Scott Crary

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Scott Crary
Film director Scott Crary at the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival.jpg
Crary at the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival
Born Scott Aaron Crary
(1978-04-12) April 12, 1978 (age 38)
Oahu, Hawaii, United States
Nationality American
Other names S.A. Crary
Occupation director, producer, writer
Years active 2004-present

Scott Crary (also known as S.A. Crary) is an American film director, producer and writer, best known for having directed, produced, filmed and edited the film Kill Your Idols, a documentary examining three decades of New York art punk bands.

Film career[edit]

Crary's debut film, Kill Your Idols, features such noted no wave and art punk bands as Sonic Youth, Swans, DNA, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, Suicide, Black Dice, Gogol Bordello, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Liars, among others. The film received the award for Best Documentary at the 2004 Tribeca Film Festival [1][2] and was subsequently screened at over 50 international film festivals, before being released theatrically in 2006. It was acquired for distribution in North America by Palm Pictures,[3] in Europe by Minerva Pictures/RARO Video,[4] and in Japan by Uplink.[5] Kill Your Idols was also acquired for television by Showtime and Sundance Channel.[6][7]

Crary served on the jury of the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival alongside Alan Cumming, Whoopi Goldberg, Darren Arronofsky, Tom Wolfe, Damon Dash, and others.[8]

In 2005, Nokia commissioned Crary to direct the short film Perdu Dans La Ville, shot entirely on Nokia 6682 Imaging Smartphones.[9]

In 2007, Crary directed the music video for the song "Story Goes First'" by the Israeli band Katamine. The video starred Kurt Feldman of the indie pop band The Pains of Being Pure at Heart.[10]

In May 2008, Crary's film, Kill Your Idols, was named on Black Book Magazine's list of 'Iconic and Influential Music Documentaries', alongside such films as Dig!, I Am Trying to Break Your Heart: A Film About Wilco, 1991: The Year Punk Broke, Meeting People Is Easy, and The Devil and Daniel Johnston.[11] In May 2011, the film was also included on Nylon Magazine's list of 'Top Music Documentaries'.[12]

Crary produced the 2010 documentary film William S. Burroughs: A Man Within, featuring Iggy Pop, John Waters, Patti Smith, Gus Van Sant, David Cronenberg, Jello Biafra, John Giorno, Genesis P-Orridge, Laurie Anderson, and others. William S. Burroughs: A Man Within premiered at the 2010 Slamdance Film Festival and was acquired for distribution in North America by Oscilloscope Laboratories, in Australia by Madman Entertainment, in Germany by Neue Visionen, and in France by Arte.[13]

In 2011, Crary produced an episode of the PBS series Independent Lens, hosted by America Ferrara.[14]

It was announced in 2012 that Crary would executive produce a documentary on Queercore, directed by Yony Leyser[15] and featuring interviews with Bruce LaBruce, Kathleen Hanna, Kim Gordon, Rick Castro, Peaches, Dennis Cooper, and others.[16] In April 2015, the title of that film was revealed to be Liberation Is My Lover.[17][18]

In 2013, Crary's film, Kill Your Idols, was included in the permanent archives of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.[19]

Other works[edit]


In addition to his film work, Crary has been involved extensively in advertising as well, working with companies such as Nokia,[20] Mazda,[21] Guitar Center,[22] Bacardi,[23] Ray-Ban,[24] The Contrarian Media,[25] Apple, and others.


Crary has been exhibited at numerous museums and art institutions internationally. His work has been presented at the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona,[26] the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal,[27] the Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center in New Orleans,[28] the Pera Museum in Istanbul,[29] and London's Institute of Contemporary Arts.[30] In 2005, Sight & Sound's Stephen Dalton characterized Crary's experimental video pieces as "short meditative loops" that "often deliver a kōan-like punchline."[31]


In 2013, Crary announced he had begun collaborating on "a book of illustrated short stories" with the artist and photographer Colette Saint Yves.[32] Crary will author and Saint Yves will illustrate. The title of the book, Children Remember, is an allusion to the song of the same name by the band Circus Mort, which was fronted by Michael Gira who later formed Swans, a band featured in Crary's film Kill Your Idols.[33]

On April 16, 2015, Crary previewed selections from a forthcoming conceptual photo book which depicts the former New York City residences of celebrated creative personalities, such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, William S. Burroughs, Diane Arbus, Bob Dylan, J.D. Salinger, Mark Rothko, Nico, and others.[34][35]


Although more significantly known for his subsequent film work, Crary at first came to public attention in the mid to late 1990s as a hip-hop turntabilist, mixtape deejay and occasional producer, using the stage name DJ S.T.R.E.S.S. During this time, he performed as a supporting act on tours for such artists as De La Soul, Jungle Brothers, Smif-n-Wessun, Heltah Skeltah, and Chuck D of Public Enemy.[36] He also released a number of self-produced mixtapes, which are notable for featuring some of the earliest appearances of artists like El-P, Mos Def, and Eminem, as well as original freestyles by The Roots, KRS-One, and Jeru The Damaja.[36][37] As a member of the Universal Zulu Nation and an affiliate of the Native Tongues,[38][39] Crary was associated with the consciousness movement in hip-hop.[40]


In 2006, the Belgian graphic design agency Kidnap Your Designer chose its name as a reference to Crary's film Kill Your Idols.[41][42]

Footage of Crary's film Kill Your Idols was incorporated into the music video for the song "Window In The Skies" by the band U2.

