Born (1955) and raised in upstate New York, Jack Stevenson graduated from Elmira Free Academy (the alma mater of both Hal Roach and Terri Hall, the porn starlet) in 1973. He then worked as a printer, among other things, while writing fiction and studying journalism on the side. Residing in Boston through the late seventies and eighties, he became addicted to the city’s then flourishing arthouse and repertory scene and in the process obtained an informal education in film history. Here he began to collect film prints and organize film shows of his own in alternative spaces such as bars and bookstores.
Through the late eighties he travelled to Europe during the summers where he discovered the amazing off-cinema (micro-cinema) scene that exists there. Relocating to San Francisco in 1990, he organized shows for visiting filmmakers and presented his own programs at Bay Area theaters such as the Roxie, the Red Vic and the U.C.Theater.
He married a Danish woman and moved to Denmark in 1993. He then focused his energies on writing, and also co-curated a long-running film series at the Danish national film museum called Kosmorama Nights. As an author he specialised in American cult, underground and exploitation cinema, and he placed pieces in American film magazines as disparate as Film Quarterly and Film Threat as well as contributing to some of the leading European film journals.
In 1995 Stevenson was employed by the European Film College, located in Ebeltoft, Denmark. He ran the school’s 250-seat theater and taught courses in distribution and exhibition and gave film history classes in American avant-garde and exploitation cinema.
He resigned in 1998, moving with his wife back to the Copenhagen where he focused on writing and improving his Danish skills. In 2000 he published books on drug cinema (ADDICTED) and sex cinema (FLESHPOT), soliciting for the latter contributions from both Kenneth Anger and George Kuchar.
In the April 1999 issue of the Danish monthly, Blender, he published his first piece on Dogme95 and now began to focus more on Danish film topics. In the fall of 2002 he was commissioned by the British Film Institute to write the first book in English on Lars von Trier (LARS VON TRIER), and prior to its release toured the US and Europe with a slide-show lecture about the director. He has also written about Dogme for German and Czech film journals and a host of online magazines, and in 2003 published DOGMA UNCUT. The same year he published LAND OF A THOUSAND BALCONIES, a collection of essays, stories and rants from his involvement in cult and underground cinema.
More recent projects include a book about Benjamin Christensen’s 1922 classic, Häxan (WITCHCRAFT THROUGH THE AGES) in 2006. In connection with this he also presented the film in various US and European cities.
His book about Scandinavian erotic cinema, SCANDINAVIAN BLUE, was published in 2010.
Since relocating in Europe Jack Stevenson has presented hundreds of diverse programmes at a wide spectrum of venues and festivals, ranging from basement punk clubs to glitzy film museums.
Since 2005, he has worked and programmed at Husets cinema in the centre of Copenhagen where he founded the Station16 film group.
BENEATH CONTEMPT AND HAPPY TO BE THERE; THE FIGHTING LIFE OF PORN KING AL GOLDSTEIN is his latest book.
TOD BROWNING’S FREAKS. Belleville, 1997. (Translated into German.)
DESPERATE VISIONS; THE CINEMA OF JOHN WATERS AND GEORGE & MIKE KUCHAR. Creation Books, 1996.
ADDICTED: THE MYTH AND MENACE OF DRUGS IN FILM. Creation Books, 2000.
FLESHPOT: CINEMA’S SEXUAL MYTH MAKERS & TABOO BREAKERS. Headpress/Critical Vision, 2000.
LARS VON TRIER. BFI, 2002 and 2009. And published in Spanish by Paidós.
LAND OF A THOUSAND BALCONIES: DISCOVERIES & CONFESSIONS OF A B-MOVIE ARCHEOLOGIST. Headpress/Critical Vision, London, 2003.
DOGMA UNCUT: Lars von Trier: Thomas Vinterberg and the Gang That took on Hollywood, Santa Monica Press, 2003.
WITCHCRAFT THROUGH THE AGES: The Story of Häxan, the World’s Strangest Film and the Man Who Made It. FAB Press, 2006.
SCANDINAVIAN BLUE: The Erotic Cinema of Sweden and Denmark in the 1960s and 1970s. McFarland, 2010.
BENEATH CONTEMPT AND HAPPY TO BE THERE: The Fighting Life of Porn King Al Goldstein. Headpress, 2011.