Maya DEREN

(1917-1961)
Nationality: ukrainian

Maya Deren was born Eleonora Derenkowsky in Kiev in 1917. Her father was a psychiatrist. In September 1922 the family emigrated to America and settled in Syracuse, New York. In 1938 she gained a Master of Arts Degree in literature at Smith College. During the 1930s she was active in the American Socialist Party.

She became involved in modern dance, and while working as publicity assistant and secretary to the Katherine Dunham Dance Troupe on tour, met the Czech emigre film-maker Alexander Hammid, whom she subsequently married. Hammid collaborated with Deren on her first film, Meshes of the Afternoon which was shot using a 16mm Bolex in two weeks in 1943. At Land followed in 1944, A Study In Choreography For The Camera in 1945 and Ritual In Transfigured Time in 1946. During this time Deren also worked on the uncompleted film Witches Cradle.

In 1947 she was awarded the Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship for work in 'creative motion pictures' and went to Haiti to film Voudoun rituals and dances. Her book on Haitian Voudoun, The Divine Horsemen, was for many years the definitive work on the subject. She never completed the film of the same name which she worked on, but this was edited after her death by her widower Teiji Ito and his second wife Cheryl.

Deren completed two more films: Meditation On Violence (1948) and The Very Eye Of Night. Maya Deren worked ceaselessly to establish facilities and funding for the independent film movement which subsequently grew up in America. She founded the Creative Film Foundation and her work led ultimately to the establishment of the first Film-Makers Co-op in New York. She wrote numerous theoretical and technical articles for film magazines, but also wrote articles on film-making for mainstream women's magazines and in 1946 published a pamphlet: 'Anagram Of Ideas On Art, Form and Film'**. She died following a brain haemorrhage in 1961.

(text adapted from Maya Deren: A programme of films representing her work selected by Judith Higginbottom & Felicity Sparrow, Circles 1984 - now Cinenova)


Eleanora Derenkowskaia / Maya Deren (29 Apr 1917 - 13 Oct 1961)
Choreographer, dancer, theorist, poet, lecturer, author and photographer, Maya Deren performed these activities and many more during her short but productive life. Best known for six short avant-garde films made between 1943 and 1958, she acted as spokesperson for advanced film production and exhibition. 1946 proved a watershed year for her with sold-out film screenings at the Provincetown Playhouse in Greenwich Village and a Guggenheim Fellowship award for creative filmmaking, the first given to a filmmaker. —Bruce Posner

9 MOVIES IN DISTRIBUTION

THE VERY EYE OF NIGHT
1959 / 16mm or Fichier sur clé USB or DCP sur serveur / n&b / son / 15' 00 / 61 €
DIVINE HORSEMEN - THE LIVING GODS OF HAÏTI
1951 / 16mm or Fichier sur serveur / n&b / son / 55' 00 / 195 €
MEDITATION ON VIOLENCE NEW HD RESTORED VERSION
1948 / Fichier sur clé USB / n&b / son / 13' 06 / 52 €
MEDITATION ON VIOLENCE
1948 / 16mm / n&b / son / 10' 00 / 41 €
RITUAL IN TRANSFIGURED TIME
1946 / 16mm or Fichier sur serveur / n&b / sil / 14' 00 / 57 €
A STUDY IN CHOREOGRAPHY FOR CAMERA
1945 / 16mm or Fichier sur serveur / n&b / sil / 3' 00 / 24 €
AT LAND
1944 / 16mm or Fichier sur serveur / n&b / sil / 14' 00 / 57 €
MESHES OF THE AFTERNOON NEW HD RESTORED VERSION
by DEREN Maya & HAMMID Alexander
1943 / Fichier sur clé USB / n&b / sil / 14' 09 / 57 €
MESHES OF THE AFTERNOON
by DEREN Maya & HAMMID Alexander
1943 / 16mm or Fichier sur clé USB / n&b / son / 14' 00 / 57 €