Andrew Bujalski

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Andrew Bujalski
Born (1977-04-29) April 29, 1977 (age 42)
EducationHarvard University
  • Film director
  • screenwriter
  • actor
Years active2002–present
Karen Olsson (m. 2009)

Andrew Bujalski (born April 29, 1977)[1] is an American film director, screenwriter and actor, who has been called the "godfather of mumblecore."[2][3][4]

Life and career[edit]

Bujalski, born in Boston in 1977, is the son of artist-turned-businesswoman Sheila Dubman and businessman Edmund Bujalski. His father is Catholic and his mother is Jewish.[5] Bujalski studied film at Harvard's Department of Visual and Environmental Studies, where the Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman was his thesis advisor.

He shot his first feature, Funny Ha Ha, in 2002 and followed it with Mutual Appreciation in 2003. They received theatrical distribution in 2005 and 2006, respectively. Bujalski wrote both screenplays and appears as an actor, playing a major role in both films. In 2006 he appeared as an actor and contributed to the screenplay of the Joe Swanberg film Hannah Takes the Stairs.

Beeswax and Computer Chess, Bujalski's third and fourth films, were filmed in Austin, where the director lives. Beeswax was released in summer 2009. While making it Bujalski wrote a screenplay adaptation of Benjamin Kunkel's 2005 novel Indecision for Paramount Pictures.

His fourth feature, Computer Chess,[6][7] is a period film set at a computer programming tournament in 1980. It premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and won the Alfred Sloan Feature Film Prize.[8] It is his first feature edited digitally and the only feature film shot almost exclusively with original Sony 1968 AVC-3260 B&W video cameras.[9]

Bujalski married Karen Olsson in 2009. They have two children.[10]

Style and content[edit]

Bujalski's rough-edged, realistic films are often compared to the works of directors John Cassavetes, Maurice Pialat and Mike Leigh.[citation needed] All of his feature films were photographed by Austrian cinematographer Matthias Grunsky. The first three are shot on hand-held 16mm, have a sometimes decidedly "lo-fi" feel (reinforced by Funny Ha Ha's distorted mono sound), and are often classified as mumblecore. The actors are non-professionals, many drawn from other media, including animator Kate Dollenmayer as the lead in Funny Ha Ha, musician Justin Rice as the lead in Mutual Appreciation and experimental filmmaker Bill Morrison in a supporting role in the same film. Funny Ha Ha featured a cast and crew of Harvard alumni.[11]

Though his films often appear improvised, they are for the most part scripted; the dialogue is often noted for its drawn-out, awkward nature, and characters frequently evade key topics. Many of the films seem to start and end in medias res, giving the films a "slice of life" feeling that suggests a larger narrative or world that the audience is looking in on.

The characters in Bujalski's films are mostly post-collegiate and middle-class; many work white collar jobs. The desire for stability is a recurring theme, and many characters rush headlong into attempts at a more controlled existence; one of the main characters in Funny Ha Ha elopes with his ex-girlfriend.


As director, writer, and editor[edit]

Year Film Type Credited as
Director Writer Editor
2002 Funny Ha Ha Feature film Yes Yes Yes
2005 Mutual Appreciation Feature film Yes Yes Yes
2007 Peoples House Short film Yes Yes Yes
2009 Beeswax Feature film Yes Yes Yes
2013 Computer Chess Feature film Yes Yes Yes
2015 Results Feature film Yes Yes No
2018 Support the Girls Feature film Yes Yes No
2019 Lady and the Tramp Feature film No Yes No

As actor[edit]

Year Film Role
2002 Funny Ha Ha Mitchell
2005 Mutual Appreciation Lawrence
2007 Hannah Takes the Stairs Paul
2008 Cubby Knowles DJ Whoops
2008 Goliath Terry
2008 RSO (Registered Sex Offender) Reggie
2009 Sorry, Thanks Mason



  1. ^ Boogie, Brendan (pseudonym) (2005-04-29). "Scamper – Brendan's Journal". Archived from the original (Blog) on 2008-05-17. Retrieved 2008-06-12. Yet another happy birthday to my friend Andrew Bujalski, the mind and talent behind the films Funny Ha Ha and Mutual Appreciation...
  2. ^ "'Mumblecore' and the indie-rock analogy" by Glenn Kenny. August 24, 2007"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-06-30. Retrieved 2009-06-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Half-Baked." New York Magazine.[1]
  4. ^ "Bumblebee Mumble" by V.A. Musetto. New York Post, August 12, 2009[2]
  5. ^
  6. ^ Longworth, Karina. 10 Movies We're Excited About in 2012. LA Weekly.
  7. ^ Andrew Bujalski's Next Project: Computer Chess
  8. ^ 2013 Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize
  9. ^ Grunsky, Matthias. "Computer Chess": a more detailed look at the tube camera Archived July 23, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "Andrew Bujalski". IMDb. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
  11. ^ "The Andrew Bujalski Collection". Harvard Film Archive. Archived from the original on June 9, 2011. Retrieved March 24, 2011.

External links[edit]