Ryan Fleck

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Ryan Fleck
Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden in 2008.
Born Ryan K. Fleck
(1976-09-20) September 20, 1976 (age 40)
Berkeley, California
Alma mater New York University's Tisch School of the Arts
Occupation Director, screenwriter, cinematographer, editor
Years active 2002–present

Ryan K. Fleck[1] (born September 20, 1976) is an American film director, cinematographer, editor, and screenwriter best known for directing and writing the 2006 film Half Nelson and the 2008 film Sugar. He is known for his collaborations with fellow filmmaker Anna Boden.

Life and career[edit]

Fleck was born in Berkeley, California and raised in Berkeley and Oakland, California.[2] He attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts where he studied film. At this time he met Anna Boden on the set of a student film and, after he finished his thesis short film Struggle, they began dating and decided to collaborate.[3] Together they made the short documentaries Have You Seen This Man? and Young Rebels before they wrote and he directed the short film Gowanus, Brooklyn, a sample feature aiming to attract potential financiers to their undeveloped script, Half Nelson.[3][4] The short won a prize at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival and Fleck and Boden were subsequently invited to the Sundance Writer's Lab to receive professional feedback on the Half Nelson screenplay.[5] The film did not receive adequate financing for years, and while trying to initiate the project, Fleck explains: "We were trying to get it off the ground so we had plenty of time to keep writing and rewriting. I think the time was valuable because I think we made it as good as we could."[6] In spite of the effort in making the script "as good as we could" prior to filming, Fleck encouraged Half Nelson's actors to ad lib and improvise, although he and lead actor Ryan Gosling compromised many scenes in the rehearsal process as Fleck thought that Gosling's ideas were too different from the script in some cases.[6] He also had several disagreements with Boden while writing; though he claims their "back and forth" system of rewriting each other's work has always worked well.[6] Half Nelson was well received by critics and got nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for Ryan Gosling. Many other nominations went to Ryan Gosling for his role as Dan Dunne.

Fleck and Boden have since co-written and co-directed the 2008 film Sugar, which premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, about a 19-year-old Dominican who immigrates to the United States to play minor league baseball. The two wrote the screenplay after researching about many Dominican immigrants who arrive in America to play in minor league towns, saying: "The stories we heard were so fascinating that it became what we were writing before we'd even decided it was our next project".[7] They also collaborated on a screen adaptation of Ned Vizzini's young adult novel It's Kind of a Funny Story, which was released on October 8, 2010.[8][9]

In April 2017, Fleck and Boden were hired to direct the upcoming Marvel Studios film, Captain Marvel.[10]



Year Film Director Writer Notes
2000 Up at the Villa No No Post-production assistant
2005 The Puffy Chair No No Thanks
2006 Half Nelson Yes Yes Directorial debut
Co-wrote with Anna Boden
2008 Baghead No No Thanks
Sugar Yes Yes Co-wrote and direct with Anna Boden
2010 It's Kind of a Funny Story Yes Yes Co-wrote and direct with Anna Boden
2015 Mississippi Grind Yes Yes Co-wrote and direct with Anna Boden


Year Series Director Notes
2009 In Treatment Yes 7 episodes
2011 The Big C Yes 2 episodes
Co-directed with Anna Boden
2014 30 for 30 Yes 1 episode
2014-2015 Looking Yes 3 episodes
2014-2015 The Affair Yes 4 episodes
2016-2017 Billions Yes 3 episodes
Co-directed with Anna Boden


  1. ^ According to the State of California. California Birth Index, 1905-1995. Center for Health Statistics, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California. Searchable at http://www.familytreelegends.com/records/39461
  2. ^ Johnston, Sheila (23 June 2007). "Filmmakers on film: Ryan Fleck". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2008-06-07. 
  3. ^ a b Ross, Matthew. "25 NEW FACES OF INDIE FILM 2004". Filmmaker Magazine. Retrieved 2008-06-07. 
  4. ^ Carnevale, Rob. "Half Nelson - Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden interview". IndieLondon. Retrieved 2008-06-07. 
  5. ^ Gent, A. "Half Nelson Q & A With Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden". IO Film. Retrieved 2008-06-07. 
  6. ^ a b c Murray, Rebecca. "Exclusive Interview with Half Nelson Writer/Director Ryan Fleck". About.com. Retrieved 2008-06-07. 
  7. ^ "Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden, Sugar". The Reeler. 15 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-07. 
  8. ^ Sciretta, Peter (November 30, 2009). "Ryan Fleck's It's Kind of a Funny Story Begins Production". /Film. Archived from the original on June 12, 2010. Retrieved June 12, 2010. 
  9. ^ Subers, Ray (May 19, 2010). "MPAA Ratings: 'Toy Story 3,' 'Grown Ups,' 'Sorcerer's Apprentice' & More". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on June 12, 2010. Retrieved June 12, 2010. 
  10. ^ Kroll, Justin (April 19, 2017). "'Captain Marvel' Finds Directors in Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Archived from the original on April 19, 2017. Retrieved April 19, 2017. 

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