Jesse Lerner is a documentary film and video maker based in Los Angeles. His work has screened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Anthropology Museum in Mexico City, the Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid, the Sydney Biennale, the Sundance Film Festival, New York's Guggenheim Museum, the Los Angeles International Film Festival, the Film Society of Lincoln Center, and other festivals and museums internationally.
His short film Natives (1991, with Scott Sterling) and the feature-length experimental documentaries Frontierland/Fronterilandia (1995, with Rubén Ortiz-Torres), Ruins (1999), and The American Egypt (2001) have won numerous prizes at film festivals in the United States, Latin America and Japan. He has received grants and fellowships including the Western States Regional Media Arts Fellowship (N.E.A.), the California Arts Council fellowship, the Brody Family Fund, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Fideicomiso para la cultura México-EE.UU (three time recipient) and a Fulbright. In addition to his work as a filmmaker, his critical essays on photography, film, and video have appeared in Afterimage, History of Photography, The Independent, Visual Anthropology Review, The Spectator, La Pusmoderna, Blimp Film Magazine, Coil, Wide Angle, Poliester, El Nacional and other media arts journals. As a media arts curator, he has organized several exhibitions, including The Mexperimental Cinema, a traveling retrospective of 60 years of avant-garde film and video from Mexico, which has been presented at the Pacific Film Archives in Berkeley, the National University (UNAM) in Mexico City, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the Cineteca de Nuevo León in Monterrey, and the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
He has taught at the University of California San Diego, Bennington College, California Institute of the Arts, the Centro de la Imagen in Mexico City and is currently the MacArthur Assistant Professor of Media Studies at the Claremont Colleges.