Brad Mays, shooting a scene from "Road Rage" in NYC, 2015.
|Other names||Bradford Mays|
|Spouse(s)||Lorenda Starfelt (1995–2011)(her death)|
Background and education
During the early 1970s, Mays became involved in the performing arts during a professional internship at the McCarter Theater in Princeton, New Jersey. When his family moved to Maryland in the wake of difficulties resulting from his participation in anti-war demonstrations, Mays became heavily involved in the Baltimore experimental theater scene and, at the age of eighteen, began directing at the Corner Theatre ETC.
Upon completion of theatre arts studies at Towson University, Mays was formally hired by the Baltimore Theatre Project. In 1982, Mays moved to New York City, where he began working off-Broadway and, ultimately, produced and directed his first independent feature film, Stage Fright. 
In 2006, Mays filmed the documentary feature SING*ularity (2008), which explores the cutting-edge training of classical singers at the world-renowned OperaWorks program in Southern California. Other films include a free-form adaptation of Euripides' The Bacchae (2002), and his first feature, Stage Fright, a semi-autobiographical piece, co-written with his friend and fellow Corner Theatre alum, Stanley Keyes, which depicts the trials and tribulations of a late '60's theatre company and had its inaugural screenings at the 1989 Berlin International Film Festival under the auspices of American Independents In Berlin and the New York Foundation for the Arts. It was during the editing of that particular project that Mays was invited to participate as a segment director on Howard Stern's first Pay-Per-View special, Howard Stern's Negligee and Underpants Party.
Mays' 2008 motion picture romantic comedy The Watermelon premiered at the San Diego Film Festival, where it quickly achieved the top slot for audience and industry buzz. Written by Michael Hemmingson, The Watermelon was produced by Lorenda Starfelt at LightSong Films in North Hollywood, and was conceived as a "Fairy Tale for grown-ups." The film stars Will Beinbrink, Kiersten Morgan, Elyse Ashton, Julia Aks, Mike Ivy and Bob Golub. The Watermelon was released by Celebrity Video Distribution, a Los Angeles distribution company dedicated to serving the independent film community. It was subsequently awarded a 2010 California Film Awards "Diamond Award." 
In 2009, Brad Mays finished work on the feature-length political documentary The Audacity of Democracy, which followed the 2008 race for the Democratic Presidential Nomination and focused in particular on the notorious PUMA movement. In multiple Blog-Radio interviews, the director expressed dissatisfaction with the project, revealing that he had not been allowed to complete shooting in the manner originally agreed to. On June 6, 2011, Brad Mays discussed his personal and working relationship with his late wife Lorenda Starfelt – who had died of uterine cancer earlier that year – with blog radio host John Smart. In the interview, which Smart described on his website as "harsh, truthful and brutally honest," Mays revealed the closeness of his artistic collaboration with Starfelt, as well as his reasons for considering their 2010 documentary film co-production The Audacity of Democracy to have been "unsuccessful...incomplete, inconclusive, ultimately unsatisfying and even embarrassing."  In June 2012, Mays' comedy short The Donut Shop received the "People's Choice Award" at the San Francisco Black Film Festival, as well as "Best Comedy" at the 2012 San Diego Black Film Festival.
The following year, Mays' feature documentary I Grew Up in Princeton had its premiere showing in Princeton, New Jersey. The film, described in one Princeton newspaper as a "deeply personal 'coming-of-age story' that yields perspective on the role of perception in a town that was split racially, economically and sociologically", is a portrayal of life in the venerable university town during the tumultuous period of the late sixties through the early seventies. Featuring interviews with over 60 artists, political activists, educators, historians, musicians and others, the film deals with the town's past struggles with racism, political unrest and the still-controversial shutdown of the Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA) during the anti-Vietnam War student strike - both university and high school - in the days immediately following the Kent State shootings of 1970.
