Vikram Jayanti

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Vikram Teja Jayanti is a documentary filmmaker responsible for a number of well known full-feature documentary films.[1] Two of his films, for which he has production credits, have received Academy Awards for Best Full-Feature Documentary; the 1997 blockbuster When We Were Kings[2] and 2005's Born Into Brothels. A sampling of his other work includes Innocents Abroad, The Man Who Bought Mustique, James Ellroy's Feast of Death, Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine,[3] and Lincoln.[4] He and his films have also won a number of awards, including the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, and have been nominated for others.[5][6]

Jayanti is currently a Film Studies tutor at University College London.[7] He is a frequent collaborator with the award-winning film-maker Anthony Wall, Editor of BBC Arena.

Early life[edit]

Vikram Jayanti was born in New York in 1955, and spent his childhood variously in France, Italy, Switzerland, India and Costa Rica. He completed his education at Tonbridge School and attended the University of Warwick.

Career[edit]

After seeing Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets and Werner Herzog's The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser in the same week he moved to Los Angeles in 1977 to become a filmmaker. He began producing anthropological documentaries, including producing In Her Own Time about the anthropologist Barbara Myerhoff,[8] and later ran two documentary film festivals in Los Angeles. His future work garnered numerous awards, such as When We Were Kings, which won a Special Jury Prize at Sundance and an Oscar in 1997.

Since then he has directed a series of feature documentaries which his friends call his American Monsters series, about larger-than-life characters such as Ken Kesey, James Ellroy, Julian Schnabel, Garry Kasparov [9] and Abraham Lincoln, and he was rumored to be focused on Phil Spector recently.[10] The Man Who Bought Mustique, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2000, was nominated for a BAFTA, and the UK's Channel Four version of the film won the Indie award for Best Documentary in 2000.

Jayanti is known for "his gonzo choice of subjects," and he "has also produced high-profile television documentaries with his signature combination of eccentricity and amazement."[11]

References[edit]