Leading independent who began making films in the early 1960s. Jost served a two-year jail term (beginning in 1965) for refusing to do military service and, following his release in 1967, has made numerous shorts and over ten features. His feature budgets range from less than $3,000 to--for "All the Vermeers in New York" (1990)--just under $0.25 million.
Jost's work examines issues such as the lasting effects of the Vietnam war, capitalism and consumerism, sex and class conflicts and, in his ten-part documentary series "Plain Talk and Common Sense (uncommon senses)" (1988), the US as myth and institution. An engaging, unconventional storyteller, he is noted for his long takes and improvised dialogue (he has rarely used scripts). In early 1991 Jost was the subject of a retrospective at New York's Museum of Modern Art.