November 2, 1963 |
Los Angeles, California
Craig Michael Saavedra (born November 2, 1963 in Los Angeles, California) is an American film producer, director, writer and co-owner of New York and Los Angeles-based production company Starry Night Entertainment.
Saavedra was born in Los Angeles, California in 1963 to Hector John Saavedra, a commercial artist of Mexican descent, and Kathleen O'Connell of English-Irish extraction. He attended kindergarten through second grade in the San Fernando Valley community of Encino. In 1971, the family moved to Thousand Oaks, California where he attended Newbury Park High School along with his six siblings, among them cartoonist/illustrator Scott Saavedra (“Dr. Radium”) and KFI AM 640 radio personality Neil Saavedra (“The Jesus Christ Show”).
Shortly after graduating high school in 1981, Saavedra found employment at Universal Studios in Hollywood as a tour guide. In the evenings, he attended film courses at UCLA’s Extension program. It was through this program that he met a film executive who eventually hired him as a story analyst at producer Jerry Weintraub’s Weintraub Entertainment Group. Shortly thereafter, Saavedra left to become Director of Operations at Big Time Picture Company, a post-production and film editing facility on Los Angeles’ west side. At Big Time, Saavedra met a young development executive from nearby PRO FilmWorks, a production company with offices down the street. The executive, Gregg Hoffman, lured Saavedra into joining PRO as a story analyst.
Within months, Saavedra was promoted to Vice President of production and soon was producing and/or supervising the production/development of numerous projects including Only You (starring Academy Award winner Helen Hunt and directed by Betty Thomas), Gross Misconduct (Jimmy Smits and Naomi Watts), Scorchers (Faye Dunaway, James Earl Jones, Jennifer Tilly, Emily Lloyd), The Real Macaw (Jason Robards), At First Sight (Jonathan Silverman), Closer and Closer (Kim Delaney) and the hit TV series The Man from Snowy River. In 1993 the company changed its name to Becker FilmWorks Entertainment to reflect its ties with parent company Becker Entertainment, Australia's leading independent film and television production, distribution and exhibition company. Shortly thereafter, Saavedra was named President of the Los Angeles operations. In 1999, Saavedra made his directorial debut on the feature comedy-drama Rhapsody In Bloom (Penelope Ann Miller, Ron Silver, Craig Sheffer and Caroline Goodall). After directing Rhapsody in Bloom, Saavedra retired from Becker FilmWorks to focus on writing both motion picture and theatrical works.
Saavedra produced and directed the comedy/drama Sherman's Way starring James LeGros, Enrico Colantoni, Brooke Nevin, Lacey Chabert, Donna Murphy and Michael Shulman, which won the Audience Award for Best Feature at Cinequest Film Festival 2008, the Audience Award at the Newport International Film Festival and a Special Jury Award at the Jackson Hole Film Festival. The film was released theatrically in the United States through International Film Circuit.
In 2009, Saavedra made his first foray into producing live theater with the New York premiere of JT Rogers's "White People" Off-Broadway at the Atlantic Theater Company's Stage 2. The controversial and darkly humorous play about racism in America starred John Dossett, Rebecca Brooksher and Michael Shulman.
In 2010, Saavedra and Shulman associate produced the New York premiere of Craig Wright's Mistakes Were Made Off-Broadway at the Barrow Street Theatre. The comedy, directed by Dexter Bullard, starred Academy Award-nominated actor Michael Shannon as Felix Artifex, a B-list Off-Broadway producer who gets in way over his fast-talking head when he takes on a gargantuan epic about the French Revolution which he thinks is going to be his ticket to professional and personal reclamation. While trying to land a big star for the lead role, he uses all his powers of persuasion, seduction and intimidation to strong-arm the writer into massively rewriting his play.
On November 3, 2013, "After Midnight" Opened at the Brooks Atkinson Theater. The Duke Ellington review marks the first above-the-title producing credit on Broadway for Saavedra and Shulman, and has garnered rave reviews across the board with the New York Times proclaiming it "HOT, SWEET AND ALTOGETHER GLORIOUS! This SPARKLING and JUBILANT show has A SUPERABUNDANCE OF TALENTED PERFORMERS who sing, slide, scat, cartwheel and generally raise a ruckus in front of the Jazz at Lincoln Center All-Stars – sixteen musicians who rollick through the music of Duke Ellington and others with a verve that almost CAPTIVATES THE EYE AS MUCH AS IT DOES THE EAR. The music gleams, shimmers, dances and sings with an eloquence that ENTHRALLS. YOU'LL BE IN SEVENTH HEAVEN.”
- Audience Award for Best Feature Sherman's Way - Cinequest Film Festival 2008
- Audience Award for Best Feature Sherman's Way - Newport International Film Festival 2008
- Audience Award for Best Feature Sherman's Way - Gaia Film Festival 2008
- Special Jury Award for Sherman's Way - Jackson Hole Film Festival 2008
- Addy Award for Heinz Commercial MIDNIGHT SNACK - 2008
- Audience Award for Best Feature RHAPSODY IN BLOOM - Sedona International Film Festival 1999