Coming up through the ranks as an assistant director, Sanger has moved easily between producing and directing. He made his directorial debut with Code Name: Emerald, a World War II spy drama for NBC's feature film division, starring Ed Harris, Max Von Sydow and Eric Stoltz. That same year, he produced The Doctor and the Devils, starring Jonathan Price, Timothy Dalton and Twiggy. In 1986, he executive produced Flight of the Navigator for Walt Disney Productions, which received the Best Picture Award from the Academy of Family Films and Television.
In 1987, Sanger formed Chanticleer Films and created The Discovery Program, a program designed to present showcase opportunities to film industry professionals who wish to cross over into directing. Forty-two short films have been produced to date-including the Academy Award-winning Ray's Male Heterosexual Dance Hall as well as the 1992 Academy Award winner Session Man. Additionally, Chanticleer received seven more Academy Award nominations and all of The Discovery Program shorts have won awards at international film festivals.
Sanger's directing credits include such episodic television shows as Twin Peaks, Wiseguy and L.A. Law. He wrote and directed the short film Peacemaker with Lucas Haas for PBS' American Playhouse and has directed such television movies as Children of the Bride for CBS, Chance of a Lifetime, Just My Imagination (NBC) and Obsessed (ABC).
He executive produced Lush Life, a movie for Showtime starring Jeff Goldblum and Forest Whitaker, and directed Down Came A Blackbird, starring Laura Dern, Raul Julia and Vanessa Redgrave for Showtime, which was nominated for three Cable Ace awards.
In 1996, Sanger was hired by Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner (C/W Productions) to executive produce and second-unit direct their feature Without Limits, written and directed by Robert Towne. Subsequently, he re-teamed with C/W Productions and supervised production on Mission: Impossible II.
In 2000, Sanger produced (with Ed Elbert) his first large format IMAX film, 'NSYNC: Bigger Than Live, a concert film of America's hottest pop music group. A year later, he produced the feature film Vanilla Sky for C/W Productions. The film starred Cruise and Penelope Cruz and was written and directed by Cameron Crowe.
In 2003, he and his partner, Ed Elbert, founded Grand Illusions, a new production company for the development and production of feature films, television programs and projects in all visual media.
Jonathan Sanger Facts
|Backlot: The Doctor and the Devils: In Conversation|
|Down Came a Blackbird|
|Code Name: Emerald|
|The Doctor and the Devils|