On March 17, 2016, Mays premiered the self-described "bleak little comedy about falling in hate," Road Rage, at The Garden theater in Princeton, New Jersey. Shot for the most part in and around Princeton, the film tells the story of Matt Lipton (Adam Roth), a widowed man in his early 60s who enters into a misbegotten romantic relationship with a pretentious would-be "townie" named Missy Taylor (Kristin Jann-Fischer). The two embark on a road trip into the deep South, with disastrous consequences. The film can be seen as an expression of Mays' continuing yearning for his beloved hometown, as well as for the loss of his wife, Lorenda, to cancer. “I was able to flesh out the deceased wife’s character to a degree that would have been otherwise impossible,” Mays says in an article for the Princeton Packet. “For instance, Lori had always wanted to be an opera singer. I was able to fulfill that dream for her in the movie, and tie it in with the narrative in a way that I find very satisfying.”  Ironically, the film's star Adam Roth also succumbed to cancer in the final stages of production, necessitating extensive rewrites and additional shooting. Roth, an extremely popular guitarist/composer in New York's hard rock scene, grew up in Princeton, and had worked extensively in that town's professional and community theater scene during the 1970s. ”Actually, when he was young, Adam did a lot of acting while his family lived in Princeton — at the high school and at McCarter Theater,” Mays said to journalist Sally Stang just before his film's premiere. “Even back then the word ‘genius’ was tossed around. Adam was something else... right up to the end.”  In the days leading up to the film's premiere and New York screenings, Mays and partner/co-producer Barbara Curtis appeared on several radio and television shows, discussing the themes of Road Rage, as well as the challenges in getting it from script to the screen.
In March of 2018, Brad Mays' 14 minute short film, "Aiden's Butterflies," had its premiere screening at the Princeton Environmental Film Festival, with a subsequent screening at the Paradigm Shifts Film and Music Festival in NYC. "Aiden's Butterflies" is a gentle meditation about a young New Jersey boy, Aiden Wang, who has developed a deep love and understanding of Monarch Butterflies, an endangered species. The film was produced by Olga Taylan for the Environmental Education Fund, and features Yuki Azumi, Frances Catherine Ihlng, Adrian Hyde, and Trina Paulus.  "Aiden's Butterfies"has since become a staple of environmental film festivals around the world.  
In 2019, Brad Mays completed work on a project which had spanned some 2 1/2 years in the making: Two Trentons: An American City Speaks. According to the director, the film's genesis came in the wake of a short promotional film he had put together for a Trenton non-profit organization, Mercer Street Friends. After seeing the film, MSF board member Joe Hulihan approached Mays about the possibility of filming a feature-length documentary film about the perpetually struggling city. "He had seen a promotional short I had done for Mercer Street Friends, roughly five minutes long. That film was very well received, and since Joe sat of the board of MSF, he had seen it. So he approached me about the possibility of doing a feature film about Trenton. I had just finished doing a film about my home town, Princeton. So I told him I'd like to do it, if the funding could be procured. So it was entirely Joe's idea that the film be made." 
As the title suggests, the documentary feature is a portrait of a city "at war with itself," as the director stated in an August, 2019 interview in New Jersey Stage. Scheduled for a September 15, 2019 world premier at the New Jersey Film Festival, Two Trentons presents a broad view of the city, and includes interviews with artists, musicians, activists, city planners, mental health professionals, architects, and non profit workers. There is also footage of the notorious "Art All Night" gang shooting, as well as its aftermath.  According to the film's IMdB listing: "Two Trentons" is a hard-hitting look at a city desperate to redefine itself - through art, music, education, and prison reform - from its all-too-familiar image as a blighted, urban lost cause of decay, violence, hopelessness and moral decline. Featuring numerous interviews with city planners, clergymen, scientists, mental health professionals, artists, musicians, educators, and non-profit volunteers, the experiences of the people who live, work and struggle in Trenton are movingly expressed with eloquence and urgency."   
Brad Mays has directed for the stage, primarily in Baltimore, New York and Los Angeles. His first New York production was an evening of one-act plays, written by Linda Chambers and performed at the Cubiculo Theatre: Joan, Stones, and Requiem.  All three pieces dealt with themes of personal spirituality. Requiem, the longest play of the evening, was a fictionalized drama about the death of Irish hunger striker Bobby Sands, and performed during the Saint Patrick's Day holiday in 1982. Mays' Off-Broadway presentation of Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz's The Water Hen,  was videotaped by the Lincoln Center's Billy Rose Theatre Collection for inclusion in their permanent archive.
In Los Angeles, Mays' original adaptation of Euripides' The Bacchae was nominated for three LA Weekly Theatre Awards (including Best Direction) in 1997  and also videotaped for the Lincoln Center's archive. The production was recognized for its overall directorial audacity, the movement-scoring work by choreographer Kim Weild, and for its aggressive onstage violence and nudity. Mays' multi-media production of Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange, performed in Los Angeles at the ARK Theatre company, was likewise nominated for Best Direction, Best Revival Production, and Best Actress by the 2004 LA Weekly Theater Awards. Vanessa Claire Smith won Best Actress for her gender-bending portrayal of Alex, the story's protagonist.
