Jem Cohen

Last Name: 
First Name: 

Jem Cohen is a Brooklyn-based director and cameraman. His work over the past 17 years has been built from his own ongoing archive of street footage, portraits, and sound. For a given project, Cohen often shoots in hundreds of locations, with little or no additional crew. His works depend on the collision between documentary, narrative, and experimental approaches. BENJAMIN SMOKE, (co-directed with Peter Sillen) premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, was picked up for theatrical distribution by Cowboy Pictures, and won 1st prize at the DoubleTake Documentary Fest. LOST BOOK FOUND won 1st prizes at Locarno, the Bonn Videonale, Film + Arc (Graz, Austria), and the Festival Dei Popoli (Florence). Earlier works include THIS IS A HISTORY OF NEW YORK, JUST HOLD STILL, and BURIED IN LIGHT (originally commissioned by the High Museum in Atlanta as a 3-channel video installation). INSTRUMENT, the feature-length documentary on the band, Fugazi, premiered at the Rotterdam Film Fest. and screened at venues ranging from squats in Italy to the Whitney Biennial. AMBER CITY, an Italian city portrait, won 1st prize in the Video Competition at Locarno '99. Recent releases include BLOOD ORANGE SKY, a commissioned portrait of a city in Sicily, and the short, LITTLE FLAGS. Cohen has worked extensively with musicians including Godspeed You black Emperor!, Elliott Smith, R.E.M., Patti Smith, Sparklehorse, Jonathan Richman, Miracle Legion, Vic Chesnutt, and the Orpheus Orchestra with Gil Shaham. Cohen's works have been broadcast by the BBC, PBS, Planete, and The Sundance Channel and are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum. He is a Rockefeller and Guggenheim fellow, and has received grants from the Creative Capital Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, and residencies at Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony.