Raymond De Felitta
|Raymond De Felitta|
De Felitta at the 2014 Miami International Film Festival
June 30, 1964|
New York City, New York, U.S.
Raymond de Fellita
|Occupation||Film director, screenwriter, musician|
|Spouse(s)||Sherry Brennan (m. 2001)|
De Felitta was born in New York City. His father Frank De Felitta was Italian American and his mother Dorothy Gilbert De Felitta was of Polish-Jewish descent. De Felitta graduated from Bard College in 1985 and the American Film Institute's directing program, class of 1990.
That same year he was nominated for an Academy Award for Live Action Short Film at the 63rd Academy Awards for his AFI thesis short, Bronx Cheers. In 1991 he was awarded a Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting for his screeplay "Begin The Beguine". In 1995 he wrote and directed Cafe Society starring Frank Whaley, Peter Gallagher and Lara Flynn Boyle. The film premiered in Director’ Fortnight (Quinzaine des Réalisateurs) section of the 1995 Cannes Film Festival and was shown on the Showtime Network in 1996. It was released theatrically in 1997. In 2000 De Felitta directed the indie film Two Family House which won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival along with an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Screenplay. The film was voted the second best reviewed film of the year (after “Almost Famous”) in a poll conducted by the San Francisco Chronicle.  In 2003 he directed Paul Reiser's The Thing About My Folks which received the Audience Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The film was released in 2005 by Picture House. In 2006 De Felitta directed his first documentary 'Tis Autumn: The Search for Jackie Paris, which won the Best Jazz Documentary at the Kansas City Filmmakers Jubilee. The film was released in 2007 by Outsider Pictures.
In 2009, De Felitta wrote and directed the independent film City Island, which received the First Place Audience Award at the Tribeca Film Festival. The film opened in theaters 19 March 2010 and had a long theatrical run.
In 2012, De Felitta directed Booker's Place: A Mississippi Story. The documentary was inspired by a previous documentary that De Felitta’s father, Frank De Felitta, made for NBC News in 1966 titled “Mississippi: A Self Portrait”. The earlier film contained a frank and shocking interview with an African-American waiter, Booker Wright, who told the cameras what it was like working in a whites-only restaurant in the south. The resulting fallout for the waiter and his family was the subject of the second documentary. “Booker’s Place: A Mississippi Story” was the subject of a full one-hour episode of “Dateline NBC”.
In 2014, De Felitta directed “Rob The Mob”, which starred Michael Pitt, Nina Arianda, Andy Garcia and Ray Romano. It marked De Felitta’s second collaboration with Garcia, who had starred in and co-produced “City Island”.
In 2016, De Felitta directed “Madoff,” a four-hour mini-series for ABC television based on the rise and fall of the notorious financier Bernard L. Madoff. The film starred Richard Dreyfuss and Blythe Danner. De Felitta was nominated for a Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies For Television and Mini-Series.
De Felitta wrote the libretto for “Buddy’s Tavern”, a musical version of his film “Two Family House.” The musical won the prestigious Richard Rodgers Award which is given annually through the American Academy of Arts and Letters. It 2010 it received a production at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s Summer Musical Workshop. Later that year it had a limited run at the Hudson Guild Theater in New York City. In 2012 it received a workshop production at The York Theater Company, in New York City. De Felitta is currently working on a musical based on his documentary “Booker’s Place: A Mississippi Story”.
De Felitta is a lifelong jazz pianist. In 1994 he self-produced his first CD, "Movies 'til Dawn." His second CD was a piano/vocal collaboration with Peter Bogdanovich titled “Monday Morning Quarterbacks”. His third CD, "Fatha Land," was produced in 2007. This album is a tribute to Earl Hines. His fourth CD, “Pre-War Charm” (featuring his jazz trio) will be released in late 2017.
De Felitta has been married to Sherry Brennan since 2001 and has one son, Lorenzo De Felitta.
- Bronx Cheers (1990)
- Cafe Society (1995)
- Two Family House (2000)
- The Thing About My Folks (2005)
- 'Tis Autumn: The Search for Jackie Paris (2006)
- City Island (2009)
- Booker's Place: A Mississippi Story (2012)
- Rob the Mob (2014)
- Madoff (miniseries) (2016)