In the 2011 novel Απόψε θα χιονίσει, θα το δεις, Greek author Daphne Manousou based the character of Edd on Crary.[43][44]

In 2012, a bar named Kill Your Idol (in homage to Kill Your Idols) opened in Miami's South Beach neighborhood, promoting itself as "a throw back to the emerging No Wave movement of the late 70s."[45] A framed poster of Crary's film hangs over the bar there.

In April 2012, artist Seth Kim-Cohen used Crary's film Kill Your Idols as a basis for his solo exhibition, Tomorrow Is The Question? Is the Question!, at the Audio Visual Arts (AVA) Gallery in New York.[46]

Lydia Lunch credited Crary as the inspiration for her 2012-2013 "Retro/Virus" concert tour.[47]

In 2013, Crary was included in the books Resonances: Noise and Contemporary Music, published by Bloomsbury Publishing,[48] and The Music Documentary: Acid Rock to Electropop, published by Routledge.[49]

Personal life[edit]

Crary lives in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood of New York City.[50]


Scott Crary is the great-great-great-great-grandson of 19th century poet and abolitionist Oringe Smith Crary.[51]

He is also cousin to geophysicist and Arctic explorer Albert Paddock Crary.[52]


Year Film Functioned as Notes
Director Producer Writer Cinematographer Editor
2004 Kill Your Idols Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Awarded Best Documentary at the 2004 Tribeca Film Festival
2005 Perdu Dans La Ville Yes Yes Yes Yes Short film. Produced in promotion with Nokia[53]
2006 Huldufólk 102 Yes
Kill Your Idols: More. Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Companion featurette released on the DVD of the 2004 film Kill Your Idols
2009 The Constant Dream of the Blinded Eye Yes Yes Yes Yes Short film. Produced for website Babelgum[54]
2010 William S. Burroughs: A Man Within Yes Associate Producer
2013 A Girl and a Gun Yes Additional Cinematography[55]
2016 Liberation Is My Lover Yes In Production.[56][57] Executive Producer

Awards & Accolades[edit]

External links[edit]

