Jem Cohen is a film
) maker based out of New York City
. He primarily uses Super 8
with occasional project
s filmed in 16mm. Cohen started making films in high school
with a Super 8 camera
. He has said in interview
s that much of his motivation
for film making was the accessibility and affordability
of Super 8
film and equipment.
Although most people know him from his work on the Fugazi documentary Instrument he has shot/directed music videos for the likes of R.E.M. and Elliot Smith as well as a handful of his own projects.
His films tend to be grainy and stark with minimal attention paid to the sound - it tends to fade in and out over the course of the film. Even the work he did on Instrument (which is a documentary on Fugazi) was filmed mostly without sound. Most of the live footage had demo recordings dubbed over it in editing.
Cohen often incorporates elements of background scenery as an essential pieces of his films. Even when the alleged focus of the film is a band or a particular subject odd signs or an airplane passing overhead will become part of the production. Instrument contains a sizeable collection of roadside oddities viewed from the passenger seat of the tour van.