Mark Romanek

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Mark Romanek
Mark Romanek Tokyo Intl Filmfest 2010.jpg
Born (1959-09-18) September 18, 1959 (age 59)
OccupationDirector, screenwriter, producer
Years active1985–present
Spouse(s)Brigette McWilliams

Mark Romanek (born September 18, 1959) is an American filmmaker whose directing work includes feature films, television, music videos and commercials. Romanek wrote and directed the 2002 film One Hour Photo and directed the 2010 film Never Let Me Go . His most notable music videos include "Hurt" (Johnny Cash), "Closer" (Nine Inch Nails), "Can't Stop" (Red Hot Chili Peppers), "Bedtime Story" (Madonna), "Scream" (Michael & Janet Jackson), "Criminal" (Fiona Apple), and "Shake It Off" (Taylor Swift). He also co-directed "Sandcastles" from Beyoncé’s Lemonade album. Romanek's music videos have won 20 MTV Video Music Awards, including Best Direction for Jay-Z's "99 Problems", and he has won three Grammy Awards for Best Short Form Music Video - more than any other director.

A feature film, feature-length film, or theatrical film is a film with a running time long enough to be considered the principal or sole film to fill a program. The term feature film originally referred to the main, full-length film in a cinema program that also included a short film and often a newsreel. The notion of how long a feature film should be has varied according to time and place. According to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the American Film Institute and the British Film Institute, a feature film runs for more than 40 minutes, while the Screen Actors Guild asserts that a feature's running time is 75 minutes or longer.

A music video is a short film that integrates a song with imagery, and is produced for promotional or artistic purposes. Modern music videos are primarily made and used as a marketing device intended to promote the sale of music recordings. There are also cases where songs are used in tie-in marketing campaigns that allow them to become more than just a song. Tie-ins and merchandising can be used for toys or for food or other products. Although the origins of the music video date back to musical short films that first appeared in the 1920s, they again came into prominence in the 1980s when the channel MTV based their format around the medium. Prior to the 1980s, these kinds of videos were described by various terms including "illustrated song", "filmed insert", "promotional (promo) film", "promotional clip", "promotional video", "song video", "song clip" or "film clip".

Television advertisement Paid commercial segment on television

A television advertisement is a span of television programming produced and paid for by an organization. It conveys a message, aimed to market a product or service. Advertisers and marketeers may refer to television commercials as TVCs.

Contents

Background

Romanek was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Shirlee and Marvin Romanek. [1] He is Jewish. [2] He credits seeing Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey at the age of nine with inspiring him to become a film director. [3] [4] He experimented with Super 8 and 16mm film as a teenager while attending New Trier High School. There, he studied first with Kevin Dole, a local filmmaker who was already creating a form of music video on his own in the mid-1970s, and then with Peter Kingsbury, a filmmaker who had studied with experimentalists Owen Land, John Luther Schofill, and Stan Brakhage at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Both teachers exposed students to works by significant figures of the American avant-garde cinema, such as Maya Deren, Kenneth Anger, and Paul Sharits.

Chicago City in Illinois, United States

Chicago, officially the City of Chicago, is the most populous city in Illinois, as well as the third most populous city in the United States. With an estimated population of 2,705,994 (2018), it is the most populous city in the Midwest. Chicago is the principal city of the Chicago metropolitan area, often referred to as Chicagoland, and the county seat of Cook County, the second most populous county in the United States. The metropolitan area, at nearly 10 million people, is the third-largest in the United States.

Illinois State of the United States of America

Illinois is a state in the Midwestern and Great Lakes regions of the United States. It has the fifth largest gross domestic product (GDP), the sixth largest population, and the 25th largest land area of all U.S. states. Illinois has been noted as a microcosm of the entire United States. With Chicago in northeastern Illinois, small industrial cities and immense agricultural productivity in the north and center of the state, and natural resources such as coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a diverse economic base, and is a major transportation hub. Chicagoland, Chicago's metropolitan area, encompasses over 65% of the state's population. The Port of Chicago connects the state to international ports via two main routes: from the Great Lakes, via the Saint Lawrence Seaway, to the Atlantic Ocean and from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River, via the Illinois Waterway to the Illinois River. The Mississippi River, the Ohio River, and the Wabash River form parts of the boundaries of Illinois. For decades, Chicago's O'Hare International Airport has been ranked as one of the world's busiest airports. Illinois has long had a reputation as a bellwether both in social and cultural terms and, through the 1980s, in politics.

Stanley Kubrick American filmmaker

Stanley Kubrick was an American film director, screenwriter, and producer. He is frequently cited as one of the greatest and most influential filmmakers in cinematic history. His films, which are mostly adaptations of novels or short stories, cover a wide range of genres, and are noted for their realism, dark humor, unique cinematography, extensive set designs, and evocative use of music.

