Jonathan Demme (United States)

Jonathan Demme was born in 1944 in Baldwin, New York. During his studies of chemistry at the University of Florida, he started writing film reviews for a college journal. While working for Embassy Pictures, he kept writing film and rock music reviews and made a short 16 mm film Good Morning, Steve (1968). In the late 1960s, he worked as advertising producer in the UK. After his return to the US, he got experienced in screenwriting and directing while working for independent director Roger Corman. Handle with Care was the first film he directed on his own, however, he achieved international acclaim only in 1980 for Melvin and Howard, a story of the encounter of a working man and a reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes. In the same year, he came up with the Talking Heads concert documentary Stop Making Sense. *Something Wild (1986) was a black humour road movie. However, his greatest commercial success came after he adapted the novel “The Silence of the Lambs” by Thomas Harris for the silver screen. The film won an Academy Award for best director, actor (Hopkins), actress (Foster), adapted screenplay and best film. After this success, Demme focused on the theme of homophobia and discrimination, making Philadelphia (1993). Besides feature films, Jonathan Demme also made music videos for Suzanne Vega or Bruce Springsteen. In 2007, he introduced his documentary film *Jimmy Carter: Man from Plains at the Venice festival, which chronicles former US President Jimmy Carter’s book tour across America to publicize his new book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.

Filmography: (selection)

Melvin and Howard (95’, USA, 1984)
Stop Making Sense (88’, USA, 1984)
Something Wild (114’, USA, 1986)
The Silence of the Lambs (118’, USA, 1991) Philadelphia (125’, USA, 1993)
Storefront Hitchcock (77’, USA, 1998)
The Manchurian Candidate (129’, USA, 2004)
Neil Young: Heart of Gold (103’, USA, 2006)
Jimmy Carter: Man from Plains (125’, USA, 2007)
Rachel Getting Married (113’, USA, 2008)
Neil Young Trunk Show (82’, Netherlands, USA, Canada, 2009)
I'm Carolyn Parker (91´, USA, 2011)

Doc Alliance Members

Doc Alliance is a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.