Dana Brunetti

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Dana Brunetti
Born (1973-06-11) June 11, 1973 (age 46)
OccupationCo-Founder and CCO of Cavalry Media
Notable work
The Social Network
Captain Phillips
House of Cards
Partner(s)Alexandra Pakzad (2016–present)
ChildrenEstella (born 2012)

Dana Brunetti (born June 11, 1973) is an American media executive, film producer, entrepreneur and Co-Founder and Chief Content Officer of Cavalry Media.

Brunetti has been nominated for two Academy Awards for producing The Social Network and Captain Phillips and five Emmy Awards for producing the Netflix series House of Cards.

Early life[edit]

Brunetti grew up in Covington, Virginia,[1] and attended secondary school at Alleghany High School.[2] As a child, Brunetti delivered morning and evening editions of his local newspaper.[1][3]

He joined the U.S. Coast Guard in 1992 and served until 1995. During his enlistment, Brunetti moved to New York. He met actor Kevin Spacey through a chance introduction from a mutual friend while Brunetti was working at a start up digital wireless network company.[2]


Early career[edit]

Shortly after meeting each other in 1997, Spacey hired Brunetti as his executive assistant.[1][4] Brunetti worked with Spacey through several feature films, such as American Beauty (1999) and The Shipping News (2001).[4]

In 2001, Brunetti transformed Spacey's Trigger Street Productions website, TriggerStreet.com, originally a static homepage for Trigger Street Productions, into a platform for aspiring filmmakers. The site was a place for users to submit screenplays and short films for feedback from other members.[5] TriggerStreet.com was relaunched in 2002 as an early social media site, hosting member profiles, providing member ratings of submitted work and interactive forums.[6] TriggerStreet steadily gained users resulting in it being named one of the top 50 best websites of 2004 by Time Magazine.[7] The site became known as TriggerStreet Labs and expanded to include short story submissions, it closed down in 2015.

Soon after the launch of the new TriggerStreet.com, Brunetti started working as a motion picture producer.


In 2002, Brunetti co-produced the documentaries Uncle Frank and America Rebuilds: A Year At Ground Zero through TriggerStreet. The controversial unreleased documentary Hackers Wanted was also part of the early film slate of the company.

In 2004, Spacey promoted Brunetti to President of TriggerStreet productions.[8]

Brunetti's first feature film producing credit was as co-producer for Beyond the Sea (2004). His first full feature credit was Mini's First Time. He later produced the film The Sasquatch Dumpling Gang (2006). He also produced the Emmy-nominated Bernard and Doris.[9]

Brunetti, a Star Wars fan himself, eagerly produced the Star Wars comedy Fanboys. The film was distributed by The Weinstein Company, and originally slated for release on August 17, 2007. However, after delays for re-shoots and disagreements over the film's final cut, the release for Fanboys was delayed until February 9, 2009. Brunetti discussed the film's struggles with The Weinstein Company in interviews on KCRW's The Business podcast[10] and in The New York Times.[11]

Brunetti's first major success was for 21 (2008), a film based on Ben Mezrich's New York Times best selling book Bringing Down The House. Produced on a budget of $35 million, the film went on to a worldwide gross of nearly $158 million.[12]

Brunetti later produced Shrink and Casino Jack.

In early 2009, Brunetti teamed with Mezrich on an adaption of the book The Accidental Billionaires, which was turned into the critically acclaimed film, The Social Network. The screenplay adaptation was written by Aaron Sorkin, directed by David Fincher and told the story of Mark Zuckerberg and the founding of Facebook.com.

In writing the book on the founding of Facebook, Mezrich was in touch with some of the founding members but not all. He was having trouble contacting Eduardo Saverin. To facilitate that meeting, Brunetti had a screening in Boston of the movie based Mezrich's first book and invited Saverin to that screening. At the party following the screening, the three of them spent time discussing Mezrich's work. A later screening of the film in Las Vegas resulted in Saverin and his friends meeting with Brunetti and Mezrich again. Brunetti made sure to have Kevin Spacey attend the premiere and after party as well to ensure that their Facebook-related project would have all the momentum it needed.

