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Nathaniel Dorsky

San Francisco, CA

Born 1943, New York, New York


My method over the last thirty years is to allow the intuitive interests, in relation to the world as I come upon it, to determine the needs and atmosphere of a particular work. This inside-out method, rather than one of filling in the details of a pre-selected subject matter, brings forth a present and accurate cinema.

In my films the screen itself is transformed into a speaking character, and the images themselves function as pure energy rather than secondary symbols. The montage does not lead to verbal understanding, but is actual and present like this statement held in your hand. The narrative is that which takes place between the viewer and the screen. By delicately shifting the weight and solidity of the images, and bringing together subject matter not ordinarily associated, a deeper sense of meaning can manifest.

My films are silent because silence allows the viewer to feel these delicate articulations of vision, which are simultaneously poetic and sculptural, with a personal freedom and intimacy.

1961 - 63 Attended Antioch College and New York University


2004 Threnody, 16mm, 20 minutes Premiered at the Museum of Modern Art and Centre Pompidou. Screened as part of a solo exhibition at Tate Modern. Acquired by the Museum of Modern Art

2003 Devotional Cinema. An exploration into the language of film, reprised from a lecture on religion and cinema at Princeton University. Tuumba Press

2002 The Visitation, 16mm, 18 minutes Premiered at the New York Festival and the Pacific Rim Film Archive, screened at Tate Modern, and Centre Pompidou. Acquired by the Museum of Modern Art

2001 Loves Refrain, 16mm, 22 minutes Screenings: Toronto and New York film festivals, the Museum of Modern Art, Tate Modern, and Centre Pompidou. Acquired by the Museum of Modern Art.

1998 Variations, 16mm, 24 minutes Screenings: New York City, Rotterdam, Vienna, and New Zealand film festivals. Selected for the 2000 Whitney Biennial. Acquired by the Museum of Modern Art.


2005 Resident Filmmaker, Princeton University

1988, 2002, 2005 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship

2003 Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship

2001 LEF Foundation Fellowship

1998 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship

Year Awarded 2006
Category Visual Arts