Romanek subsequently attended Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York, and graduated from its Roy H. Park School of Communications with a degree in cinema and photography. He served as second assistant director for Brian De Palma on Home Movies , an autobiographical film De Palma conceived as an exercise for his students at Sarah Lawrence College (having returned to his alma mater as an instructor of film production). On set, Romanek met Keith Gordon, playing De Palma's alter ego. Gordon remembers Romanek's entrance into film production:

Ithaca College Private college in Ithaca, NY USA

Ithaca College is a private liberal arts college in Ithaca, New York. The college was founded by William Egbert in 1892 as a conservatory of music and is set against the backdrop of the city of Ithaca, Cayuga Lake, waterfalls, and gorges. The college is best known for its large list of alumni who have played substantial roles in the media and entertainment industries.

Ithaca, New York City in New York, United States

Ithaca is a city in the Finger Lakes region of New York. It is the seat of Tompkins County, as well as the largest community in the Ithaca–Tompkins County metropolitan area. This area contains the municipalities of the Town of Ithaca, the village of Cayuga Heights, and other towns and villages in Tompkins County. The city of Ithaca is located on the southern shore of Cayuga Lake, in Central New York, about 45 miles (72 km) south-west of Syracuse. It is named for the Greek island of Ithaca.

Roy Hampton Park was an American media executive and entrepreneur. He is known for creating the Duncan Hines brand of packaged food products, and for his television/radio/newspaper conglomerate, Park Communications. He created the Park Foundation, which has funded many programs in his name at Ithaca College, Cornell University, and North Carolina State University.

Romanek released his first film, Static, in 1985. It was co-written with Gordon and starred Gordon as a man who claimed he had invented a television set capable of showing a live picture of Heaven. The film achieved something of a cult following in London and led to Romanek's first job at the helm of a music video for the British new wave group The The, who featured on the soundtrack for Static, in 1986.

<i>Static</i> (1986 film) 1986 film by Mark Romanek

Static is an American comedy-drama film directed by Mark Romanek. The film stars Keith Gordon, Amanda Plummer, and Bob Gunton, and was released in 1985 by NFI Productions. It was shot in Page, Arizona and Lake Powell, Arizona.

Heaven Place where beings such as gods, angels, spirits, saints, or venerated ancestors are said to originate, be enthroned, or live.

Heaven, or the heavens, is a common religious, cosmological, or transcendent place where beings such as gods, angels, spirits, saints, or venerated ancestors are said to originate, be enthroned, or live. According to the beliefs of some religions, heavenly beings can descend to earth or incarnate, and earthly beings can ascend to heaven in the afterlife, or in exceptional cases enter heaven alive.

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital of and largest city in England and the United Kingdom, and the largest city in the European Union. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

Career

Music videos

After a few years writing screenplays, Romanek decided to focus on music videos and signed on with Satellite Films, a division of Propaganda Films. His subsequent work has come to be regarded as among the best of the medium. He has worked with many top-selling recording artists from different genres of popular music, and his videos have been given credit for making stars out of some. One of his notable videos was for the Nine Inch Nails song "Closer". Its critical acclaim was only matched by its controversy, with many accusing the video as being disturbing and demonic (a big reason why the video was so popular among fans). Romanek would again work with Nine Inch Nails for the song "The Perfect Drug".

Propaganda Films music video and film production company

Propaganda Films was a prolific and successful music video and film production company founded in 1983 by producers Steve Golin and Sigurjón Sighvatsson and directors Greg Gold, David Fincher, Nigel Dick and Dominic Sena. By 1990, the company was producing almost a third of all music videos made in the U.S.

Nine Inch Nails American industrial rock band

Nine Inch Nails, commonly abbreviated as NIN, is an American industrial rock band formed in 1988 in Cleveland, Ohio. The band was founded by lead singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Trent Reznor, who was the band's only official member until adding English musician Atticus Ross in 2016. The band has signed with several major labels over the course of three decades, the current being Capitol Records, under the name The Null Corporation.

Closer (Nine Inch Nails song) song by Nine Inch Nails

"Closer" is an industrial rock song by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails from their second studio album, The Downward Spiral (1994). It was released on May 30, 1994 as the album's second single. Most versions of the single are titled "Closer to God", a rare example in music of a single's title differing from the title of its A-side. Labeled "Halo 9", the single is the ninth official Nine Inch Nails release.

Romanek was given his first Grammy Award for Best Short Form Video in 1996 for "Scream", a collaboration between the pop superstar siblings Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson. The video, which cost $7 million to make, is cited as one of the most expensive ever made. Romanek won his second Grammy two years later, again with Janet Jackson, for her video "Got 'Til It's Gone". In 2002, Romanek shot a video for Audioslave's "Cochise" in which the band performed in the midst of a prolonged pyrotechnic display of the intensity usually seen only during fireworks finales. The explosions were so loud during the night shoot in the San Fernando Valley that local police and fire departments received hundreds of calls from residents who feared that a terrorist attack was under way.[ citation needed ]

Grammy Award Accolade by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States

A Grammy Award, or Grammy, is an award presented by The Recording Academy to recognize achievements in the music industry. The annual presentation ceremony features performances by prominent artists, and the presentation of those awards that have a more popular interest. The Grammys are the second of the Big Three major music awards held annually.

