Tom Donahue (filmmaker)

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Tom Donahue
Tom Donahue.jpeg
Born (1968-05-18) May 18, 1968 (age 50)
Rhinebeck, New York
Occupation Film director, producer

Tom Donahue (born May 18, 1968) is an American film director and producer. His two latest feature documentaries are HBO's Casting By, which was nominated for an Emmy, and Thank You for Your Service, which was released theatrically by Gathr Films in 2016.[1] In 2010, Donahue founded the production company CreativeChaos vmg with Ilan Arboleda and Steve Edwards.

Film career[edit]

As director[edit]

Donahue co-directed an episode of the 10-part AFI series, 100 Years/100 Movies (with Linda Schaffer), which was broadcast on TNT in 1998. It was called The Antiheroes, and included interviews with Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood and Paul Schrader and was narrated by James Woods. The series was executive produced by Richard Schickel and Mel Stuart. [2]

In 2005, Donahue directed the narrative short, Thanksgiving (starring James Urbaniak and Seymour Cassel & written by Sean Gullette).[3]

He made his feature documentary debut with Guest of Cindy Sherman (as co-director with Paul H-O) which premiered at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival.[4] The film opened theatrically in March 2009 and had its broadcast premiere on the Sundance Channel in May 2009. [5]

Nathan Lee wrote in The New York Times, "At once a fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse, bittersweet autobiography and witty trip down art-world memory lane".[6] John Anderson wrote in Variety,

If a doc manages to inform and entertain, it's ahead of the competition. If it features engaging personalities (or penguins), so much the better. And if it manages not to lose its assets while dipping its toe into murkier issues -- becoming, say, a brow-knitting thumb-sucker -- then it's really a work of art; such is Guest of Cindy Sherman.[7]

Donahue directed the feature documentary, Casting By, which was hailed as one of the top five documentary films of 2013 by the National Board of Review and reviewed as "outstanding" by American film critic Leonard Maltin.[8][9][10] It premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival (where it was picked up for broadcast by HBO Documentary Films).[11][12] It premiered domestically at the 2012 New York Film Festival.[13] Casting By was lauded by the Casting Society of America. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced five days before Casting By's premiere on HBO that its Board of Governors had approved the creation of a branch for casting directors. On the night of the 29th Annual Artios Awards hosted by the Casting Society of America, the Casting By filmmakers received a standing ovation for its pivotal role in spurring Academy recognition.[14][15]

In 2014, it won the Gracie Award for Outstanding Documentary of the Year from the National Alliance for Women in Media.[16] In July 2014, the film was nominated for the News & Documentary Emmy Award for Outstanding Arts and Culture Programming.[17]

Donahue's feature documentary, Thank You For Your Service, premiered at DOC NYC in November 2015.[18] Called "gut-wrenching" and "important" by The New York Times, the film is an examination of failed mental health policy in the U.S. military.[19] The film argues the creation of a Behavioral Health Corps is necessary to ensure accountability in the military chain of command toward mental health.[20] Thank You For Your Service includes interviews with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, General David Petraeus, General Loree Sutton, General Peter Chiarelli, Gary Sinise, Sebastian Junger and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen. These interviews are interwoven with the experiences of four combat veterans who fought major battles while deployed in Operations Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Enduring Freedom (OEF).

In its review, The Hollywood Reporter wrote, "If this film cannot spur politicians to act, nothing will."[21]

The Los Angeles Times review stated, "With the same clarity and fluency he brought to far sunnier material in Casting By, Donahue pinpoints the devastating intersection of personal trauma and institutional neglect in an age of perpetual war."[20]

A CreativeChaos vmg production, the film was produced by Ilan Arboleda, Matt Tyson and Donahue in association with the Sprayregen Family Foundation and Regina K. Scully & Artemis Rising Foundation (The Invisible War, The Hunting Ground), executive-produced by Gerald Sprayregen and co-executive produced by Regina K. Scully.[22] It won Best Documentary at the 2016 G.I. Film Festival and the Impact Award at the 2016 Illuminate Film Festival.[23] G.I. Film Festival Co-Founder Laura Law-Millett called it "one of the most powerful, impactful films I have ever seen."[24]

