Wash Westmoreland

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Wash Westmoreland
Wash Westmoreland portait.jpg
Born (1966-03-04) 4 March 1966 (age 53)
Leeds, England, UK
ResidenceLos Angeles
Alma materUniversity of Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Fukuoka University
OccupationWriter, director
Richard Glatzer
(m. 2013; died 2015)

Wash Westmoreland (born 4 March 1966) is a British independent film director who has worked in television, documentaries, and independent films. Working with his late-husband, Richard Glatzer, Wash co-wrote and co-directed the 2014 release Still Alice, based on Lisa Genova's NYT best-selling book and starred Julianne Moore, Kristen Stewart, and Alec Baldwin. It premiered at Toronto International Film Festival in 2014 and was immediately picked up for distribution by Sony Picture Classics. It went on to win many awards, especially for leading actress Julianne Moore, who won the SAG Award, the Independent Spirit Award, the BAFTA, Golden Globe, and her first Academy Award for Best Actress. The film was also nominated for a Humanitas Prize in 2015 and won the feature film category award.[1]

In 2018, Westmoreland directed Colette from a script he co-wrote with Richard Glatzer and Rebecca Lenkiewicz. The film about the iconic French author stars Keira Knightley, Dominic West, Denise Gough, and Eleanor Tomlinson. It had its world premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, where it had multiple bidders and was quickly picked up for distribution by Bleecker Street and 30WEST.[2] Currently, Westmoreland is working on Earthquake Bird, a psychological noir thriller that recently finished principal photography in Tokyo, Japan. Working with a script he wrote and based on the best-selling novel by Susanna Jones, the movie stars Alicia Vikander, Riley Keough, and Naoki Kobayashi.[3]

The duo's 2006 release, Quinceañera, had a double Sundance win (Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize), and it also picked up the Humanitas Prize and the John Cassavetes Spirit Award. Together, they also directed The Last of Robin Hood in 2012 starring Kevin Kline, Susan Sarandon, and Dakota Fanning that was released in August 2014 by Goldwyn. In 2008, Westmoreland produced an MTV film Pedro about AIDS activist Pedro Zamora that was introduced on MTV by US President Bill Clinton. Currently, Wash has several projects in various stages of development but as of yet his next film has yet to be officially announced.

Early life[edit]

Wash Westmoreland was born Paul Westmoreland in Leeds, England, on 4 March 1966.[4] His father was a maintenance engineer for the CEGB and his mother worked as a receptionist at a local hair salon. Westmoreland earned his college degree in Politics and East Asian Studies at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Fukuoka University in Japan, graduating in 1990. He moved to the United States in 1992, initially living in New York City, then moving to New Orleans and finally to Los Angeles in 1995.


Early career[edit]

After working as a camera assistant on Bruce LaBruce's movie Hustler White, Westmoreland entered the adult entertainment world to try to research a feature film project The Fluffer. He managed to land a job directing for BIG Video, a minor label and directed under the name Wash West and started making movies that challenged the conventional norms of the industry. Dr Jerkoff and Mr Hard and Naked Highway were his first significant films.

It was also during this time that Westmoreland started to make his presence in mainstream films felt. He appeared briefly in Velvet Goldmine by director Todd Haynes. Haynes would go on to work with Westmoreland as a producer on Quinceañera.

Westmoreland went on to direct the cat-and-mouse thriller Animus, sci-fi based Technical Ecstasy, andThe Devil is a Bottom, which was surprisingly listed as one of the LA Weekly Critic's Top Ten Movies of the year.[5]


2001: The Fluffer[edit]

Glatzer and Westmoreland's first collaboration was The Fluffer, a look at obsession, addiction and power relationships in the gay porn industry. It premiered at Berlin and Toronto Film Festivals in 2001 and secured US distribution from First Run Features. It received mixed positive reviews and gained almost instant cult status, John Waters including it in his famous series Ten Movies That Will Corrupt You. The film starred Michael Cunio, Roxanne Day, Scott Gurney, and Deborah Harry. Around this time, he gave a candid interview about his experiences in the industry to Terri Gross on NPR's Fresh Air.

2004: Gay Republicans[edit]

Working alone, Westmoreland made a documentary during the 2004 election season, following four Log Cabin Republicans as they responded to President George W. Bush's initiative to alter the US Constitution to ensure that marriage was only legal between a man and a woman. The documentary was produced for Andrew Cohen at Bravo, and Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato at World of Wonder.[6] An extended version of the film premiered at the AFI festival in 2004 to a riotous response. It ended up winning the festival's documentary prize and gaining a distribution deal on DVD.