Scream/Childhood 1995 single by Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson

"Scream"/"Childhood" is the lead single from Michael Jackson's ninth studio album, HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I. The A-side of the single, "Scream", is a duet with his younger sister Janet, while the corresponding B-side, "Childhood", is a solo song. The single was released on May 31, 1995. "Childhood" appeared in The Ultimate Collection (2004)

Michael Jackson American singer, songwriter and dancer

Michael Joseph Jackson was an American singer, songwriter, and dancer. Dubbed the "King of Pop", he is widely regarded as one of the most significant cultural figures of the 20th century and one of the greatest entertainers of all time. He was also known for his unorthodox lifestyle, residing in a private amusement park he called Neverland Ranch, and often becoming the focus of tabloid scrutiny. Jackson's contributions to music, dance, and fashion, along with his publicized personal life, made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades.

Romanek's 2002 music video for Johnny Cash's cover of Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt" has been hailed by many critics and fans alike as the most personal and moving music video ever made. The song expresses self-loathing and the futility of worldly accomplishments; this content took on a new poignancy when sung by Cash near the end of his life, quietly performing in his memorabilia-filled home, with shots of the flood-ravaged "House of Cash" museum and archival shots of a younger, cockier Cash edited in. The video was nominated for seven VMAs, winning one for cinematography, and also won Romanek his third Grammy.

Other Romanek videos that have received accolades and awards include the VMA winners "Free Your Mind" (En Vogue), "Are You Gonna Go My Way" (Lenny Kravitz), "Rain" (Madonna), "Devil's Haircut" (Beck), "99 Problems" (Jay-Z), and "Criminal" (Fiona Apple). Many others have also received nominations. In 1997, Romanek received the VMA Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award for his contribution to the medium. Two of his music videos, "Closer" by Nine Inch Nails and "Bedtime Story" by Madonna, have been made part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Romanek directed Jay-Z's performance art video for the song "Picasso Baby", which aired on HBO on August 2, 2013. The video was shot inside the Pace Gallery in New York and featured a group of personalities from the world of art, including Marina Abramović, whose 2010 performance art work "The Artist is Present" inspired the video. [5] [6] This marked Romanek's first music video in eight years, his last being Coldplay's video for "Speed of Sound" in 2005.

Romanek then directed "Filthy" by Justin Timberlake and "Rescue Me" by Thirty Seconds to Mars, which both premiered in 2018.

Feature films

In 2002, Romanek wrote and directed his second feature film, One Hour Photo , about a department store photo processor (performed by Robin Williams) who becomes obsessed with a family through their snapshots. The film proved to be only a moderate hit, but still established Romanek as a respected film director. Rumors spread that the studio, Fox Searchlight, had forced changes on Romanek that seriously altered the film from how he had intended it. He has dismissed this story, however, stating that there never was a "director's cut" of One Hour Photo and that the studio did not exercise any editorial control.

In 2005, Romanek was scheduled to direct a film adaptation of the book A Cold Case , but the project languished in development hell. In December 2005, it was announced that he would direct A Million Little Pieces , the film adaptation of the book of the same name, but due to events regarding the authenticity of the book's content, it has also become a subject of speculation as to whether the film will indeed be made or not. On February 8, 2007, he signed on to direct The Wolfman , but dropped out. He also signed on to direct The Strangers, but also dropped out due to not receiving a bigger budget.

Romanek's third feature was the 2010 British dystopian drama Never Let Me Go . In October 2011, he was planning on taking over from director Ron Howard on the film adaptation of Dan Brown's bestselling novel The Lost Symbol . [7] However, the film was eventually scrapped in favor of making Brown's fourth novel, Inferno , into a feature film instead.

Filmography

YearTitleDirectorWriterNotes
1985 Static YesYes Directorial Debut
2002 One Hour Photo YesYes Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Breakthrough Filmmaker
Nominated- Saturn Award for Best Writing
2010 Never Let Me Go YesNoNominated- British Independent Film Awards for Best Director

Further reading

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Hurt (Nine Inch Nails song) song by the Nine Inch Nails, written by Trent Reznor

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Mark Romanek videography Wikimedia list article

American filmmaker Mark Romanek directed his first music video in 1986, for The The's "Sweet Bird of Truth". He earned his first MTV Video Music Award for Best Direction nomination for "Free Your Mind", performed by En Vogue, in 1993. Romanek later directed "Closer" for the industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, which contains imagery involving terror, sexuality, and animal cruelty. In 1995, he directed the video for "Scream", set in space and performed by Michael and Janet Jackson, as well as the New Age surrealistic "Bedtime Story", performed by Madonna. They are two of the most expensive music videos ever made, costing $7 million and $5 million, respectively. "Scream" gained 11 nominations at the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards, including Romanek's second Best Direction nomination, and his first Grammy Award for Best Music Video, Short Form.

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  5. Buchanan, Kyle (2014-08-19). "The Inside Story of Jay Z's 'Picasso Baby' Video". Vulture. Retrieved 2014-08-23.
  6. JAY Z's Life+Times (2013-08-02). "JAY Z "Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film" - YouTube". M.youtube.com. Retrieved 2014-08-23.
  7. Fleming, Mike (October 19, 2011). "Mark Romanek Frontrunner for Sony's 'The Lost Symbol'". Deadline.