New York Stories: Jim Jennings – FILM FEST KNOX | November 14-17, 2024 Skip to content
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A still from Clotheslines

New York Stories: Jim Jennings

Jim Jennings · 1972-2006 · 60 minutes
November 12 · Regal Riviera · 11:15 a.m.

In 1967, at the age of 16, Jim Jennings got his hands on a 16mm Keystone camera and began his five-decade avocation as a painter, sculptor, photographer, and experimental filmmaker. This program of new 2K scans of several key films is presented in memory of Jennings, who passed away in 2022.

Jennings graduated from Bard College in 1973, where he studied sculpture and took courses with filmmakers Ernie Gehr and Ken Jacobs, who were key figures in New York’s downtown art scene. Jennings soon joined them in NYC, where he would spend the remainder of his life, capturing images of the people and architecture around him as time allowed. After a few years of working odd jobs–everything from driving a taxi to selling Christmas trees–Jennings apprenticed to become a master plumber and ran his own company, Time Mechanicals, for 27 years.

Most of Jennings’s films, and all of them in this program, were shot on 16mm film and are silent. Spanning nearly 35 years, this selection demonstrates the overriding curiosity and sympathy of his vision. Close Quarters (2005), which was shot entirely in his home, is built from more intimate images but has the odd effect of highlighting the intimacy of all of his work. To quote Nathaniel Dorsky, another experimental filmmaker who works in a similar vein, Jim’s films have an almost magical ability to “manifest the ineffable.”


  • Refraction (1972)
  • Clothesline (1977)
  • Wall Street (1980)
  • Canal Cinema (1983)
  • Shades (1985)
  • Painting the Town (1998)
  • Close Quarters (2005)
  • Silk Ties (2006)

Thank you to Jim’s widow, Karen Treanor-Jennings, and to archivist Genevieve Havemeyer-King for helping to organize this screening. This program is a small sampling of the 54 films Jim completed and that are currently being catalogued and scanned for restoration.

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