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Joe Berlinger

Joe Berlinger

Joe Berlinger is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose credits include some of the most acclaimed nonfiction films of the past decade. Employing a non-narrated cinéma vérité approach, Berlinger (along with frequent documentary collaborator Bruce Sinofsky) has created indelible portraits of individuals and communities that are rarely depicted in mainstream films. Past films include Brother's Keeper, Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills, and Revelations: Paradise Lost 2.

Having recently directed and co-written Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, the highly-anticipated sequel to The Blair Witch Project for Artisan Entertainment, filmmaker Joe Berlinger began his career in the advertising business, working first at McCann-Erickson in New York and, later, at Ogilvy & Mather in Frankfurt, Germany and in New York. Berlinger's first independent film, Outrageous Taxi Stories (1989), a humorous look at New York City cab drivers, became a cult favorite on the international film festival circuit. Outrageous Taxi Stories won 10 major awards, including a nomination for Distinguished Documentary Achievement from the International Documentary Association. Most recently, Outrageous Taxi Stories was broadcast nationally on the Sundance Channel.

In April 1991, Berlinger formed his own production and theatrical distribution company, Creative Thinking International Ltd. Brother's Keeper, a collaboration with filmmaker Bruce Sinofsky, was Berlinger's first major production under the CTI banner. Brother's Keeper was named 1992's Best Documentary by the Directors Guild of America, the New York Film Critics Circle, the National Board of Review and the Boston Society of Film Critics. Other major awards include the 1992 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award. The film, which appeared on the Ten Best Films of 1992 lists of more than 50 major film critics nationwide, has been exhibited theatrically all over the United States and has been broadcast throughout the world. When the film opened in New York in September 1992, Vincent Canby of The New York Times likened the film to fine fiction and said it was "a remarkably rich portrait of a man in the context of his family, his community, the law and even the seasons."

1996 marked the debut of Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills, which debuted in 1996, is a non-narrated cinéma-vérité feature that captures a year in the life of a small southern town as it comes to grips with one of the most horrifying crimes in the region's history. Another collaboration with Bruce Sinofsky, Paradise Lost's world premiere took place at the 1996 Sundance Film Festival and its European premiere was at the Forum section of the Berlin Film Festival. It went on to win a Primetime Emmy (and two additional nominations), the National Board of Review's 1996 Best Documentary Award, a Peabody Award, DGA, Independent Spirit and Cable ACE Nominations for Best Documentary, and was placed on over 35 Top Ten Films of the Year lists by major critics across the United States.

In 1997 (again, in collaboration with Sinofsky) Berlinger produced and directed "Where It's At: The Rolling Stone State of the Union," which aired on ABC in May 1998. The special was created in celebration of the magazine's 30th anniversary and includes appearances by cultural icons from Marilyn Manson to Walter Cronkite. Where It's At also features intimate performances from Bruce Springsteen, Fiona Apple, Jewel and Beck.

In February of 1999, Berlinger directed an episode of NBC Television's acclaimed hit drama Homicide: Life on the Street. The episode, entitled Identity Crisis, aired April 30, 1999.

Berlinger recently completed Revelations: Paradise Lost 2, a follow-up to Paradise Lost, which debuted on March 13, 2000 on Home Box Office. The film was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Non-Fiction Special and is being released theatrically by Artisan Entertainment.

Berlinger is currently developing a number of feature films, including Slut, with producer Damian Jones and writer Dick Beebe, and The Little Fellow in the Attic, a bizarre true-life 1930s crime story, with Christine Vachon's Killer Films.

Additionally, Berlinger is developing original TV series through his first-look development deal with Columbia TriStar Television. He also recently created FanClub, a new documentary series for VH-1. The pilot episode, an entertaining look at Metallica and their fans, premiered on VH-1 on May 14, 2000. Berlinger executive produced and directed the pilot, and serves as Executive Producer/Series Creator.

Other television credits include The Begging Game, for PBS/ABC Frontline, and executive producer of The Wrong Man, for Court TV.

Berlinger has also directed numerous commercials for such clients as Kodak, Wal-Mart, Nuprin and the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, among others.

Joe Berlinger is a member of the DGA and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2002.

Joe Berlinger Facts

BirthdayOctober 30, 1961 (60)

Selected Filmography

Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills
Paradise Lost 3 Purgatory
Paradise Lost 2: Revelations
Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows
The Paradise Lost Trilogy Collector's Edition
Paul Simon: Under African Skies
Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger
My Brother's Keeper
Hank: Five Years from the Brink
Book of Shadows
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