunde der deutschen Kinemathek, The Royal Film Archive of Belgium, the Filmoteca Español, the Bologna Archive, the National Film Library of Australia (Canberra), the Yamagata Festival of Japan, and the Istituto Luce, Rome.

His work is archived at EyeFilm, the Netherlands Film Archive in Amsterdam.

Jost has been recipient of numerous grants, including two Deutsche Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) Berlin Fellowships (1979; 1985); an NEA UK-US Exchange Fellowship (1980); two NEA Media Production Grants (1985; 1989); a Guggenheim Fellowship (1989); a NYSCA Production Grant (1989), a production fellowship at the ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany (2000-1) and other smaller grants. In 2006-2007 Jost was Artist in Residence at the Ross Media Arts Center at the University of Nebraska’s Hixon-Lied Center.

Jost's have won numerous awards, including the Caligari Film Prize at the Berlin Festival 1991 for All the Vermeers in New York and Sure Fire. Vermeers received the Los Angeles Critics award for Best Independent Film 1992.

In March 1991 Jost was honored, along with Producer Edward Pressman, with the IFP/West's first "John Casavettes Lifetime Achievement Award" for independent filmmaking.

In March, 2000, he received the "Maverick Spirit Award," at the San Jose-based independent "Maverick" festival.

Mr. Jost was invited by the DOCUMENTA X, 1997, arts exposition of Kassel Germany, to make a full-length work of his own choice with the support of Documenta and SONY, for presentation in June 1997; owing to the total failure of Documenta to provide the originally promised funding, Mr. Jost withdrew from participation just prior to June 1997.

Mr. Jost has sat on a number of film festival juries, including Jeonju (Korea), Sochi (Russia), Ex-is (Seoul), Florence Documentary (Italy) and some others he forgets.

Mr. Jost retired from his position as Distinguished Professor at Seoul's Yonsei University in August 2011. He has resumed his work as a full-time independent artist, now in the USA. Since retiring from Yonsei he has completed five new full length films, The Narcissus Flowers of Katsura-shima, a 76 minute documentary set in the tsunami ravaged north east coast of Japan; Coming to Terms, an 89 minute fiction set in Butte, Montana; Canyon, a 78 minute landscape work; Bowman Lake, a 144 minute landscape work; They Had It Coming, an 87 minute fiction shot in Stanberry Mo; and Blue Strait, a 76 minute tone poem with actors, shot in Port Angeles. WA.

He and his wife Marcella Di Palo are currently collaborating on a massive essay/documentary on the USA, entitled Plain Songs.

About David James, Ph.D.

David E. James is on the faculty of the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. He received his B.A. and M.A. degrees in English Literature from Cambridge University and an M.A. and Ph.D., also in English, from the University of Pennsylvania. He has held academic positions at the University of California, Occidental College, New York University, Korea University, Shanghai University of Science and Technology, the Beijing Film Academy, National Taiwan University, and Viet Nam National University, Hanoi. His awards include an NEH Fellowship for College Teachers, Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship in the Humanities at the Whitney Museum of American Art, an Academy Film Scholarship from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and the Associates Award for Creativity in Research at USC; he has also been a scholar at the Getty Research Institute and a fellow at the Center for the Advanced Study of Visual Arts and the National Gallery in Washington, DC.

James is the author ofWritten Within and Without: A Study of Blake's Milton (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 1977), Allegories of Cinema: American Film in the Sixties (Princeton University Press, 1989), Power Misses: Essays Across (Un)Popular Culture (London: Verso Books, 1996), and The Most Typical Avant-Garde: History and Geography of Minor Cinemas in Los Angeles (University of California Press, 2006), and articles and reviews in PMLA, October, Social Text, Representations, Film Quarterly, the minnesota review, Grey Room, Art Forum, and other journals and periodicals. He also edited To Free the Cinema:  Jonas Mekas and the New York Underground (Princeton University Press, 1992), The Hidden Foundation: Cinema and the Question of Class (Minnesota University Press, 1996), Im Kwon-Taek: The Making Of a Korean National Cinema (Wayne State University Press, 2002), The Sons and Daughters of Los:Culture and Community in LA (Temple University Press, 2003), Stan Brakhage: Filmmaker (Temple University Press, 2006), andOptic Antics: The Cinema of Ken Jacobs (Oxford University Press, 2011),  and has served on the editorial boards of Cinema Journal, Quarterly Review of Film and Video, Now Time, and Art Week. He has also published two books of poetry, and his films have screened at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Los Angeles Filmforum and Canyon Cinema in San Francisco. His teaching and research interests currently focus on avant-garde cinema, culture in Los Angeles, East-Asian cinema, film and music, and working-class culture.

Books Written:
  • Written Within and Without: A Study of Blake’s Milton (Peter Lang, 1977)
  • Allegories of Cinema: American Film in the Sixties (Princeton University Press, 1989)
  • To Free the Cinema: Jonas Mekas and the New York Underground (editor, Princeton University Press, 1992)
  • The Hidden Foundation: Cinema and the Question of Class (editor, University of Minnesota Press, 1996)
  • Power Misses: Essays Across (Un)Popular Culture (Verso Books, 1996)
  • Im Kwon-Taek: The Making of a Korean National Cinema (co-editor, Wayne State University Press, 2002)
  • The Sons and Daughters of Los: Culture and Community in L.A. (editor, Temple University Press, 2003)
  • Stan Brakhage: Filmmaker (editor, Temple University Press, 2005)
  • The Most Typical Avant-Garde: History and Geography of Minor Cinemas in Los Angeles (2005)
  • Optic Antics: The Cinema of Ken Jacobs (co-editor, Oxford University Press, 2011)
  • Alternative Projections: Experimental Film in Los Angeles, 1945-1980 (co- editor, Indiana University Press, 2015)
  • Rock ‘N’ Film: Cinema’s Dance With Popular Music (Oxford University Press, 2016)

About Outside the Box [Office]

Outside the Box [Office] is a weekly showcase for upcoming releases highlighting world cinema, documentary and independent film titles. Recognizing a need for greater diversity on campus, the series will draw from around the globe to present movies that may challenge, inspire or simply entertain.

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Check-In & Reservations

This screening is free of charge and open to the public. Please bring a valid USC ID or print out of your reservation confirmation, which will automatically be sent to your e-mail account upon successfully making an RSVP through this website. Doors will open at 6:30 P.M.

All SCA screenings are OVERBOOKED to ensure seating capacity in the theater, therefore seating is not guaranteed based on RSVPs. The RSVP list will be checked in on a first-come, first-served basis until the theater is full. Once the theater has reached capacity, we will no longer be able to admit guests, regardless of RSVP status.


The USC School of Cinematic Arts is located at 900 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90007. Parking passes may be purchased for $12.00 at the USC Royal Street Entrance, located at the intersection of W. Jefferson Blvd. & Royal Street. We recommend the USC Royal Street Structure, at the far end of 34th Street. Limited street parking is also available along Jefferson Blvd.

Contact Information

Name: Alessandro Ago