Generation X Directors: Spike Jonze

spike jonze

Spike Jonze might be the most influential filmmaker of his generation, not just because of his awards winning, ground breaking indie films, such as Being John Malkovich (1999), Adaptation (2002) and Where the Wild Things Are (2009) but through the entire body of his work.  Commercials and Ad campaigns, music videos, photographs, TV programs, BMX and Skateboarding magazines and companies all fall under the creative eye of Spike Jonze, filmmaker extraordinaire.

Spike Jonze was born Adam Spiegel in Rockville, Maryland in the fall of 1969 (he’s a Scorpio, ladies).  While still in high school he founded an international BMX club, co-edited Freestylin’ Magazine and created two similar magazines, Homeboy and Dirt.  Jonze attended the San Francisco Art Institute in San Francisco, California.  In the early ‘90s, Jonze was an editor for Grand Royal Magazine and senior photographer for the popular Transworld skateboarding magazine.  He also directed two skateboard movies that lead to him founding Girl Skateboards, a skateboard product distribution company.

By the late 90s and into the new millennia, Jonze was shooting commercials and music videos for popular artists like Beastie Boys, Fatboy Slim, Beck and Bjork.  In 2002 he became the producer and co-creator of MTV’s Jackass.  He was nominated by the Director’s Guild of America in 2006 for the Outstanding Achievement in Commercials award for his work with IKEA, Adidas, and The Gap.  He also acted in friend and fellow Generation Xer David O. Russel’s film Three Kings.  In 2011 his short film Scenes from the Suburbs, inspired by Arcade Fire’s album The Suburbs, and was nominated for the Golden Bear for Short Film at the Berlin International Film festival.

Currently Jonze is in post-production on his fourth film Her, staring Amy Adams, Olivia Wilde and Joaquin Phoenix.  Its plot follows a man who falls in love with the voice of his new computer; kind of like falling in love with Siri of iphone5.  The official release date is yet to be announced.

Despite the critical acclaim for Jonze’s films, of which there have only been three to date, Jonze has only garnered one Academy nomination for his first film Being John Malkovich.  However the creative eye through which he executes his work has resulted in many nominations and awards for his cast and crew.  Jonze often collaborates with writer Charlie Kaufman and actress Catherine Keener. Given his body of work, it’s not hard to imagine Jonze receiving the Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award- he’s still relatively young and continues to produce visual striking music videos, shorts and feature length films.

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