Producer, writer and director, Joel Coen with brother Ethan, has been nominated for thirteen Academy Awards, plus one individual nomination for each, winning Best Original Screenplay for Fargo and Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay for No Country for Old Men.
Besides winning Oscars, many of their movies have been nominated including, Bridge of Spies (2015), True Grit (2010), A Serious Man (2009), O Brother and Where Art Thou? (2000). The brothers made their screen debut in 1984 with Blood Simple, which was the first of many movies with a notably eccentric style.
Of course, there can be no mention of the brothers' movies without a nod to The Big Lebowski, which has developed a cult following culminating with the annual Lebowski Fest and Dudeism, a religion/philosophy/lifestyle inspired by the central character of the movie.
Photo: Brigitte Lacombe
Charlie Kaufman is a screenwriter, director and producer. In 1999, he was listed as one of the “Ten Scribes to Watch.” This was the year he wrote Being John Malkovich.
Kaufman has been nominated for four Academy Awards: twice for Best Original Screenplay for Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (winning for the latter), Best Adapted Screenplay (with his fictional brother) for Adaptation, and Best Animated Feature for Anomalisa. He has also won two BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplays and one BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Being John Malkovich, Adaptation and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, appear on the Writers Guild of America's list of the 101 greatest movie screenplays ever written.
Chris Columbus is a producer, director and screenwriter. While enrolled at NYU Film & TV, he sold his first screenplay, Jocks (never produced) as a sophomore. After graduation he sold his screenplay, Gremlins, to Steven Spielberg. He moved to Los Angeles to work on rewrites and developed two other scripts for Spielberg: Young Sherlock Holmes and The Goonies.
Columbus made his directorial debut with the teen comedy, Adventures in Babysitting that was followed by two great successes, Home Alone and Mrs. Doubtfire. He also took on the challenge of directing the much-anticipated movies, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in 2001 and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in 2002.
In 2011, Columbus received an Academy Award nomination for producing The Help.
A graduate of NYU’s class of 1993, Morgan Spurlock is a documentary filmmaker, producer, and screenwriter. He is the director of Super Size Me (2004), a film which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2004, winning Best Directing honors. The film went on to win the inaugural Writers Guild of America best documentary screenplay award as well as garner an Academy Award nomination for best feature documentary.
Several of his other documentaries, including Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? (2008) and POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (2011) have screened at the Sundance Film Festival. He is the creator of the reality television series 30 Days (2005), and is the director and star of the CNN documentary series Morgan Spurlock Inside Man.
What Spurlock liked about going to NYU Film & TV was that if you wanted to make a film, here's your idea, great, but now you have to hustle and raise the money yourself to make it. There's a real independent spirit that is bred into you at New York University. It gets you ready for the reality of the film world (https://youtu.be/iVpC4jLukzo).
Sam Esmail is a screenwriter, director, and producer. In 2008, his screenplay Sequels, Remakes & Adaptations earned a spot on the Black List, a yearly survey of over 600 production companies and film executives of the "most liked" motion picture screenplays not yet produced. His first feature, Comet, was released in 2014, and since then, Esmail has risen to national fame as the creator of the technological thriller Mr. Robot. Mr. Robot has been honored with numerous accolades, including Golden Globes, Primetime Emmys, and a Peabody Award.
His admiration for the NYU Tisch Film & TV program lies in its encouragement of “experimentation.” Being handed a 16mm camera and told to create stories was incredibly liberating for Esmail. Read more on our Fast Forward Blog - Q&A with Sam Esmail.
Alfonso Gomez-Rejon was born and raised in Laredo, Texas on the US/Mexico border. His decision to go to NYU was informed by his love of NYU Alumnus Martin Scorsese. As he said in an interview on NPR Fresh Air, “I went to there (NYU UGFTV) because, he (Scorsese) went there...He opened me up to a world of film history.”
As a senior at NYU, Gomes-Rejon got a position as a personal assistant for Martin Scorsese. He worked with him while Scorsese was making Casino. He also worked with Nora Ephron, Robert De Niro and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.
His television program credits include several episodes of Glee and several episodes of American Horror Story. He was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries for American Horror Story: Coven. His television commercial director credits include American Express, Chevrolet (Super Bowl XLV day ad) and T-Mobile. He also directed the pilot for Fox's Red Band Society which was picked up for series. He second feature, Me & Earl & the Dying Girl, which won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award in the US Dramatic Competition at Sundance Film Festival 2015.
Damon Lindelof (TSOA ’95), is best known as a writer and producer for Lost, Star Trek Into Darkness, Prometheus and Tomorrowland. He also co-created the TV series The Leftovers on HBO. “The only school that I ever wanted to go to and the only school I ever applied to was Tisch School of the Arts, and when I wanted to go to NYU Film School because I loved the city… It’s going to be NYU or nothing… I loved my experience there.” You can read his interview in the NYU Alumni Magazine and NYU News did a write up about The Leftovers.