Jodi Wille

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Photo of Jodi Wille Photographer: Rachael Pony Sparrow

Jodi Wille is an American filmmaker, book publisher, curator and film programmer known for her work exploring American subcultures.

Filmmaking and photography[edit]

Wille directed and produced The Source Family (2012), her first feature-length documentary, with Maria Demopoulos. The film, which explores the rise and fall of the eponymous 1970s Los Angeles utopian cult, premiered in competition at South by Southwest Film Festival in March 2012 and sold out screenings there and at several other major festivals.[1][2] The Source Family was released theatrically to 60 cities in May 2013 through Drag City Film Distribution.[3]

In 2016, Wille premiered "We Are Not Alone," a documentary short on The Unarius Academy of Science, at The Horse Hospital in London. [4]

In 1993, R.E.M. gave Wille her first paid directing gig for their "Find the River" music video.[5] Signed to DNA (David Naylor & Associates), she directed a number of music videos in the mid-90s. Wille worked prior to that as assistant to music video and commercial director Samuel Bayer and later as assistant and development consultant to feature film director Roland Joffé.[6]

Wille has also worked as a photographer, mostly in the 90s, documenting alternative spiritual groups and visionary artists and working with musicians such as Sparks (band), Vincent Gallo, Melissa Etheridge, and the Dwarves.

Book publishing[edit]

In 1998, Wille co-founded Dilettante Press (with Steve Nalepa, Nick Rubenstein, and Hedi El Kholti), an award-winning, now defunct publishing house with a focus on self-taught, visionary, and vernacular art and photography.[7]

In 2005, Wille and her then-companion Adam Parfrey of Feral House founded Process Media, with an emphasis on non-fiction, literary memoirs, and illustrated books that explore subcultures and groundbreaking artists such as Roky Erickson and the 13th Floor Elevators, John Sinclair and MC5, Ya Ho Wa 13 and Father Yod , Moondog, and Andy Kaufman.[8] Process has also created a "Self-Reliance Series" of illustrated guide books that promote sustainable and self-sufficient living.

In 2008, the couple left Los Angeles and moved their publishing operations to Port Townsend, Washington.[9]


In 2000, in conjunction with the release of the book Starstruck: Photographs from a Fan (Dilettante Press, 1999, edited by Wille and Hedi El Kholti), Wille, El Kholti, and Cheryl Dunn co-curated the first exhibition of amateur photographer Gary Lee Boas' work, "Starstruck: Photographs from Fan", at Deitch Projects,[10][11] which led to exhibitions at major galleries and museums in the U.S. and throughout Europe, including Galerie Kamel Mennour in Paris, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, and The Photographers' Gallery in London.

In 2013, Wille was named co-curator, with Rebecca Alban Hoffberger, of the 2014–2015 American Visionary Art Museum exhibition "The Visionary Experience: St. Francis to Finster," a 44-artist, 244-works exhibition that opened October 4, 2014, and ran through September 7, 2015.[12]

As part of the 2016 exhibition program: Collective Intention: Affirmative Visions from Communes, Collectives, and Cults at The Horse Hospital arts venue in London, Wille curated the "Welcome Space Brothers!" exhibition of photographs, costumes, original student paintings, books, and ephemera created by the UFO group Unarius Academy of Science, including film screenings of original Unarius films and a Unarius creativity workshop led by Unariuns.[13]

Film programming and cultural events[edit]

Since 2007, Wille has served as a regular guest programmer at The Cinefamily cinematheque in Los Angeles, presenting original programming and hosting the popular "Occult LA" series.[14] Events have included an eclectic range of guests from Tony Clifton, Rocky Erickson, and Kris Kristofferson to radical spiritual group members and Bigfoot researchers, as well as live music, performance, special panels, and related art exhibitions.[15][16][17][18] In 2015 Wille presented at Cinefamily a retrospective of the films of the Unarius Academy of Science group, which included a Unariun art and artifact exhibition, Q&As with original members, and Unariun workshops.[19] This led to invitations to present Unarius films at the 2015 San Francisco International Film Festival and The Horse Hospital arts center in London. [20][21] Over the years, Wille has produced cultural events in several other cities related to her projects, incorporating elements of film, live music, art, and performance.[22][23][24]

Selected works[edit]

Documentary film[edit]

The Source Family (2012, 98 mins.), Directed with Maria Demopoulos

We Are Not Alone (2016, 11 mins.)

