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John Luther Schofill

John Schofill (John Luther Schofill, Jr), filmmaker, music encyclopedist, organizer, former teacher and nuclear engineer, born in Charleston, SC, on 17 January 1941, eldest son of US Navy chief from rural Georgia who married a young woman from San Francisco.

Schofill grew up in a typically American, utterly culturally-deprived environment, relieved by constant travel with his family throughout the United States, and bu movies, hist first love in the arts. A strong aptitude for science led to engineering studies at Northwestern, and bitter suppression of his interest in filmmaking.

Schofill arrived in Berkeley for graduate engineering studies in the early 1960s just before the Bay Area exploded in a renaissance of the arts, especially independent-experimental film. For five years (1965-1969), Schofill's life was an uneasy montage of technical studies and research, alternating with a frenzied pursuit of his long-denied artistic vision. Working through many failed attempts, Schofill managed between 1966-1968 to complete three films that made his reputation as a filmmaker. He also organized a weekly experimental film series on the Berkeley campus, allowing him to see hundreds of avant-garde films through which he met an important mentor, filmmaker Will Hindle.

Most fateful was Schofill's meeting in 1968 with Stan Brakhage, who recommended him to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where Schofill taught for 17 years. The most productive of those years began in 1974 with the award of a Guggenheim Fellowship, resulting in eight years' work on his portrait of poet-filmmaker James Broughton. Another high point was the experimental film series Schofill organized with his wife Beth and ran successfully until they left Chicago in 1990.

John Schofill now travels with Beth as she practices her profession as a linguist. Presently he is involved in an obsessive study of the history of classical music, his second love in the arts.

Films