WITH THE help of many people, the situation regarding my films has started to change. Perhaps one of the first major breakthroughs was a retrospective of my work at the Carpenter Center at Harvard University (USA) in early 2000, organized and presided over by the American filmmaker John Gianvito. There is no doubt that this retrospective helped greatly, probably for the first time, to direct attention to the ensemble of my work. It was followed by a number of other key screenings, including a retrospective in November 2002 at the Leeds International Film Festival (UK), organized by Alex King. Retrospectives in the spring of 2004 at the Ontario Cinematheque in Toronto (Canada), organized by Susan Oxtoby, and in the summer of that year in La Rochelle (France), organized by Prune Engler and Sylvie Pras, have also added to a growing public perception of my endeavours to work in an alternative way with the medium of film, and to challenge the hegemony of TV. I am most appreciative of this support.
Also, there was the help from Jean-Pierre Lenestour and Hervé Hoyet in France, who financed the production of new copies of ‘Punishment Park’; Oliver Groom, of Project X Distribution in Toronto (Canada), who is financing the restoration of ‘Edvard Munch’ and DVD versions of a number of my other works, including ‘The Freethinker’; and my son Patrick Watkins, Caroline Lensing-Hebben, and other members of Rebond pour la Commune, who for years have worked to make ‘La Commune’ available in France (and elsewhere). Without all this help and support, the situation for my films today would be very bleak.
I want to especially acknowledge the support of my wife Vida, who has tirelessly assisted me through the periods of depression and upheaval which have been caused on so many levels and over many years by the professional marginalization of my work. Vida was also responsible for initially contacting the many different distributors and producers of my work in the mid-1990s, when we first began to assemble a list of where my work was available - and where it was being blocked. This required endless phone calls and letters, often in the face of considerable indifference and lack of response.
It is because of this collective process that the situation for my films has changed so much since I wrote my first website in Lithuania in 2000. However, the situation still remains fragmented, with a particular film being available on one continent, but completely inaccessible on another - and that is a problem we are now working on.
Please therefore consider the “availability” section for each film as being part of a developing process; if you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact me by e-mail. Several films - ‘The 70s People’ and ‘The Trap’ - are still not publicly accessible, and this we are trying to change. I will try to up-date the LATEST NEWS section as often as possible.