The 14-page proposal by Mezrich resulted in a movie being sold to Sony that became The Social Network.

In 2011, The Social Network was nominated for 8 Oscars, including Best Picture, Music (Original Score), Actor in a Leading Role, Cinematography, Directing, Film Editing, Sound Mixing and Writing (Adapted Screenplay).[13] Brunetti talked about The Social Network on KCRW's The Business Podcast.[14]

In 2016, Brunetti admitted to finding "dates" for Saverin in his attempts to gain the latter's cooperation on the movie.[1]

Brunetti produced Captain Phillips, which starred Tom Hanks and was directed by Paul Greengrass, which earned him his second career Academy Award nomination. In 2015, Brunetti and Michael DeLuca reunited to produce the Fifty Shades of Grey film adaptation for Focus Features.[15][16] In 2016, Brunetti publicly criticized the Producers Guild of America for initially not awarding him a producers mark (p.g.a. mark) for the sequel to Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker.[17] Brunetti eventually received the mark after he won a decision on appeal. He dubbed it a victory.[18] He was also credited on the third film, Fifty Shades Freed.

Relativity Media[edit]

In January 2016 it was announced that Relativity Media, which was just emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy,[19] had acquired Trigger Street Productions and that Kevin Spacey would become chairman of Relativity Studios whilst Brunetti would become the studio's president.[20] Brunetti said in a statement. "Being a disruptor at heart, I look forward to the opportunities that being inside a studio system will present."[21]

When the paperwork for the studio was filed for the court it emerged that Spacey had opted out of assuming the chairmanship of the studios,[22] and by the end of 2016 Brunetti had also left Relativity whilst both remained Executive Producers on House of Cards and Manhunt: Unabomber.[23]

Cavalry Media[edit]

In 2018 Brunetti and former Relativity Media Executive Keegan Rosenberger, co-founded Los Angeles-based media company Cavalry Media. Cavalry's core focus is the acquisition, development and production of premium feature films and scripted television series for global audiences.[24]



Brunetti and Kevin Spacey's Trigger Street Productions released their series, House of Cards, on Netflix in early 2013. The entire 13-episode first season was released on Netflix simultaneously. Spacey starred alongside Robin Wright, Kate Mara, Corey Stoll and Michael Kelly. Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO, commented on the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the release of House of Cards by saying, "[it's] a very nice confirmation of the premise that over the next couple of years we can build something very important." For his work as a producer on the show, Brunetti has earned 5 Emmy nominations and 3 PGA award Nominations for Outstanding Drama Series. Brunetti remained an executive producer on the show even after Spacey was fired from the production during season 6.

In 2017 Brunetti served as an Executive Producer on the Discovery Channel Original series, Manhunt, Unabomber, starring Sam Worthington and Paul Bettany. The critically acclaimed[25] series depicts a fictionalized account of the FBI's hunt for Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski.[26]

Brunetti's additional TV producing credits include HBO’s Bernard & Doris, starring Ralph Fiennes and Susan Sarandon, which received 10 Emmy nominations and CNN's factual series, Race For The White House.

Digital media[edit]

In July 2011, at an event at the Talenthouse in Palo Alto, California, Brunetti offered the audience his perspective on working on House of Cards and told the audience, "... Silicon Valley should start making content ... Netflix creating original content is a game changer."[27] Brunetti also told the audience that he thought Amazon, Hulu and Fandor would join Netflix in producing their own content, which would lead to subscription cable companies (like HBO) to offer a la carte content in the next 5 years. In May 2012, Amazon announced plans to create original content.[28] Hulu also announced similar plans in 2012.[29] In August 2012, HBO began a la carte subscriptions for their service in Norway.[30] In early 2013, Verizon unveiled plans to offer cable channels a la carte to consumers.[31]

He told an audience in September 2012 that web video will "destroy networks and conglomerates as we know it." [32]