Other efforts include Peter Weiss' The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade at Theatre of NOTE in Los Angeles; an expanded version of Joan by Linda Chambers, starring Rain Pryor as Joan of Arc; and the black comedy Dragon Slayers, by Stanley Keyes, in which a cult of insane puppeteers engage in ritual murder. Dragon Slayers was performed in both New York and Los Angeles over a period of several years, featuring an original electronic score contributed by Garth Hudson of the late sixties rock group The Band.
Brad Mays was invited to discuss Euripides' The Bacchae for WGBH Boston's 2010 PBS series Invitation to World Literature, which was also launched on Annenberg Media's educational website in September, 2010. Also featured on the show were Nobel Prize winner Wole Soyinka, director Richard Schechner, and actor Alan Cumming.
|1989||Stage Fright||Director/Editor/ Co-Screenwriter||Premiered at the 1989 Berlin International Film Festival. Sponsored in Berlin by the New York Foundation For The Arts, and the Goethe House in NYC.|
|2002||The Bacchae||Director/Editor/ Screenwriter||Screen adaptation of Euripides' classic play, filmed roughly two years after Mays' acclaimed Los Angeles stage production.|
|2004||Paper Chasers||Editor||Re-Edit of hip-hop feature documentary produced and directed by Maxie Collier, and featuring James Brown, Chuck D., Flavor Flav, Master P., Ludacris, and Russell Simmons.|
|Shakespeare's Merchant||Producer/Editor||Adaptation of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, adapted and directed by Los Angeles stage director Paul Wagar; and produced by Mays' wife Lorenda Starfelt.|
|The Trojan Women||Director/Editor||Documentary Film of Brad Mays' 2003 Los Angeles stage production of Euripides' classic tragedy, produced by the ARK Theatre Company.|
|2005||Resilience||Editor||Acclaimed feature drama, written, produced and directed by Paul Bojack.|
|Sunset Stripper Murders||Editor||A complete re-edit of the erotic thriller Seventh Veil, directed by Amin Q. Chaudhri.|
|2006||Dodo: The Documentary||Co-Producer/Editor||Docu-Comedy about the life and times of comedian Bob Golub, directed by Bob Golub and released in 2010.|
|2008||SING*ularity||Director/Co-Producer/ Editor||Documentary about the world-famous OperaWorks training program for classical vocalists, filmed in the years 2006–2007.|
|The Watermelon||Director/Editor||Oddball romantic comedy, written by Michael Hemmingson. World premiere at the 2008 San Diego Film Festival. Released July 7, 2009. Received the California Film Awards 2010 Diamond Award.|
|The Audacity of Democracy||Director/Editor||Documentary Film of the 2008 Democratic Presidential Primary, shot in Dallas, Princeton, Washington, D.C., and Denver. Released in 2009.|
|2009||Crystal Fog||Editor||Docu-drama written, produced and directed by Sundance Festival award winner Steve Yeager.|
|The Dream of Alvareen||Editor||Fantasy-drama, written, produced and directed by Alex Lehr.|
|ShowGirls, Provincetown, MA||Editor||Documentary film about the venerable weekly "Showgirls" crossing-dressing variety show in Provincetown, where all manner of drag queens compete for a cash prize. Premiered at the 2009 Palm Springs International Film Festival.|
|2010||A Way Back In||Director/Co-Producer/ Editor||Dramatic action film short. World premiere at the 2010 Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema. Winner of three Indie Fest Awards (Short Film, Leading Actor, Direction), and three Accolade Awards Of Merit (Short Film, Creativity/Originality, Direction).|
|2011||Customer Diss-Service||Director, Editor||Web Series produced by Ron Williams, Scott Scott Weisenfeld and Lorenda Starfelt and starring Frank Noon and Johnny D'Agostino.|
|2012||The Donut Shop||Director, Editor||Comedy short produced and written by Theo Ogunyode, and starring Theo Ogunyode, Saria Daniels, Valerie Ludwig, Gregory Thompson, Dwight Williams, Romel Jamison, and Cesili Williams. Recipient of the "People's Choice Award" at the 2012 San Francisco Black Film Festival, and "Best Comedy" at the 2012 San Diego Black Film Festival.|
|2013||I Grew Up in Princeton||Director, Editor||Feature documentary produced by Lorenda Starfelt.|
|2015||Road Rage||Producer, Director, Writer, Editor.||Feature "Bleak little comedy about falling in hate," starring Adam Roth, Kristin Jann-Fischer, Susan Tenney, Tony Stacey, Janise Whelan, Marty Krzywonos, and Erika Person.|
|2018||Jubilate Trego: The Choral Legacy of William Trego||Producer, Director, Writer, Editor.||Feature documentary film about the life and career of William Trego, choir director of Princeton High School and one of the most respected choral conductors of the 20th century.|
