Bill Morrison (director)

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Bill Morrison (born November 17, 1965, Chicago, Illinois, United States) is an American, New York-based filmmaker and artist. His films often combine rare archival material set to contemporary music, and have been screened in theaters, cinemas, museums, galleries, and concert halls around the world.

Morrison had a mid-career retrospective at New York's Museum of Modern Art, October 2014 - March 2015.[1] He is a fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation,[2] and has received the Alpert Awards in the Arts,[3] a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Creative Capital,[4] and a fellowship from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts[5]

His theatrical projection design with Ridge Theater has been recognized with two Bessie Awards,[6] and an Obie Award.[7] He attended Reed College 1983-85, and graduated from Cooper Union with a BFA in 1989.

Morrison has collaborated with some of the most influential composers and performers of our time, including John Adams (composer), Maya Beiser, Gavin Bryars, Dave Douglas, Richard Einhorn, Erik Friedlander, Bill Frisell, Philip Glass, Michael Gordon (composer), Henryk Górecki, Michael Harrison, Ted Hearne, Vijay Iyer, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Kronos Quartet, David Lang, David T. Little, Michael Montes, Harry Partch, Steve Reich, Todd Reynolds (musician), Aleksandra Vrebalov, and Julia Wolfe, among many others.

Decasia (2002), his feature-length collaboration with composer Michael Gordon, was selected by the Library of Congress to its National Film Registry in 2013,[8] becoming the first film of the 21st century selected to the list. It has been hailed by J. Hoberman as "the most widely acclaimed American avant-garde film of the fin-de-siècle."[9] The director Errol Morris reportedly commented while viewing Decasia that "This may be the greatest movie ever made".[10] The film was originally commissioned by the Basel Sinfonietta to be shown on three screens surrounding the audience, behind which 55 musicians performed Michael Gordon's score.

In 2011, Spark of Being, a collaboration with composer/trumpeter Dave Douglas, won The Douglas Edwards Experimental/Independent Film/Video Award at the 2011 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards.[11]

In 2014, The Great Flood, a collaboration with composer/guitarist Bill Frisell, received the Smithsonian Magazine's American Ingenuity Award for Historical Scholarship.[12]

In 2016 Morrison presented the world premiere of Dawson City: Frozen Time at the 73rd Venice Film Festival, and the North American premiere at the 54th New York Film Festival.

Morrison attended Reed College from 1983 - 1985, and graduated with a BFA from the Cooper Union School of Art in 1989. He received the President's Citation from Cooper Union [13] in 2016.

Morrison's complete collected works were released as a 5-disc box set from Icarus Films in September 2014,[14] and a 3-disc Blu-ray box set from the British Film Institute in May 2015.[15]

Filmography as director[edit]

  • Dawson City: Frozen Time (2016)
  • Back to the Soil (2014)
  • Beyond Zero: 1914-1918 (2014)
  • The Great Flood (2013)
  • All Vows (2013)
  • Re:Awakenings (2013)
  • Just Ancient Loops (2012)
  • Tributes - Pulse (2011)
  • The Miners' Hymns (2011)
  • Spark of Being (2010)
  • Release (2010)
  • Dystopia (2008)
  • Fuel (2007)
  • Who By Water (2007)
  • The Highwater Trilogy (2006)
  • How To Pray (2006)
  • Outerborough (2005)
  • Gotham (2004)
  • Light is Calling (2004)
  • The Mesmerist (2003)
  • East River (2003)
  • Decasia (2002)
  • Trinity (2000)
  • Ghost Trip (2000)
  • City Walk (1999)
  • Film of Her (1996)
  • Nemo (1995)
  • The World Is Round (1994)
  • The Death Train (1993)
  • Footprints (1992)
  • Photo Op (1992)
  • Lost Avenues (1991)
  • Night Highway (1990)


  1. ^ "Bill Morrison: Re-Compositions". Retrieved 2016-11-21. 
  2. ^ "John Simon Guggenheim Foundation | Bill Morrison". 2016-11-16. Retrieved 2016-11-21. 
  3. ^ "Bill Morrison | The Herb Alpert Award in the Arts". Retrieved 2016-11-21. 
  4. ^ "Investing in Artists who Shape the Future". Creative Capital. Retrieved 2016-11-21. 
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-05-31. Retrieved 2015-05-30. 
  6. ^ [1][permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "New York News, Food, Culture and Events". Village Voice. Retrieved 2016-11-21. 
  8. ^ "Cinema with the Right Stuff Marks 2013 National Film Registry | Library of Congress". Retrieved 2016-11-21. 
  9. ^ "The Poetry of Decay". Village Voice. 2007-01-16. Retrieved 2016-11-21. 
  10. ^ Lawrence Weschler (2002-12-22). "Sublime Decay". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-11-21. 
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-07-04. Retrieved 2015-05-31. 
  12. ^ "Coming to Terms With One of America's Greatest Natural Disasters | Innovation | Smithsonian". Retrieved 2016-11-21. 
  13. ^ "President's Citations Announced for 2016 Commencement | The Cooper Union". 2016-05-16. Retrieved 2016-11-21. 
  14. ^ "Bill Morrison: Collected Works (1996 - 2013)". 2014-10-09. Retrieved 2016-11-21. 
  15. ^ "Buy Bill Morrison: Selected Works 1996-2014 (Blu-ray) - BFI". Retrieved 2016-11-21. 

External links[edit]