In 2014, Brunetti sat down with former Facebook executive Randy Zuckerberg for an interview at SXSW Film Festival about the future of media, personal branding online, and how Hollywood and Silicon Valley continue to converge. On the subject of crowdfunding, Brunetti suggested it was "a genius idea that's gotten a little out of hand...I think it’s wrong when people like Zach Braff or Spike Lee utilize that same service to fund their films when they already have access," he added. "I think it overshadows the little guys who actually need the funding."[33]

Brand partnerships[edit]

As an innovator in social networking, Brunetti launched online social networking and file-sharing platform, triggerstreet.com for feedback and exposure of undiscovered writing and filmmaking talent in 2002. Anheuser-Busch forged an eight-year sponsorship with the site, which was the brewing company's longest ever sponsorship deal outside of sports. In 2012, Brunetti, Trigger Street and Jameson Irish Whiskey launched Jameson First Shot, a short-film competition for up-and-coming filmmakers. Jameson First Shot stars have included, Uma Thurman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Willem Dafoe, Kevin Spacey, Adrien Brody and Dominic West.

Personal life[edit]

Brunetti's mother left his father, Ron Brunetti, a U.S. Postal Service mail carrier, when Brunetti was a baby.[1] He has a stepmother, Joanne, a sister, Carla, a credit union employee in Pennsylvania; and three brothers: Brian, a helicopter pilot for Presidential Airways based in Afghanistan; Erik, a Los Angeles-based artist and designer who created the FUCT line of street wear clothing; and Alex, who works for an ophthalmologist in Kentucky.[8]

When Brunetti turned 18 he spent two weeks in hospital and almost lost an eye waterskiing when the ski rope snapped. Around the same time he discovered in a family counseling session that his biological mother had left his father for another woman.[1]

He went onto have a long-term relationship with costume designer Johanna Argan[34] from prior to 2005[35] which ended amicably in 2013.[1][36] The couple have a daughter, Estella, born October 10, 2012.[37]

