Martin Scorsese, Academy Award winning American film director, screenwriter, producer, actor, film historian and preservationist, and distinguished alumnus has delivered the 2013 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities on April 1, 2013. The annual lecture, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), is the most prestigious honor the federal government bestows for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities.
The annual Jefferson Lecture, sponsored by NEH, is the most prestigious honor the federal government bestows for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities. This year acclaimed filmmaker and film preservationist Martin Scorsese has presented the 42nd Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities on Monday, April 1 at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in a multimedia format, with a discussion of film, humanities, and the art of storytelling illustrated by stills and clips of films that span the history of cinema. His lecture, entitled "Persistence of Vision: Reading the Language of Cinema," was followed by an on-stage conversation with noted film-critic and long-time collaborator Kent Jones.
A widely-respected film programmer, writer, and director, Kent Jones has worked with Martin Scorsese for many years, both in filmmaking and in film preservation and restoration. The two have collaborated on documentaries such as My Voyage to Italy (2001), A Letter to Elia (2010), a Peabody Award-winning film about the director Elia Kazan, and Val Lewton, The Man in the Shadows (2007). Jones serves as Artistic Director of the World Cinema Foundation, founded by Scorsese to preserve and distribute neglected films from around the world. He is also the Director of Programming for the New York Film Festival for the Film Society of Lincoln Center. His film criticism has appeared in numerous international publications including Cahiers du cinéma and Film Comment, where he served as editor-at-large. In 2007 Jones published Physical Evidence, a collection of his film writing; he has also edited an English-language volume on the writings of French film director Olivier Assayas. He is the recipient of a 2012 Guggenheim Fellowship.
The Jefferson Lecture is the Endowment’s most widely attended annual event. Past Jefferson Lecturers include Wendell Berry, Drew Gilpin Faust, John Updike, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Bernard Bailyn, Toni Morrison, Arthur Miller, James McPherson, Barbara Tuchman, and Robert Penn Warren.
The 2013 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities is made possible through the generous support of American Express and HBO.
“We are honored to support the 2013 NEH Jefferson Lecture and a long-time partner of ours, Martin Scorsese,” said Timothy J. McClimon, president, American Express Foundation. “Film has influenced so much of American culture, and through Martin’s work preserving film, he is helping to preserve our cultural heritage. We are thrilled to support his efforts, and those of the NEH, to celebrate our past and inspire the future.”