Welcome to the personal website of the filmmaker, scholar and author J. J. Murphy. My website reflects my major interests in American Indie Cinema, screenwriting, avant–garde cinema, contemporary art, and the films of Andy Warhol.

My films have screened at various showcases, film festivals, and major art museums around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Anthology Film Archives, the Museum of the Moving Image, the National Gallery of Art, The Austrian Film Museum (Vienna), The Barbican Film Centre (London), and the Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris).

I’ve published articles in such journals as Film CultureFilm QuarterlyMillennium Film Journal, and the Journal of Screenwriting. I’m the author of four books: Me and You and Memento and Fargo: How Independent Screenplays Work (Bloomsbury, 2007), The Black Hole of the Camera: The Films of Andy Warhol (University of California Press, 2012), and Rewriting Indie Cinema: Improvisation, Psychodrama, and the Screenplay (Columbia University Press, 2019), and The Florida Project (University of Texas Press, 2021).

I served on the editorial board of the Journal of Screenwriting. For a number of years, I was a series editor for the Palgrave Studies in Screenwriting series. I recently retired from teaching film production, screenwriting, and film studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


  • Horicon (1990–94) 90 min. 16mm color/sound
  • Frame of Mind (1984–85) 80 min. 16mm color/sound
  • Terminal Disorder (1982–83) 42 min. 16mm color/sound
  • The Night Belongs to the Police (1981–82) 28 ½ min. 16mm color/sound
  • Preview (1979–80) 4 min. 16mm color/sound
  • Science Fiction (1979) 5 min. 16mm color/sound
  • Movie Stills (1977) 45 min. 16mm b & w/silent
  • Print Generation (1973–74) 50 min. 16mm color/sound
  • Sky Blue Water Light Sign (1972) 8 ½ min. 16mm color/sound
  • In Progress (1971–72) co–maker: Ed Small 18 min. 16mm color/silent
  • Ice (1972) 7 min. 16mm color/sound
  • Highway Landscape (1971–72) 6 ½ 16mm color/sound

Journal Articles

  • “Where are you from?: Place as a Form of Scripting in Independent Cinema,” Journal of Screenwriting, 5, 1 (Winter 2014), 25–43.
  • “The Strange Case of Ronald Tavel: Andy Warhol’s Only Screenwriter,” Journal of Screenwriting, 4, 1 (Summer 2012), 25–42.
  • “No Room for the Fun Stuff: The Question of the Screenplay in American Independent Cinema,” Journal of Screenwriting, 1, 1 (Fall 2009), 175–196.
  • “Harmony Korine’s Gummo: The Compliment of Getting Stuck with a Fork,” Film Studies: An International Review, 5, Winter 2005, 92–105.
  • “The Films of David Brooks,” Film Culture, 70–71, Fall 1983, 206–212.
  • “Christopher Maclaine – Approaching The End,” Film Culture, Fall 1983, 88–100.
  • “A Sense of Senseless,” Field of Vision, Winter/Spring 1980, 4–5.
  • “Chris Maclaine: The Man Who Invented Gold,” Film Quarterly, 22, 2, Winter 1979/1980, 44–47.
  • “Reaching for Oblivion,” Millennium Film Journal, 3, Winter/Spring 1979, 122–125

Book Chapters

  • “The Documentary as Sociodrama: William Greaves’s In the Company of Men (1969) and The Deep North (1988),” in Scott MacDonald and Jacqueline Najuma Stewart, eds., William Greaves: Filmmaking as Mission (New York: Columbia University Press, 2021), 187–205.
  • “Looking through the Rearview Mirror: Mumblecore as Past Tense” in Geoff King, ed., A Companion to American Independent Film (Malden, MA: Wiley Blackwell, 2017), 279–299.
  • “A similar sense of time: the collaboration between writer Jon Raymond and director Kelly Reichardt in Old Joy and Wendy and Lucy” in Jill Nelmes, ed., Analyzing the Screenplay (London: Routledge, 2010), 158–174.


  • Guest Curator: Spotlight Film and Video Series (10 programs), Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Fall 2006 and Spring 2007.
  • Curator: Paintings by Zach Bruder and Lindsay Dorr–Niro in Project Space, Wendy Cooper Gallery, Chicago, Summer 2006.
  • Curator of Drawing Exhibition: “Mental Space,” Wendy Cooper Gallery, Madison, WI, Spring 2004. Featured works by the following artists: Scott Anderson, Chris Ballantyne, Xylor Jane, Keegan McHargue, Laura Mosquera, Melissa Oresky, Eduardo Santierre, Michelle Segre, Gelsy Verna, and Melvin Way.

Courses Taught

  • Beginning and Advanced Film Production
  • Advanced Film Production Workshop
  • Screenwriting
  • Avant-Garde Cinema
  • Graduate Seminar: Avant-Garde Cinema
  • American Independent Cinema
  • Graduate Seminar: The Films of Andy Warhol

Additional Information