Brunetti is currently engaged to former model and intellectual property lawyer, Alexandra Pakzad.[38][39]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Peretz, Evgenia (February 10, 2016). "Dana Brunetti, Hollywood's most openly disliked and secretly beloved executive". Vanity Fair. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Allen, Mike (January 9, 2012). "Sunday's column: catching up with producer Dana Brunetti". The Roanoke Times. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  3. ^ Dana Brunetti [@DanaBrunetti] (March 20, 2013). "My wikipedia doesn't even mention that I was a paperboy for both the morning AND evening paper when I was a kid" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  4. ^ a b Fleming Jr., Mike (January 6, 2016). "Relativity Media acquires Trigger Street; sets Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti to run studio as it emerges from Chapter 11". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  5. ^ Charlie Rose (host), Kevin Spacey (guest) (November 13, 2002). Kevin Spacey (Video). Charlie Rose. PBS. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  6. ^ Rosenberg, Adam (November 2, 2009). "The first Social Network? TriggerStreet.com co-founder Kevin Spacey says site is flourishing". MTV. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  7. ^ Murray Buechner, Maryanne (August 23, 2004). "50 Best Websites of 2004: Triggerstreet.com". Time.
  8. ^ a b Allen, Mike (January 29, 2011). "Covington's Dana Brunetti: The 'accidental' producer of 'The Social Network'". The Roanoke Times. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  9. ^ "Bernard and Doris credits". imdb.com. IMDb. Retrieved February 1, 2011.
  10. ^ "Times fights to be 'Company Town' paper | 'Fanboys' fight (podcast)". KCRW. March 9, 2009. Retrieved February 1, 2011.
  11. ^ Segal, David (August 16, 2009). "The Weinsteins struggle to regain their touch". The New York Times. Retrieved February 1, 2011.
  12. ^ "Box Office Mojo 21 total gross". boxofficemojo.com. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 20, 2013.
  13. ^ "83rd Annual Academy Award Nominees". oscars.org. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
  14. ^ "'The Social Network' producer Dana Brunetti (podcast)". KCRW. March 31, 2011. Retrieved October 12, 2011.
  15. ^ Acuna, Kirsten (July 10, 2012). "The Social Network producers team up again for Fifty Shades of Grey adaptation". Business Insider. Retrieved July 10, 2012.
  16. ^ Sneider, Jeff (July 23, 2013). "Sony fires up 'Gran Turismo' movie with 'Fifty Shades' producers (Exclusive)". The Wrap. Archived from the original on July 25, 2013.
  17. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (November 2, 2016). "'Fifty Shades' producer Dana Brunetti sparks 'Produced By' credit debate: I won't "bow down to these f—ers"". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 20, 2017.
  18. ^ Gardner, Chris (February 1, 2017). "'Fifty Shades' producer walks out of Producers Guild Awards: "Hollywood bubble needs to be popped"". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 20, 2017.
  19. ^ Patten, Dominic; Fleming Jr., Mike (July 30, 2015). "Ryan Kavanaugh's Relativity Media finally files Chapter 11 bankruptcy". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  20. ^ Fleming Jr., Mike (January 6, 2016). "Relativity Media acquires Trigger Street; sets Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti to run studio as it emerges From Chapter 11". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  21. ^ Rainey, James (January 6, 2016). "Kevin Spacey, Dana Brunetti set to run Relativity for Ryan Kavanaugh". Variety. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  22. ^ Lang, Brent; Littleton, Cynthia (March 13, 2016). "Relativity Relaunch: Kevin Spacey nixes chairman role, Dana Brunetti sets deal". Variety. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  23. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (December 20, 2016). "Dana Brunetti leaving Relativity; will continue producing". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  24. ^ https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/dana-brunetti-launches-new-film-tv-company-cavalry-media-1123271
  25. ^ https://www.rottentomatoes.com/tv/manhunt/s01/
  26. ^ https://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/manhunt-unabomber/about
  27. ^ Bensen, Britt (July 22, 2011). "Silicon Valley should take over Hollywood". On Demand Weekly (blog). Retrieved March 21, 2013.
  28. ^ Duncan, Geoff (May 3, 2012). "Amazon joins Netflix, Hulu, Google with original TV programming". Digital Trends. Retrieved March 21, 2013.
  29. ^ Gates, Sara (May 21, 2012). "Hulu expands original content, announces three series and seven exclusive shows (VIDEO)". Huffington Post. Retrieved March 21, 2013.
  30. ^ Plafke, James (August 31, 2012). "HBO gives Nordic region what everyone wants: a standalone HBO". The Mary Sue. Retrieved March 21, 2013.
  31. ^ Mello Jr., John P. (March 18, 2013). "Verizon's revamped fees could lead to a la carte programming". PC World. Retrieved March 21, 2013.
  32. ^ Shaw, Lucas (September 11, 2012). "HBO producer Dana Brunetti to HBO Digital Exec: The Web Will Destroy You". The Wrap. Retrieved March 20, 2013.
  33. ^ Jarvey, Natalie (March 9, 2014). "SXSW: Dana Brunetti Talks 'House of Cards' Phenomenon". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
  34. ^ "Emmys, bios: Johanna Argan". emmys.com. Emmys. Archived from the original on November 7, 2017. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  35. ^ Bhatt, Rakhee (March 8, 2016). "'House of Cards' costume designer Johanna Argan on dressing Kevin Spacey to play Frank Underwood". Gotham. Niche Media. Archived from the original on March 9, 2016. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
    See also Argan, Johanna (2017). Johanna Argan (résumé) (PDF). GSK Talent. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 7, 2017. Retrieved November 7, 2017. EDISON (Costumer to Kevin Spacey)
  36. ^ Cassidy, Katie; Eaton, Lynsey (2015). "TKC Profile: Johanna Argan (blog)". tomboykc.com. Tomboy KC. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  37. ^ Brunetti, Dana (October 9, 2014). "Hanging with Estella the night before her 2nd birthday. Time flies". facebook.com. Facebook. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  38. ^ "Dana Brunetti on Instagram: "This is not a drill... So this happened. Don't tell anyone. #Repost @alexpakzad ・・・ Mrs. Alexandra Brunetti does have a ring to it!! I…"". Instagram. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  39. ^ "The Prospertere Magazine". edition.pagesuite.com. Retrieved January 22, 2019.

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