Short Film Profile
Copyright © 2013 Kristian Berg


Gendron Jensen is a man passionately devoted to his artistic calling. He draws detailed, precise images of bones. Though bones traditionally represent aridity, sterility and death, Jensen sees them as 'emissaries - portals unto exaltation - bespeaking all of creation'. A onetime recluse, Jensen spent five years in a Benedictine monastery and 17 years as a semi-hermit on a rented farm in northern Minnesota before leaving for new life and love in the mountains of New Mexico. For more than 40 years the artist has obsessively transformed found relics into wakeful images of uncommon beauty. Called a 'forest eccentric', a technical virtuoso and a romantic visionary, Jensen conjures art from nature; and his meticulously rendered, often monumental graphite drawings invite us to look beyond the ordinary into a deeper, more spiritual realm.

Film notes

Director Statement
The first time I met Gendron Jensen was in 1968. I was nine years old. He and my dad - an Episcopal priest - were great friends. Entering his bone-filled studio at the Jensen farm was a memorable and strange experience. Gendron's first art exhibition was in 1971 in the fellowship hall of our church. It was a series of drawings of old milk pails he found around the farm that he titled "I Thirst". Gendron was like a pied piper with all the kids. His drawings were mesmerizing and the way he spoke was almost musical. I think everyone has known someone in his or her life that they wish everyone could know. For me Gendron is that person.

Production Notes
"A Long Term Commitment"
Director Kristian Berg first shot video footage of artist Gendron Jensen in 1977 when he was a senior at Grand Rapids Minnesota high school. Recorded on a reel to reel black and white videotape machine, all the early recordings were lost. In 2002, Kristian began organizing shoots whenever the artist would return to Minnesota to give lectures or to hunt for more bones. In 2011 the filmmaker returned to the project with high definition gear, new partners and a renewed sense of purpose. Poustinia is the result.
gendron jensen stone lithography artist spiritual


Director of Photography
Sound Designers


Copyright © 2013 Kristian Berg

Awards and nominations

Best Short Documentary
2 Oct – 6 Oct | United States
Best Short Documentary - Audience Award
3 Apr – 19 Apr | United States
Best Documentary
1 Nov – 8 Nov | United States
Grand Prize
1 Nov – 8 Nov | United States

Previous screenings

2 Oct – 6 Oct | Woodstock, United States
Best Short Documentary
14 Feb – 15 Feb | Grand Junction, United States
21 Feb – 23 Feb | Green Bay, United States
20 Mar – 23 Mar | Taos, United States
27 Mar – 30 Mar | Sebastopol, United States
3 Apr – 19 Apr | Minneapolis, United States
Best Short Documentary - Audience Award
5th Duluth Superior Film Festival | 2014
28 May – 1 Jun | Duluth, United States
1 Nov – 8 Nov | Lancaster, United States
Grand Prize
Best Documentary
25 Feb – 28 Feb | State College, United States
4 Mar – 6 Mar | Decorah, United States

Latest press reviews/articles

“... “Poustinia” is a profound and beautiful jewel of a film, a sensitive look at an unusual artist and man. A self-described “North Woods weirdo,” Gendron Jensen draws bones with pencil and paper: meticulously detailed, precise and insightful images... ...”
13 May 2015 | Pamela Espeland | MinnPost
"More Than a Decade of Details" Filmmaker Kristian Berg wraps up fascination with visual artist.
27 Feb 2015 | Frank Ready | Centre Daily Times Weekender
“... It's all about bones for Gendron Jensen, who, for a spell, was holed up in a farmhouse in northern Minnesota working on drawings of the bones he collected.'ll want to hear the warm sentences that spill from his mouth. ...”
28 May 2014 | Christa Lawler | Duluth News Tribune
“... Documentaries are a way of experiencing the world; not only is information conveyed, but our higher desire for artistic storytelling is satisfied. Clearly, the prestigious juror panel at the Woodstock Film Festival felt "Poustinia" fit this bill. ...”
14 Nov 2013 | Yvonne Pesquera | Tempo Magazine from the Taos News
Woodstock Film Festival honors film about Minnesota artist
10 Oct 2013 | Lee Svitak Dean | Minneapolis Star Tribune
What Makes a Regional Film Festival Worth Attending? For Woodstock, It's the Casual Vibes
9 Oct 2013 | Jacqueline Gurgui | Indiewire
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Related news

Poustinia (Digital media file | MP4) is now available. | more...
27 June 2016
Poustinia (DVD | PAL) is now available. | more...
28 July 2015
Poustinia has received a new award at Rumschpringe International Short Film Festival. | more...
10 November 2014
Poustinia has received a new award at Minneapolis St Paul International Film Festival. | more...
9 May 2014
Information on this profile is provided by the film owners and/or compiled from available sources | Profile updated 27 Jun 2016