Scott Crary at the Internet Movie Database


  1. ^ Hiller, Jordan (9 May 2004). "Movies That Bang coverage of the Tribeca Film Festival". Bang It Out. Retrieved 24 October 2013. 
  2. ^ Reuters (19 June 2006). "Idols finds distributor in Palm Pictures". Sify. Retrieved 11 January 2010. 
  3. ^ "Kill Your Idols". Palm Pictures official website. Retrieved 22 January 2008. 
  4. ^ "Kill Your Idols". RaroVideo official website. Retrieved 23 January 2008. 
  5. ^ Tanaka, Yuki. "Kill Your Idols". Music Doc Fest. Retrieved 22 January 2008. 
  6. ^ Staff. "Kill Your Idols". Sundance Channel film guide. Retrieved 28 October 2013. 
  7. ^ Hale, Mike (1 October 2007). "What's On Tonight". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 October 2013. 
  8. ^ Wimbush, Scott (12 October 2005). "Tribeca Film Festival 2005 Jury Members". Nokia press. Retrieved 30 July 2008. 
  9. ^ "Nokia and Tribeca Film Festival Screen 2005 Short Films Made by Festival Jury Members". Goliath. 21 October 2005. Retrieved 12 March 2009. 
  10. ^ Staff (1 November 2007). "Story Goes First". NME. Retrieved 30 October 2013. 
  11. ^ Staff (April 2008). "Rockumentaries". Black Book Magazine. Retrieved 24 October 2013. 
  12. ^ Darwin, Liz (5 May 2011). "Urban Studies: Take a Wild Trip Through Our No Wave Cinema Favorites". Nylon Magazine. Retrieved 28 October 2013. 
  13. ^ Brooks, Brian (2 June 2010). "Oscilloscope to Lunch with "Burroughs" This Fall". IndieWire. Retrieved 30 October 2013. 
  14. ^ "Independent Lens credits". PBS official website. Retrieved 22 January 2012. 
  15. ^ "New film". Yony Leyer's director page. 8 December 2011. Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  16. ^ "Cast of Queercore film". Yony Leyer's director page. 20 February 2013. Retrieved 30 August 2013. 
  17. ^ "Film in arbeit". Totho. 3 April 2015. Retrieved 2 June 2015. 
  18. ^ Becher, Franziska (15 April 2015). "Exberliner Jury". Achtung Berlin. Retrieved 2 June 2015. 
  19. ^ "Kill Your Idols". The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Library & Archives. 10 October 2013. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  20. ^ "Nokia and Tribeca Film Festival Screen 2005 Short Films Made by Festival Jury Members". Goliath. 21 October 2005. Retrieved 12 March 2009. 
  21. ^ "Mazda Museum". Mazda official website. Retrieved 30 October 2013. 
  22. ^ "Guitar Center national cable launch". KSL Media. Retrieved 30 October 2013. 
  23. ^ "Bacardi's Iconocasts". Grey Goose official website. Retrieved 28 October 2013. 
  24. ^ "Ray-Ban Rockumentaries". Ray-Ban official website. Retrieved 30 October 2013. 
  25. ^ Sedlak, Aaron (8 October 2008). "The Not So Presidential Debates". Funny or Die. Retrieved 6 January 2009. 
  26. ^ Staff (April 2009). "Kill Your Idols!!!". Pop Madrid. Retrieved 16 September 2010. 
  27. ^ "Summer Exhibitions". Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal. July 2007. Retrieved 13 March 2008. 
  28. ^ "Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center announcement". S.A. Crary Myspace. September 2007. Retrieved 12 March 2008. 
  29. ^ "Program". Pera Museum. 28 May 2013. Retrieved 6 July 2013. 
  30. ^ "Exhibition Schedule". Institute of Contemporary Arts. April 2005. Retrieved 13 March 2008. 
  31. ^ Dalton, Stephen (April 2005, Vol. 15 Issue 4). Sight & Sound, p. 64
  32. ^ "Children Remember announcement". S.A. Crary's director page. 20 February 2013. Retrieved 29 November 2013. 
  33. ^ "Circus Mort discography". Discogs. Retrieved 18 October 2013. 
  34. ^ "DOORS/NYC announcement". William S. Burroughs: A Man Within official page. 1 October 2013. Retrieved 15 October 2013. 
  35. ^ "DOORS/NYC". S.A. Crary's director page. 16 April 2015. Retrieved 2 June 2015. 
  36. ^ a b "DJ S.T.R.E.S.S. discography". Discogs. Retrieved 27 September 2015. 
  37. ^ Staff (February 1998, No. 101). "Tapes". The Source Magazine, p. 89
  38. ^ Staff (20 July 2013). "Icon Series: Soulquarians/Native Tongues". The Jazz Kitchen. Retrieved 6 June 2015. 
  39. ^ Morris, Douglas (27 July 2013). "Native Tongues". Old Soulent. Retrieved 27 September 2015. 
  40. ^ Strange, Adario (April 1995, No. 67). "Reality Check". The Source Magazine, p. 18
  41. ^ Dath, Caroline (2007). "KidnapYourDesinger". My Monkey France. Retrieved 3 December 2012. 
  42. ^ "About". Kidnap Your Designer. Retrieved 26 September 2015. 
  43. ^ "Tonight Snowed, We'll See…". Daphne Manousou's author page. Retrieved 29 November 2012. 
  44. ^ "Απόψε θα χιονίσει, θα το δεις". Anubis Greece. Retrieved 29 November 2012. 
  45. ^ "Kill Your Idol". Sub-Culture Group. Retrieved 26 September 2015. 
  46. ^ Wilson, Michael (Summer 2012, Vol. 50 Issue 10). "Seth Kim-Cohen: Audio Visual Arts". Artforum, p. 320
  47. ^ Levine, Dave (7 September 2012). "Lydia Lunch bringing 'Retro/Virus' party to Knitting Factory". BrooklynVegan. Retrieved 30 October 2013. 
  48. ^ Goddard, Michael et al (2013) Resonances: Noise and Contemporary Music, Bloomsbury Academic, ISBN 978-1-4411-5937-3
  49. ^ Halligan, Benjamin et al (2013) The Music Documentary: Acid Rock to Electropop, Routledge, ISBN 978-0-415-52802-3
  50. ^ Crary, Scott (November 14, 2014). Kill Your Idols 10th Anniversary Q&A (Speech). Nitehawk Cinema. New York City. Retrieved June 7, 2015. 
  51. ^ 1880 United States Census, United States Census, 1880; Pierrepont, St. Lawrence, New York; roll 926, page 7B, line 16, enumeration district 228, Family History film 1254926, National Archives film number T9. Retrieved on 2015-06-01.
  52. ^ Fifteenth Census of the United States, United States Census, 1930; Pierrepont, St. Lawrence, New York; roll 1642, page 1A, line 4, enumeration district 0076, Family History film 2341376, National Archives film number T626. Retrieved on 2015-06-01.
  53. ^ "Nokia and Tribeca Film Festival Screen 2005 Short Films Made by Festival Jury Members". Goliath. 21 October 2005. Retrieved 12 March 2009. 
  54. ^ "The Constant Dream of the Blinded Eye (An Elegy)". Vefire video database. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  55. ^ "A Girl and a Gun credits". First Run Features website. Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  56. ^ "Queercore documentary announcement". Yony Leyer's director page. Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  57. ^ "Kathleen Hanna on set of production". Yony Leyer's director page. 20 February 2013. Retrieved 30 August 2013.