2006: Quinceañera[edit]

Made for a budget of under $500,000, and featuring many first-time actors, Quinceañera ended up winning both the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. It went on to win the prestigious Humanitas Prize, the John Cassavetes Prize at the Spirit Award in 2007, and many other film festival prizes all over the world.[7] It was picked up for the US by Sony Pictures Classics and distributed in over 25 countries worldwide.[8]

The plot focussed on a multigenerational Mexican-American family preparing for their daughter's quinceañera against the back drop of a gentrifying neighbourhood. The film was entirely shot in Echo Park, which is where the directors live. On release, it received strong positive reviews scoring 87% on Rotten Tomatoes.[9] The lead actress, Emily Rios, went on to have a successful career starring in Friday Night Lights, Breaking Bad, and "The Bridge".

2008: Pedro[edit]

Working with Bunim-Murray productions, Glatzer and Westmoreland executive-produced a movie called Pedro about Pedro Zamora – the AIDS activist who was cast on MTV's The Real World in 1993.[10] The movie was directed by Nick Oceano and produced by Maggie Malina and Jon Murray. For a made for MTV movie, Pedro enjoyed a surprise International festival run. It premiered at Toronto International Film Festival 2007 and Berlin 2008. President Bill Clinton recorded a special introduction for it when it premiered on television.

2013: The Last of Robin Hood[edit]

Glatzer originally heard of a book about Errol Flynn's last love affair The Big Love through his mentor, Jay Presson Allen, the screenwriter of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and Cabaret. The story is told by Flynn's girlfriend's mother, Florence Aadland with co-writer Tedd Thomey and has been praised by the likes of William Styron and W.H. Auden as the ultimate unreliable narrator story. Glatzer and Westmoreland started researching the screenplay in 2003, earning the trust of Florence's daughter, Beverly, and the friendship of author Tedd Thomey and Flynn's chauffeur in his final years, Ronnie Shedlo.[11] They wrote the first draft of the screenplay in 2007 but it was not until 2011, and the attachment of Kevin Kline, that things started to move forward. Killer Films' Christine Vachon and Pam Koffler came on to produce, and Susan Sarandon and Dakota Fanning signed on for the mother-daughter team of Florence and Beverly.[12] Production took place in Atlanta Georgia in 2013. The city's various locations were used to represent Los Angeles, New York, French Equatorial Africa, Cuba and Vancouver.

The movie premiered at Toronto International Film Festival in 2013[13] to a mixed critical response. Several critics praised Kline's performance as Oscar worthy,[14] whereas other seemed confounded by the movie's lack of a moral stance.[15] Glatzer and Westmoreland's intent had always been to focus on the permission for the relationship, afforded by the mother, rather than its morality.

2014: Still Alice[edit]

Based on a book written by Lisa Genova, Still Alice is a movie about a fifty-year-old linguistics professor who develops early onset Alzheimer's disease. Glatzer and Westmoreland were hired to adapt the book in 2011 by UK-based producing duo Lex Lutzus and James Brown.[16] Killer Films' Christine Vachon and Pam Koffler then came on as US production partners and Maria Shriver and Elizabeth Gelfand Stearns came on as executives and co-executive producers. Julianne Moore was Glatzer and Westmoreland's first choice to play Alice. She was soon joined by Kristen Stewart and Kate Bosworth, who had been a long time fan of the book.[17] Alec Baldwin then came on to round out the cast, he and Moore having worked together on the TV show 30 Rock.[18]

Glatzer and Westmoreland changed the location for the film from Boston to New York and the university from Harvard to Columbia. Shooting took place over 23 days in March 2014.

The movie was picked up by Sony Pictures Classics, and released in December 2014.[19] Some critics have suggested a connection between Glatzer's own battle with illness and the raw, honest depiction of illness in the film.[20] Glatzer died from ALS in March 2015. Moore won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance. To date, the movie has grossed just under $42 million in its worldwide box office.

2018: Colette[edit]

Set the dawn of the modern age, Colette is the story of a woman who has been long denied her voice going to extraordinary lengths to reclaim it. After years in development by Wash Westmoreland and Richard Glatzer, it was announced that Keira Knightley would star in the titular role. She was later joined by Dominic West, who plays her husband "Willy," as well as Eleanor Tomlinson, and Denise Gough. In January, Colette had its world premiere during the 2018 Sundance Film festival where it received rave reviews and ignited the first all-nighter auction of the fest that ended with Bleecker Street and 30WEST teaming on rights for the Westmoreland directed feature.[21] They have dated the film for release on September 21, 2018.

