JOEL SINGER, Canadian filmmaker and photographer born on this date in Montreal. Joel arrived at the San Francisco Art Institute in 1974 where he enrolled in an MFA program where he met and fell in love with his graduate advisor poet and filmmaker James Broughton. Over the next 24 years they collaborated on many avant-garde films and produced several volumes of James’ poetry. Joel’s photo collages appeared on the covers of a half a dozen of Broughton’s books.
They traveled the world, spending a “honeymoon” year in Southeast Asia in 1979 living for months in Sri Lanka where they made their film The Gardener Of Eden and in 1984, major film museums in Frankfurt, Germany and Vienna, Austria mounted week-long retrospectives of their work in cinema, allowing them to travel for a year from Sweden to Egypt.
After James’ death in 1999 in Port Townsend, Washington where they had moved 10 years earlier, Joel moved to New York where he lived with their old friend, writer and anthropologist, Tobias Schneebaum (“Keep the River On The Right”) for four years until Tobias’ death from Parkinson’s Disease. Joel now makes his home in Bali, Indonesia where he lives with his partner, psychiatrist Nirgrantha.
The White Crane book, Mark Thompson and Bo Young’s Dancing in the Moonlight is graced with one of Joel’s photo-collages as is the recently released poetry collection, Sweet Son Of Pan by poet Trebor Healey (www.queermojo.com). The beautiful three DVD set of The Films Of James Broughton is available from Facets Multimedia (one of the DVDs is Joel and James’ collaborative film work) www.facets.org. Joel recently began to make films again after a twenty-two year hiatus. Some of these films can be seen on his website www.joelasinger.com along with many of his photographs.