James Ponsoldt

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James Ponsoldt
James Ponsoldt at Festival de deauville 2012.jpg
Born James Adam Ponsoldt
1978 (age 36–37)
Athens, Georgia, United States
Alma mater Yale University
Columbia University
Occupation Film director, screenwriter
Spouse(s) Megan Lane Hollaway (m. 2010)[1]

James Adam Ponsoldt (born 1978) is an American film director, actor and screenwriter, now based in Los Angeles.[2]

Early life[edit]

Ponsoldt was born in Athens, Georgia. Ponsoldt is the son of James F. and Susan E. Ponsoldt, and the grandson of graphic artist William Teason.[3] His father is a retired law professor, formerly at the University of Georgia.[4]

He grew up in Athens, and attended Cedar Shoals High School. He received his bachelor's degree from Yale University and graduated from Columbia University with a MFA in directing.[citation needed]

Ponsoldt is also a graduate of the Professional Programs in Screenwriting and Producing at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.[5][6][7]


Ponsoldt has written and directed two short films, Coming Down the Mountain and Junebug and Hurricane, and co-directed a documentary short called We Saw Such Things, about the mermaids of Weeki Wachee Springs, Florida. To date, he has made four independent feature films.

Off the Black[edit]

Ponsoldt's first feature film, Off the Black, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2006. The film stars Nick Nolte and Trevor Morgan.[3]


His second feature film Smashed, starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Aaron Paul, premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival on January 22, 2012 and won the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Excellence in Independent Film Producing.[8] The film received an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Mary Elizabeth Winstead's performance.

The Spectacular Now[edit]

The Spectacular Now, Ponsoldt's third feature film, premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival in January, 2013, where it received the Special Jury Award for Acting.[9]

The film was warmly received at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. In The Hollywood Reporter, critic Todd McCarthy called the movie "a sincere, refreshingly unaffected look at teenagers and their attitudes about the future...Ordinary in some ways and extraordinary in others, The Spectacular Now benefits from an exceptional feel for its main characters on the parts of the director and lead actors."[10] Cinema Blend called it "the rare Sundance coming-of-age story that feels like it matters,"[11] adding, "The Spectacular Now is an instant MVP of the first half of the festival, with potential breakout hit written all over it...you'll be hearing a lot about this one down the road, and it's got the goods to live up to the hype." Spin called the film, "The next great teen movie."[12] In Variety, critic Rob Nelson wrote, "The scars and blemishes on the faces of the high-school lovers in 'The Spectacular Now' are beautifully emblematic of director James Ponsoldt’s bid to bring the American teen movie back to some semblance of reality, a bid that pays off spectacularly indeed."[13]

New York-based distribution company A24 inked a deal for The Spectacular Now, which Ponsoldt shot in Athens, Georgia, in the summer of 2012.[14] The film was released on August 2, 2013.[15]

The End of the Tour[edit]

The End of the Tour, follows Rolling Stone writer David Lipsky (played by Jesse Eisenberg) as he interviews author David Foster Wallace (played by Jason Segel) during the final week of the promotional book tour for Infinite Jest. The film also stars Anna Chlumsky and Ron Livingston. The film premiered at The Sundance Film Festival in January, 2015.




  1. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/26/fashion/weddings/26Hollaway.html
  2. ^ Stephen Holden (October 11, 2012). "A Relationship’s Glue Is Made of Alcohol ‘Smashed,’ by James Ponsoldt, Looks at Alcoholism". The New York Times. 
  3. ^ a b Kelley, Martin. "Ponsoldt pitches Off the Black," CinemATL, Issue #3, February/March 2006. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
  4. ^ James F. Ponsoldt faculty profile at the University of Georgia website. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
  5. ^ Bruin Films at 2012 Sundance Film Festival, http://www.tft.ucla.edu/2012/01/bruin-films-at-2012-sundance-film-festival/
  6. ^ James Ponsoldt's 'The Spectacular Now' Wins Awards at Sundance, http://www.tft.ucla.edu/2013/01/james-ponsoldts-the-spectacular-now-at-sundance/
  7. ^ Smashed Alum James Ponsoldt Sets New Film, http://www.tft.ucla.edu/2012/04/20257/
  8. ^ "2012 Sundance Film Festival Announces Awards | Sundance Institute"
  9. ^ Sundance Film Festival 2013, Sundance Festival Award Winners
  10. ^ Todd McCarthy, "The Spectacular Now: Sundance Review," The Hollywood Reporter, January 20, 2013.
  11. ^ Katey Rich, "The Spectacular Now: The Rare Sundance Coming-Of-Age Story That Feels Like It Matters," Cinema Blend, January 19, 2013.
  12. ^ Phoebe Reilly, "The Next Great Teen Movie Premieres at Sundance: 'The Spectacular Now,'" Spin, January 20, 2013.
  13. ^ Rob Nelson, "The Spectacular Now," Variety, January 19, 2013.
  14. ^ Online Athens, "Athens Shot Film 'Spectacular Now' Picked for Sundance," January 27, 2013.
  15. ^ Mike Fleming, "Sundance: A24 Buys ‘The Spectacular Now,'" Deadline.com, January 21, 2013.

External links[edit]