The muse of cinema possessed me and I cannot get rid of it. - Jonas Mekas Jonas Mekas (b. 1922) is widely acknowledged as a pioneer in the genres of diary and essay film, as well as an influential critic, film programmer, and organizer, who was instrumental in the emergence of a diverse avant-garde cinema scene in postwar America. He is also someone who has stressed in numerous interviews the crucial role that his experience during World War II and status as a displaced person after the war played in shaping his artistic vision. Jonas Mekas is a pioneer of the avant-garde and has often been called the “godfather of American avant-garde cinema.” Mekas was born in Lithuania in 1922. In 1944 he fled his home country because of the war and went on a long and dangerous journey through Europe before settling in the US. In 1949 he bought his first 16mm Bolex camera and started filming moments of his life. In his long and eventful carrier he has made countless films, both long and short, and received awards for his work all over the world. His films are varied in form but he is perhaps most known for his “diary films”, which are made up of snapshots of his daily life. Mekas has collaborated with some of the the world’s most celebrated artists, such as Andy Warhol, Allen Ginsberg, Salvador Dalí, Yoko Ono and John Lennon. Mekas is man of many talents. Through the years he has done a lot of writing on cinema and he founded the magazine Film Culture with his brother Adolfas Mekas, which was to devoted to writings about the art of cinema. Mekas is also a prolific writer of poetry and is considered one of Lithuania’s greatest contemporary poets.