Mike Mills (director)

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Michael C. "Mike" Mills (born March 20, 1966)[1] is an American film and music video director and graphic designer. He is perhaps best known for his independent films Thumbsucker and Beginners.

Early life[edit]

Mills was born in Berkeley, California. He graduated from Cooper Union in Lower Manhattan, New York City. His mother died of brain cancer in 1999. A week after she died, his father Paul came out as gay at the age of 75 and after 44 years of marriage. Five years later, his father died of lung cancer. His father was an art historian and museum director.[2][3]


Mike Mills has created music videos for such musical acts as Moby, Yoko Ono and Air. Air named the fifth song on their album Talkie Walkie after Mills.

He has also worked as a graphic designer on promotional material and album covers for such acts as Beastie Boys, Beck, Sonic Youth, and Ol' Dirty Bastard. In addition he has created graphics for X-Girl, Marc Jacobs, and currently produces his own line of posters and fabrics called Humans by Mike Mills.

Mills played guitar and performed background vocals with the short-lived indie rock band Butter 08 along with Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori of Cibo Matto, Russell Simins of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and Rick Lee of Skeleton Key. The band released one self-titled album in 1996 on the now defunct Grand Royal record label.

Thumbsucker (2005) is his feature-film directorial debut, for which he also created the film posters. He followed this up with Beginners in 2010.[4]

He has released some of his art/documentary photography works with the two books, Gas Book 11 (2003) and Humans (2006). In 2009, the popular Berlin-based culture magazine 032c devoted an issue to Mills. For the occasion Mills was interviewed by Nick Currie, best known for his work as Momus, in a piece called "Getting Through the New Depression."[5]

Personal life[edit]

Mills is married to fellow artist and film director Miranda July,[6] with whom he has a son, Hopper, who was born in February 2012.[7][8]

Works by Mike Mills[edit]


  • 20th Century Women (2016)
  • Beginners (2010)
  • Does Your Soul Have A Cold? (2007, 82 min)
  • Thumbsucker (2005, 96 min)
  • Not How Or When Or Why But Yes (2004, 24 min)
  • Paperboys (2001, 42 min)
  • Deformer (Ed Templeton) (2000, 17 min)
  • The Architecture of Reassurance (1999, 24 min)
  • AIR: Eating Sleeping Waiting & Playing (Air) (1999, 96 min)
  • Hair Shoes Love and Honesty (1998, 40 min)
  • "Richard June's Backyard" (Kate Spade) (1998, 3 min)
  • "Skating with Dave and Jared" (1995, 3 min)
  • "An Introduction to Harmolodics" (Ornette Coleman) (1995, 11 min)
  • Lost Episode III-Cheese (Frank Black)
  • Lost Episode I-Los Angeles (Frank Black)
  • Men in Black (Frank Black)
  • 1997 CDFA Awards (Kate Spade)
  • Birthday (Kate Spade)
  • Rock Star (Lauren Hoffman)
  • Banking (Marc Jacobs)
  • Entertainment (Marc Jacobs)
  • Look Presents: Qui est-vous New York (Marc Jacobs)
  • VH-1 Fashion Awards 2001 (Marc Jacobs)
  • Bummer

Music videos[edit]

Record sleeves[edit]


  • Gas Book 11 (2003)
  • Thumbsucker (2005)
  • Humans (2006)
  • Fireworks (2008)
  • Graphics Films (2009)
  • Drawings From the Film Beginners (2011)



  1. ^ Family Tree Legends Michael C. Mills, Alameda County
  2. ^ Bradshaw, James (2011-09-10). "Beginners: A late dash out of the closet". The Globe and Mail. Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Retrieved 2010-09-13. 
  3. ^ 'The Big Interview: 'Beginners' director Mike Mills'.
  4. ^ Olsen, Mark (2010-09-05). "'Beginners' has a piece of Mike Mills' soul". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-09-13. 
  5. ^ http://032c.com/2009/getting-through-the-new-depression/ Currie, Nick, Getting Through the New Depression. 032c issue #17 (Summer, 2009). Archived February 9, 2011, at WebCite
  6. ^ Flavorwire » Miranda July Makes Art That Requires People
  7. ^ "Judd Apatow vs. Miranda July". Huck Magazine. January 5, 2013. Retrieved June 18, 2013. 
  8. ^ Hiebert, Paul (June 2, 2010). "Miranda July Makes Art That Requires People". Flavorwire. Retrieved December 5, 2011. 

External links[edit]