It was acquired by Gathr Films and opened theatrically in September / October 2016 in New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.[25] The American Red Cross and U.S. Senators Angus King, Patty Murray, Ron Wyden, and Joe Donnelly hosted the D.C. premiere; King and Donnelly attended and participated in a Q&A hosted by CBS' David Martin.[26] The film had its New York premiere aboard the USS Intrepid in New York Harbor, hosted by the Thayer Leader Development Group at West Point.[27]

U.S. Senator Angus King (I-ME) wrote about the film:

Art has the power to raise awareness of important questions and can also often spur us to action. By highlighting the personal struggles of individual service members who returned home from Iraq, Thank You For Your Service is a powerful indictment of our treatment of many of those returning with scars not as clear as those from physical injuries but often no less debilitating. As the film vividly illustrates, in the early years of our post-9/11 wars, the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs simply were not prepared to deal with the large numbers of returning veterans who needed access to mental health services. The inescapable conclusion is that when we commit America's men and women to war, we must always think long and hard about how we will take care of them when they return. Raising awareness is the first step in understanding this imperative, and as such, this film acts as both a powerful tribute to those to whom we owe so much as well as a call to a renewed commitment on their behalf.[24]

In June 2016, Variety announced that Donahue - in association with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and the Artemis Rising Foundation - will be directing a feature documentary exploring the issues surrounding gender inequality in Hollywood.[28] The film is being produced by Ilan Arboleda, Kerianne Flynn and Donahue.

As producer[edit]

In 2003, Donahue produced and edited Alfredo de Villa's debut feature, Washington Heights, winner of five Best Picture awards at festivals worldwide, the Audience Award at Los Angeles Film Festival, and Special Jury Award at the TriBeCa Film Festival. Washington Heights also received a Gotham Award nomination for the IFP Open Palm Award.[29][30][31]

Donahue was co-producer on Ramin Bahrani's debut feature, Man Push Cart, which premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.[32] He produced the feature documentary, Highway Courtesans (directed by Mystelle Brabbee), which had its world premiere at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam and its U.S. premiere at South by Southwest.[33][34]

He produced the feature film Ponies, directed by Nick Sandow (Orange Is the New Black) and starring John Ventimiglia (The Sopranos) and Kevin Corrigan.[35] It was named a New York Times Critics Pick upon its release in 2012.[36]

As editor[edit]

Donahue's first narrative feature as editor was Raphael Nadjari's The Shade (starring Richard Edson). The film premiered at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival in the Un Certain Regard section.[37] He also edited Raphael Nadjari's next two films, I am Josh Polonsky's Brother and Apartment#5C (which premiered as part of the 2002 Cannes Directors' Fortnight).[38]

He edited the IFC Films feature documentary, Keep the River on Your Right based on the book of the same name by Tobias Schneebaum.[39] The film won the 2001 Gotham Spirit Truer than Fiction Award & the Jury Prize at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam.[40][41]

In 2005, Donahue edited IFC's Wanderlust, a feature doc/narrative directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini and starring Paul Rudd and Tom McCarthy.[citation needed]

For television, Donahue edited several episodes of Showtime's acclaimed live action version of Ira Glass' This American Life (nominated for three Emmys in 2007).[42] He edited the pilots for the reality series, Growing Up Gotti, I Pity the Fool, Heroes Among Us and The Cho Show and has edited episodes of Iconoclasts, Salt'N Pepa, Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane and HBO's Real Sex.[citation needed]

Filmography[edit]

Features[edit]

Year Title Director Producer Notes Rotten Tomatoes
2003 Washington Heights Yes 79%[43]
2006 Man Push Cart Yes as co-Producer 88%[44]
2006 Highway Courtesans Yes 50%[45]
2008 Guest of Cindy Sherman Yes as co-Director 70%[46]
2012 Ponies Yes Not Yet Rated[47]
2012 Casting By Yes Yes Co-Produced with Kate Lacey, Joanna Colbert, and Ilan Arboleda 92%[48]
2015 Thank You for Your Service Yes Yes Co-Produced with Ilan Arboleda and Matt Tyson Not Yet Rated
2018 This Changes Everything Yes Yes Not Yet Rated

Short films[edit]

Year Title Director Producer Notes Rotten Tomatoes
2005 Thanksgiving Yes Yes Not Yet Rated

References[edit]

