Don Thompson (producer, playwright)

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Don Thompson
Don Thompson
Born (1956-10-19) October 19, 1956 (age 66)
Alma materUCLA
Occupation(s)producer, filmmaker, playwright
Years active1982–present
SpouseDiana Takata

Don Thompson is an American producer, filmmaker and playwright. He is most notable for the film Clouds,[1] the Sundance award-winning documentary Tibet in Song,[2][3][4] and the plays L.A. Book of the Dead,[5][6] Tibet Does Not Exist[7][8][9][10] and Democracy: A Work in Progress.[11][12][13]

Education and career[edit]

Thompson attended UCLA Film School, and was mentored by Richard Walter, Chair of UCLA’s screenwriting program.

While at UCLA, Thompson developed a full-length screen play that was a finalist in the Samuel Goldwyn screenwriting awards.[14]


Thompson’s first major creative success was the anti-war play L.A. Book of the Dead which was first performed at the Ensemble Studio Theatre, Los Angeles, in 1982 (director Renee Tadlock).[5] L.A. Book of the Dead was revived in 1987 by the Rough Theater Company, and continued to be performed as a reader’s theater piece throughout the 1990s.[6][14]

In 1995, his play Tibet Does Not Exist was first performed at the Gene Frankel theater in New York City and later, Off-Broadway (1997) by the Theater for Human Rights.[7][8][15] The play was also performed at Oregon Stage Works in 2005 and revived at Nicu’s Spoon Theater in New York City in 2009.[10][16] The play was published in paperback in 1998 with a foreword by Robert Thurman and the Dalai Lama.[14]

Thompson has also developed two plays through the Maryland Ensemble Theater, Democracy: A Work in Progress (2004) and The God of this World (2015).[11][17][18][19] The God of this World was published by Indie Theater Now in 2016 and included in ITN's Plays and Playwrights 2017 anthology.[20]

Filmmaking and Producing[edit]

In 1999, Thompson produced, directed and wrote his first feature film, Clouds, based on a screenplay he developed while at UCLA.[14] The film won awards, including Best New Director at the Brooklyn Film Festival, a Feature Film award at the New York Independent Film Festival, and Juror’s Choice for Narrative Feature at the Brooklyn Arts Council Film and Video Festival.[14][21] William Arntz was a producer on the project, and also a co-producer of Thompson’s play, Tibet Does Not Exist.[8]

In 2000, Thompson founded, with partner Diana Takata, the production company nextPix.[22] Notable of the nextPix projects is the Sundance award-winning documentary Tibet in Song, directed by former political prisoner of conscience Ngawang Choephel. Thompson was a producer on the film.[3][4]

Since Tibet in Song, Thompson has been affiliated with other notable films as a producer, including Ned Rifle (2015), Railway Children (2016), and Yomeddine (2018). Ned Rifle won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival, and Railway Children was nominated for the 2017 ICFT UNESCO Gandhi Prize for film at the International Film Festival of India.[23][24] Yomeddine won the François Chalais Prize at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival where it screened in competition for the Palme d'Or.[25]


After 2002, Thompson also became active as an Internet essayist. In collaboration with Michael Neff of WebDelSol Thompson and Neff published two separate anthologies of essays through Del Sol Press, Your Life Is A Movie (2006) and A World Without War (2012).[26][27]




  1. ^ Sweeney, James (14 August 2000). "Clouds". Film Threat. Archived from the original on January 24, 2011. Retrieved 8 October 2010.
  2. ^ Merin, Jennifer. "Tibet In Song Wins Sundance Special Jury Award". Archived from the original on 8 May 2014. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  3. ^ a b Genzlinger, Neil (23 September 2010). "FILM REVIEW - CRITIC'S PICK; The Fight To Preserve Tibetan Music". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  4. ^ a b Cox, Gordon (22 July 2010). "Tibet To Sing In Self Release". Variety. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  5. ^ a b Sullivan, Dan (28 November 1982). "STAGE REVIEW; L.A. Book Of The Dead Puts Human Face On Megadeath". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  6. ^ a b Loynd, Ray (4 September 1987). "STAGE REVIEW; Communal Energy Brings Dead To Life". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  7. ^ a b Singer, Davida (29 November 1995). "Examining the Genocide in Tibet". The Villager. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
  8. ^ a b c Bruckner, D.J.R. (10 October 1997). "THEATER REVIEW; Some Philosophy Lessons From A Cunning Monk". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  9. ^ Sommer, Elyse. "STAGE REVIEW; CurtainUp Reviews Tibet Does Not Exist". Retrieved 13 March 2014.
  10. ^ a b Denton, Martin. "STAGE REVIEW; Tibet Does Not Exist". Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  11. ^ a b Horwitz, Jane (12 October 2004). "Putting Politics in the Spotlight". The Washington Post. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  12. ^ Rousuck, J. Wynn (30 June 2005). "STAGE REVIEW; Democracy for the Fourth". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  13. ^ Dechter, Gadi (22 September 2004). "CRITIC'S PICK: Democracy: A Work In Progress". Baltimore City Paper. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  14. ^ a b c d e Neff, Mike. "An Interview with Don Thompson." Solpix
  15. ^ "Don Thompson." nextPix website
  16. ^ "TIBET DOES NOT EXIST Runs At Spoon Theatre" BroadwayWorld. March 10, 2009
  17. ^ Coleman, Kate. "Maryland Ensemble Theater explores meaning of democracy" Herald Mail. Sept. 30, 2004
  18. ^ a b "Maryland Ensemble Theatre to Stage THE GOD OF THIS WORLD Reading" BroadwayWorld. March 11, 2014
  19. ^ a b "Maryland Ensemble Theatre's METLab Festival of New Work Set for next month" BroadwayWorld. June 12, 2015
  20. ^ "Announcing Plays and Playwrights 2017" Indie Theater Now. December 5, 2016
  21. ^ "Clouds" Brooklyn Film Festival
  22. ^ ""FirstPix Program Helps Struggling Filmmakers"". Archived from the original on 2014-05-08. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
  23. ^ "Internet Movie Database"
  24. ^ "IFFI 2017: 5 Indian films nominated for ICFT UNESCO Gandhi Medal" Business Standard. Nov 24, 2017
  25. ^ "Egyptian director's debut feature honored at Cannes" AL Monitor. May 21, 2018
  26. ^ Thompson, Don. Your Life is a Movie Web del Sol Association (June 1, 2006)
  27. ^ Thompson, D.R. A World Without War Del Sol Press (February 6, 2012)

External links[edit]