Antonin Baudry, the Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy, said that thanks to the Lithuanian artist, New York was able to see works of legendary filmmakers, particularly those from France.
He added that Mekas inspired many famous artists, including well-known American filmmaker Martina Scrosese, and that his works were exhibited in the best museums of the world.
Lithuania's Consul General in New York, Valdemaras Sarapinas, who attended the awarding ceremony, thanked Mekas for his continuous promotion of Lithuania, his exceptional expression, and unique experience.
Mekas was named a knight of the Order of Arts and Letters in 1992 and an officer of the Order of Arts and Letters in 2000.
Theater directors Juozas Miltinis (posthumously) and Oskaras Koršunovas have also been named knights of the Order of Arts and Letters.
Jonas Mekas is a Lithuanian filmmaker, writer, and curator who has often been called "the godfather of American avant-garde cinema." His work has been exhibited in museums and festivals across Europe and America. He currently lives and works in New York.