|2019||Aiden's Butterflies||Producer, Director, Writer, Editor.||Short film meditation about Aiden Wang, a young Princeton boy who is doing his part to prevent the extinction of Monarch Butterflies. With Yuki Azumi, Frances Catherine Ihlng, Adrian Hyde, Trina Paulus, Jim Waltman.|
|2019||Two Trentons||Director, Editor, Cinematographer.||Feature film portrait of a city at war with itself. Starring Ed (NJ Weedman) Forchion, Angelo Onofri, E.C. Bradley, Mindy Fullilove, Jeff Stewart, Jacque Howard. Produced by Joe Hulihan.|
- Persico, Joyce C. "Documentary explores life in Princeton during the late 1960s, early 1970s", The Times (Trenton), October 6, 2013. Accessed December 10, 2018. "Thomas Wolfe wrote You Can't Go Home Again, but independent filmmaker and theater director Brad Mays is certainly going to try with I Grew Up in Princeton, a documentary he hopes will rattle a few cages and open some eyes when it has its world premiere in Princeton on Oct. 18.... Once he was bused to Princeton High School, which at the time accepted students from West Windsor, life changed for Mays, who fell in with an 'artsy' group and 'fit right in.'"
- Persico, Joyce J. (October 6, 2013). "Documentary explores life in Princeton during the late 1960s, early 1970s". Cite journal requires
- Writer, Anthony Stoeckert, Staff. "PRINCETON: Filmmaker premieres movie,'I Grew Up in Princeton' at PHS". Retrieved 23 April 2017.
- Emanski, Joe. "Coming of age in Princeton: Filmmaker looking to capture the spirit of '67-'74 in forthcoming documentary - MercerSpace.com". Retrieved 23 April 2017.
- Strausbaugh, John (March 1979). "Big Doings in Little Theater (Article)". City Paper.
- Strasbaugh, John (August 1979). "Strong Season (Article)". City Paper.
- Shaller, Deborah (September 1979). "Mystery and Mays – Two Esoteric Shifts in the Local Theatre Scene (Article)". City Paper.
- Walsh, Winnifred (July 7, 1987). "Film's Dark, Unflattering Look At The 1970s by Brad Mays (Article)". The Baltimore Evening Sun.
- Hitch (March 1–7, 1989). "Review". Variety. p. 21.
- IndieWire online article about Mays' film SING*ularity, then still under the working title of OperaWorks.
- PlayBill article STAGE TO SCREEN: Waiting For Bradford's Bacchae and Burton's Barber by Eric Grode, May 23, 1999 Archived June 5, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
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- 2008 San Diego Film Festival's list of Official Selections, in order of rating for audience and industry "buzz" Archived July 8, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
- Boushka, Bill (20 January 2010). "Bill's Movie News and Reviews: "The Watermelon" is a very localized Odyssey". Retrieved 23 April 2017.
- California Film Awards Diamond Award Winning Feature – The Watermelon Archived 2011-03-20 at the Wayback Machine
- Politics Daily online article, written by Tommy Christopher, discussing Brad Mays' film The Audacity of Democracy
- "The List - tonight The Audacity of Democracy". Retrieved 23 April 2017.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-10-20. Retrieved 2012-06-23.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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- "New film on Princeton life in the 60s and 70s to screen in October". Retrieved 23 April 2017.
- Stang, Sally (March 11, 2016). "Brad Mays' newest film stars his late friend, Adam Roth (Article)". The Princeton Packet.
- "Adam Roth, NYC Guitarist & Composer, Dies at 57". Retrieved 23 April 2017.
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- Kim, Hye-Jin (April 11, 2018). "The butterfly whisperer: 11-year-old lepidopterist is subject of new documentary(Review)". Princeton Community News.
- Nigrin, Albert (September 9, 2019). "Brad Mays'Compelling documentary "Two Trentons" Gets Its World Premiere at the New Jersey Film Festival on Sunday, September 15, 2019 (Interview)". New Jersey Stage.
- Wien, Gary (August 2019). "Two Trentons: An American City Speaks (Review)". New Jersey Stage (62).
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- New York Public Library Theatre On Videotape Archives, the Billy Rose Collection: The Water Hen and The Bacchae, directed by Brad Mays
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- LA Weekly article, Grin And Bare It, written by Neal Weaver, on nudity in the Los Angeles theatre, with particular attention given to The Bacchae.
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