2019: Earthquake Bird[edit]

Starring Alicia Vikander, Riley Keough, and Naoki Kobayashi, Earthquake Bird is a Tokyo-set female-driven noir thriller that tells the story of young female expat who is suspected of murder after her friend goes missing in the wake of a tumultuous love triangle with a handsome local photographer. Written and directed by Westmoreland and based on the novel of the same name by Susanna Jones, Earthquake Bird was filmed entirely in Japan.[22] It is scheduled to be released in a limited release on November 1, 2019, followed by digital streaming on November 15, 2019, by Netflix.[23]

Personal life[edit]

In an interview with Ikon London Magazine at the Toronto Film Festival, Wash Westmoreland admitted that his dad 'made him make films'. He revealed in the interview: “My dad started making films. He worked at the power station all his life, and he was very interested in cinema. He would always show me and my brother films when we were kids and explain. This is a master shot. This is a tracking shot. This is a close-up. And when I was nine, I started making films with our home movie camera with him." [24]

West was married to writer and director Richard Glatzer from September 2013 until Glatzer's death of complications from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) on 10 March 2015.[25][26][27]

On his 49th birthday, Westmoreland gave an interview to Radio Leeds telling many personal stories about his life.


  1. ^ "Congratulations to the 2015 HUMANITAS Prize Winners". Humanitas. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  2. ^ Jr, Mike Fleming (21 January 2018). "Keira Knightley-Starrer 'Colette' In First Big Sundance Deal: Bleecker Street & 30WEST Team For U.S. Rights". Deadline. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  3. ^ Jr, Mike Fleming (22 March 2018). "Netflix Sets May Start For Wash Westmoreland's 'The Earthquake Bird'; Alicia Vikander, Riley Keough To Star". Deadline. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  4. ^ Prestigiacomo, Jennifer (21 February 2002). "Fluffer explores most difficult job in porn industry". University Wire.
  5. ^ "Wonder Boys and Girls". LA Weekly. December 2000. Retrieved 27 June 2007.
  6. ^ "'Hotel Rwanda' wins AFI award – latimes". Los Angeles Times. 16 November 2004. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  7. ^ "Echo Park, L.A. (2006) : Awards". IMDb. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  8. ^ "Echo Park, L.A. (2006)". IMDb. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  9. ^ "Quinceańera(2006)". Rottentomatoes.com. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  10. ^ The Daily Beast. Thedailybeast.com http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/06/01/pedro-zamora-a-hero-in-the-real-world.html. Retrieved 31 May 2015. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 October 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 October 2014. Retrieved 12 March 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "The Last of Robin Hood". TIFF.net. Archived from the original on 2 June 2015. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  14. ^ Rex Reed. "Movies (They're What I Want)". The New York Observer. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  15. ^ Peter Debruge (11 September 2013). "'The Last of Robin Hood' Review: Errol Flynn's Last Fling Falls Flat". Variety. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  16. ^ "Five Questions for Still Alice Writer/Directors Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland". Filmmakermagazine.com. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  17. ^ ""Still Alice" Interview: Kate Bosworth and Director Wash Westmoreland". 11 September 2014. Retrieved 31 May 2015 – via YouTube.
  18. ^ "Julianne Moore and Alec Baldwin Spotted Filming 30 Rock Today!". E!. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  19. ^ Ramin Setoodeh (26 September 2014). "'Still Alice' Lands Oscar-Qualifying Run for Julianne Moore". Variety. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  20. ^ Peter Debruge (9 September 2014). "'Still Alice' Review: Julianne Moore Poignantly Underplays Alzheimer's". Variety. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  21. ^ Jr, Mike Fleming (21 January 2018). "Keira Knightley-Starrer 'Colette' In First Big Sundance Deal: Bleecker Street & 30WEST Team For U.S. Rights". Deadline. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  22. ^ Jr, Mike Fleming (22 March 2018). "Netflix Sets May Start For Wash Westmoreland's 'The Earthquake Bird'; Alicia Vikander, Riley Keough To Star". Deadline. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  23. ^ McClintock, Pamela (27 August 2019). "Netflix Dates 'Marriage Story,' 'Laundromat' and Other Fall Award Films". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  24. ^ Orlova-Alvarez, Tamara; Alvarez, Joe (6 October 2018). "Wash Westmoreland: "My dad started me making films"". Ikon London Magazine. Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  25. ^ "Richard Glatzer Dies: 'Still Alice' Writer-Director Was 63". Deadline.com. 11 March 2015. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
  26. ^ "'Still Alice' Writer-Director Richard Glatzer Dies at 63". The New York Times. 11 March 2015.
  27. ^ Gilbey, Ryan (12 March 2015). "Richard Glatzer obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 March 2015.

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