  1. ^ "List of Nominees for the 35th News & Documentary for Outstanding Arts and Culture Programming". The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved July 23, 2014. 
  2. ^ "AFI's 100 Years… 100 Movies: The Antiheroes (1998)". IMDb. Retrieved July 29, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Thanksgiving". 2014 Tribeca Enterprises LLC. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Guest of Cindy Sherman". 2014 Tribeca Enterprises LLC. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Tom Donahue: Casting By Interview". Call Me Adam. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  6. ^ "For the Love of Art". New York Times. Retrieved July 29, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Review: 'Guest of Cindy Sherman'". Variety. Retrieved July 29, 2014. 
  8. ^ "National Board of Review Announces 2013 Award Winners". National Board of Reviews. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  9. ^ "'Her' Named the Best Film by National Board of Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  10. ^ "'Her' Named the Best Film by National Board of Review". Indiewire. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Toronto 2012: HBO Picks Up Tom Donahue Doc 'Casting By,' Also Circling Liz Garbus' 'Love, Marilyn'". Indiewire. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Toronto 2012: HBO Documentary Films Takes U.S. TV Rights to 'Casting By'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  13. ^ "NYFF DAILY, FRIDAY 10/12". Film Society Lincoln Center. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  14. ^ "'Her' Named the Best Film by National Board of Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Casting Directors Excited by Academy's Recognition". backstage. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  16. ^ "2014 Gracie Awards Winners". Alliance for All Women in Media. Archived from the original on February 26, 2015. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  17. ^ "NOMINEES ANNOUNCED FOR THE 35th ANNUAL NEWS & DOCUMENTARY EMMY® AWARDS | The Emmy Awards - The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences". emmyonline.com. Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  18. ^ "THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE". DOCNYC. Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  19. ^ Jaworowski, Ken (27 October 2016). "Review: 'Thank You for Your Service,' Stories of Soldiers and Suicide". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  20. ^ a b "Documentary 'Thank You for Your Service' advocates for mental health services for military veterans". Los Angeles Times. 6 October 2016. Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  21. ^ "'Thank You for Your Service': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  22. ^ "Thank You for Your Service (2015)". Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  23. ^ ""Thank You for Your Service" Film Documentary on War Trauma to be Presented at Hamilton Stage in Rahway". TAPinto. Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  24. ^ a b "What People Are Saying". Thank You For Your Service The Film. Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  25. ^ Olson, Nicole (14 September 2016). "Gathr Films Acquires Documentary Thank You For Your Service". gathrnews. Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  26. ^ "STATE OF EMERGENCY IN CHARLOTTE -- What THE HILL wants to know -- Doris Kearns Goodwin's 'ultimate' OBAMA exit interview -- B'DAY: 'Campaign' Carl Cameron". POLITICO. Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  27. ^ "How to Bring War Trauma Doc 'Thank You For Your Service' to a Theater Near You". Movie Buzzers. Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  28. ^ McNary, Dave (8 June 2016). "Geena Davis Producing Documentary on Hollywood's Gender Inequality (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  29. ^ "Los Angeles Film Festival". Los Angeles Film Festival. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  30. ^ "Tribeca Film Festival 2002 Winners". IMDb. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  31. ^ "IFP Announces Nominees for Gothams' Open Palm and Breakthrough Actor Prizes". Indiewire. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  32. ^ "2006 Sundance Film Festival, Man Pushes Cart". Sundance Institute. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  33. ^ "Highway Courtesans". International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  34. ^ "Mystelle Brabbee". IMDb. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  35. ^ "Ponies". IMDb. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  36. ^ "Ponies". New York Times. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  37. ^ "The Shade". 2009 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  38. ^ "FESTIVALS: 2002 Cannes Film Festival Directors Fortnight Lineup". Indiewire. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  39. ^ "Keep the River on Your Right: A Modern Cannibal Tale". IFC. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  40. ^ "Tom Donahue: TriBeCa All Access". TriBeCa Film Institute. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  41. ^ "AWARD WINNERS AND JURIES 1988-2013". International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. Archived from the original on February 25, 2014. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  42. ^ "List of Nominations 2007". TVWeek. Archived from the original on September 24, 2012. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  43. ^ "Washington Heights". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  44. ^ "Man Push Cart". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  45. ^ "Highway Courtesans". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  46. ^ "Guest of Cindy Sherman". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  47. ^ "Ponies". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  48. ^ "Casting By". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 24, 2014.