Jonathan Wacks, Founding Director
Jonathan Wacks is the founding director of the Barry R. Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema and professor of film at Brooklyn College. He has directed a number of films, including Powwow Highway (Warner Bros.), produced by Beatle George Harrison. The film was the recipient of the Sundance Film Festival Filmmaker’s Trophy, nominated for four Independent Spirit Awards, and winner of awards for best picture, director and actor at the American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco.
Wacks’ first film, Crossroads/South Africa (PBS), won a Student Academy Award in the documentary category. He then produced the acclaimed cult-hit Repo Man (Universal), starring Emilio Estevez and Harry Dean Stanton, and directed Mystery Date (Orion), starring Ethan Hawke and Teri Polo, and Ed and His Dead Mother, starring Steve Buscemi and Ned Beatty. He also directed an array of TV productions, including 21 Jump Street, with Johnny Depp, Sirens and Going to Extremes.
Prior to his career as a director, Wacks served as vice president of production at the Samuel Goldwyn Company. He is a former chairman of the board of the Independent Feature Project/West (now Film Independent), the largest organization of independent filmmakers in America, and has served on the selection committee of the Writers’ Program at the Sundance Institute. His work has been seen at numerous international film festivals, including Sundance, Montreal, Tokyo, Florence, London, Leipzig, Leeds, Cape Town, Deauville, New York, Munich and Berlin.
Wacks has written several screenplays, including Recoil, based on the Jim Thompson novel, No Cure for Love, My African Heart, Coldsleep Lullaby and Stuck. He served as chair of the Visual and Media Arts Department at Emerson College, head of the Film Department at the Vancouver Film School in British Columbia and chair of the Moving Image Arts Department at the College of Santa Fe. He was also director of Garson Studios in Santa Fe, N.M. Wacks holds a B.A. (Hons.) from the University of Essex (United Kingdom) and an M.F.A. from UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. He is a member of the Directors Guild of America.