James Merendino

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James Merendino
James Merendino.jpg
Born (1969-01-11) 11 January 1969 (age 46)
Long Branch, New Jersey
Occupation Film director, film producer, screenwriter
Years active 1991–present

James Anthony Merendino (born January 11, 1969) is an American film director and screenwriter who is perhaps most notable for directing the 1998 film SLC Punk!.[1]


Merendino was born in Long Branch, New Jersey, and moved with his family to Salt Lake City, Utah when he was six years old. He graduated from Judge Memorial Catholic High School in 1985 and pursued post-secondary education in Rome and Los Angeles, California where he studied Western philosophy and theology. Merendino settled in Hollywood, California when he was 19 years old, and began a tenure with Hollywood mogul Dan Melnick.

In 1991, Merendino was very soon hired for his first motion picture Witchcraft IV. It is one of the few movies of which he was not screenwriter. His fourth film, Toughguy (1995), is a psychological thriller starring Heather Graham also introducing Carrie-Anne Moss and Balthazar Getty. His second following film, A River Made to Drown In (1997), is a movie that was pivotal to the Gay community in the United States. Richard Chamberlain had publicly came out after the film's release. Merendino's most successful film, SLC Punk!, was released in 1998. The film is centered on two punk rockers living in Salt Lake City and follows their daily nihilistic lives. SLC Punk! is semi-autobiographical as Merendino was a Mohawk-wearing anarcho-punk during his adolescence while living in Salt Lake City.

The 2000 film Magicians was a European co-production with Alan Arkin and Claire Forlani. Amerikana was produced as part of the Dogma 95 by Lars Von Trier. The production on the Swedish Job starring Harvey Keitel, Billy Bob Thornton and Lena Olin was canceled at the last minute due to studio financing disagreements. After a life altering retreat to Argentina, Merendino directed with Lisa Hammer the drama film The Invisible Life of Thomas Lynch in 2008.


  • Trespassing (2004)
  • Alexandria Hotel (1998)


2000 Nominated Independent Spirit Award Best Screenplay for: SLC Punk! (1998)


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