Michael Oblowitz is a South African filmmaker who has directed and produced a number of critically acclaimed movies and videos.
Early and avant-garde work
Oblowitz was involved in New York's No Wave subculture. His early fine arts short films have been shown in the Whitney Museum's No Wave Cinema series, as part of a tribute to the innovative work of filmmakers and artists in Manhattan's Lower East Village.
Oblowitz has collaborated on film and video projects with major New York artists including Joseph Kosuth, Vito Acconci, Lawrence Weiner, Joan Jonas and Spaulding Gray. His work has been screened at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, and the Walker Art Center, as well Paris' Cinemateque and Beubourg Museum.
Oblowitz's other notable work consists of being a director of photography for Germany's avant-garde filmmaker, Rosa Von Praunheim; four short films that garnered various film festival awards; documentaries on South Africa's prison island; blues guitarist Buddy Guy; and a retrospective look at Booker T and the MGs.
Mainstream, TV and music videos
Oblowitz's mainstream break came in 1997 with This World Then The Fireworks, based on Jim Thompson's novel and starring Billy Zane and Gina Gershon. This was an official entry at both the Cannes and Sundance Film Festivals.
His other mainstream work has been in action and genre cinema. He directed vampire police procedural The Breed, starring Adrian Paul and Bokeem Woodbine, and the people-smuggling road-movie thriller On The Borderline. He has made two films starring Steven Seagal, both in 2003: The Foreigner and the direct-to-video Out for a Kill.
Oblowitz has also produced and directed hundreds of commercials and music videos with a variety of top stars including David Bowie, Eric Clapton, Corey Hart, Diana Ross, Carly Simon, Carole King, Brooks and Dunn, Alan Jackson, Santana, Natalie Cole, Garth Brooks and John Lee Hooker.
Oblowitz also directed a Heineken commercial campaign.
Oblowitz's latest film, The Traveler, starring Val Kilmer, was released in the United States in October 2010. It won the award for Best Thriller Feature at the 2011 New York International Independent Film & Video Festival.
Oblowitz was recently featured in "Blank City", a documentary about the New York No Wave film movement that took place during late 1970s and early 1980s. The documentary features interviews with Oblowitz, along with Jim Jarmusch, Patti Smith, John Waters, Debbie Harry and other luminaries of that scene. It also includes many clips from his films Minus Zero and King Blank.
- Michael Oblowitz at the Internet Movie Database
- 'These are my roots'