Music videos[edit]

Publishing and editing[edit]

  • Starstruck: Photographs from a Fan by Gary Lee Boas. Foreword by Michael Musto. Afterword by Carlo McCormick. Edited by Jodi Wille, Photo Editor: Hedi El Kholti (Dilettante Press, 2000).
  • Gary Lee Boas: New York Sex 1979–1985. Essay by Bruce Hainley, edited by Hedi El Kholti and Jodi Wille (text editor). (Editions Kamel Mennour, 2003).
  • Go Ask Ogre: Letters from a Deathrock Cutter by Jolene Siana, edited by Jodi Wille (Process Media, 2005).
  • Sex Machines: Photographs and Interviews by Timothy Archibald, edited by Jodi Wille (Process Media, 2005).
  • The Source: The Untold Story of Father Yod, Ya Ho Wa 13, and The Source Family by Isis Aquarian and Electricity Aquarian. Introduction by Erik Davis. Edited by Jodi Wille (Process Media, 2007).
  • Pure Country: The Leon Kagarise Archives 1961–1971 by Leon Kagarise. Essays by Eddie Dean and Robert Gordon, edited by Jodi Wille (Process Media, 2008).
  • Master of the Mysteries: The Life of Manly Palmer Hall by Louis Sahagun, edited by Jodi Wille (Process Media, 2008).
  • Dear Andy Kaufman, I Hate Your Guts! by Lynne Margullies, edited by Jodi Wille and Lissi Erwin (Process Media, 2009).


  • Dear Andy Kaufman, I Hate Your Guts! Gold Medal, Best Popular Culture Book, 2010 Independent Book Awards
  • The Source: The Untold Story of Father Yod, Ya Ho Wa 13, and the Source Family, Bronze: Best Popular Culture Book, 2008 Independent Book Awards
  • Sex Machines: Photographs and Interviews, Winner: Best Book on Sexuality/Relationships, 2006 Independent Publisher Awards
  • Starstruck: Photographs from a Fan included in Artforum's "Best of 2000" issue (with a Boas image on the cover).
  • Go Ask Ogre: Letters from a Deathrock Cutter, Finalist: Best Juvenile/Teen Young Adult Non-fiction, 2006 Independent Publisher Awards
  • The End is Near: Visions of Apocalypse, Millennium and Utopia, Winner: Benjamin Franklin Award for Best First Book, 1998


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  8. ^ Reid, Calvin (September 12, 2005). "Love & Books in L.A.: Parfrey, Wille Start Process". Publishers Weekly. 252 (36): 8. 
  9. ^ Reid, Calvin (September 22, 2008). "Indie Publishing: Process, Feral House Try Greener Acres". Publishers Weekly. 255 (38): 10/12. 
  10. ^ Johnson, Ken (February 18, 2000). "Art in Review; Gary Lee Boas 'Starstruck'". The New York Times. p. 44. 
  11. ^ Gary Lee Boas Starstruck: Photographs from a Fan, Deitch Projects.
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  25. ^ S.T.A.R. (Self Taught Artist Resource) Collection and Daniel C. Prince Papers: 1960’s - 2002, Jean and Alexander Heard Library, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee (also for the following).
  26. ^ DP: Terry Stacey, producer: Maria Demopoulos, production company: DNA (Billboard, 6/11/94).
  27. ^ DP: Robert Randall Moss, editor: Eric Zumbrunnen, production company: Fuzzyland Films/DNA.
  28. ^ DP: Robert Randall Moss, producer: Chris Kraft, production company: DNA.
  29. ^ Production company: DNA (Billboard, 7/8/95).
  30. ^ DP: Chris Meyer, editor: Chad Misner.

External links[edit]