Errol Morris (Director and Producer)
Roger Ebert has said, "After twenty years of reviewing films, I haven't found another filmmaker who intrigues me more…Errol Morris is like a magician, and as great a filmmaker as Hitchcock or Fellini." Recently, the Guardian listed him as one of the ten most important film directors in the world.
Standard Operating Procedure is Morris’s eighth feature-length documentary film. His preceding film, The Fog of War, a profile of former Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, received the 2003 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
His films have won many awards, including the Oscar, the Edgar from the Mystery Writers of America, the Golden Horse (Taiwan International Film Festival), the Grand Jury Prize (Sundance Film Festival) and have appeared on many ten best lists. They have been honored by the National Society of Film Critics, the National Board of Review, the New York, Chicago, Boston and Los Angeles film critics. Roger Ebert, in fact, has placed Morris’s first feature Gates of Heaven on his list of the 10 Best Films of All Time. In 1988, the Washington Post surveyed 100 film critics around the country and picked The Thin Blue Line as the best film of the year.
In 2000 and 2001, Morris directed two seasons of a television series, First Person, for Bravo and the Independent Film Channel. The series uses his unique interviewing machine, the Interrotron. A system of modified Teleprompters, the Interrotron allows interviewees to address Morris’s image on the monitor while looking directly into the lens of camera, which lets Morris and the audience achieve eye contact with his subjects. "It’s the difference between a faux first person and the true first person," says Morris. "The Interrotron inaugurates the birth of first-person cinema." The Interrotron was used for the interview with Robert S. McNamara in The Fog of War and for all the interviews in Standard Operating Procedure.
Morris has made numerous television commercials, including campaigns for Apple, Citibank, Cisco Systems, Intel, American Express, Nike, and, in what he considers his most impressive achievement, over 100 commercials for Miller Hi-Life. In 2001, he won an Emmy for directing the commercial "Photobooth" for PBS.
Morris has received five fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a MacArthur Fellowship. In 2007 he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was a graduate student at Princeton University and the University of California-Berkeley.
In 1999, Morris' work received a full retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York; and in 2001, he received a special tribute at the Sundance Film Festival.
In addition to his current feature documentary, Errol Morris has co-authored, with Philip Gourevitch, a book on Abu Ghraib, also titled Standard Operating Procedure. The book, which is based on Morris’s interviews and extensive investigation for the film elaborates on the material in the film, and marks a unique collaboration in the history of film and literature. It is no more the "book of the movie" than the film is the "movie of the book." Rather, the two works are each unique narratives, by two masters of non- fiction in response to one of the defining events of our time. Gourevitch is the Editor of the Paris Review, a long time staff writer at The New Yorker, and the prize-winning author of We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With our Families: Stories from Rwanda and A Cold Case. Penguin Press will publish the book in 2008 to concur with the release of the film.
Recently, Morris has also been a regular contributor to the opinion pages of The New York Times with his blog, Zoom, a series of essays on truth and photography. A book of essays based on Zoom (Which Came First, The Chicken or the Egg?) will also be published by Penguin in 2008.
Morris lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with his wife, Julia Sheehan, an art historian, and their son, Hamilton.
Errol Morris Filmography
- Standard Operating Procedure (2008)
- The Fog of War (2003)
- Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. (1999)
- Fast, Cheap & Out of Control (1997)
- A Brief History of Time (1991)
- A Thin Blue Line (1988)
- Vernon, Florida (1981)
- Gates of Heaven (1978)
- First Person (2000-2002)
Julie Bilson Ahlberg (Producer)
Julie Ahlberg produced independent feature films and television movies before turning her talents to making award-winning documentaries and commercials. In 1994, she served as Supervising Field Producer for 500 Nations, a documentary miniseries on Native Americans for CBS, executive-produced and hosted by Kevin Costner. For commercial director Joe Pytka, Ahlberg produced numerous spots for national and international campaigns for such clients as Lotus, FedEx, Pepsi, Apple and Coors. She’s also worked with European directors, producing commercials for Credit Suisse, Volkswagen, Estrella, and Miller Lite.
Ahlberg’s creative association with Errol Morris began in 2001. She has since collaborated with him on all his documentaries and commercials, producing major campaigns for United Airlines, Apple, Cisco Systems, Intel, Miller Hi Life, Nike, and American Express. In 2004, Ahlberg produced The Fog of War, Morris’s documentary profile of Robert McNamara, which won the Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary. Ahlberg also produced Morris’ two celebrated "special short intro films" to the Oscar broadcasts in 2002 and 2007. Their collaboration continues with Standard Operating Procedure, Morris’ groundbreaking exploration of the Abu Ghraib scandal.
Robert Chappell (Director of Photography)
Beginning as a video artist in the Alternative Media movement in New York, Robert Chappell went on to become a successful documentary cameraman, shooting an eclectic list of projects in the U.S. and around the world.
The projects ranged from experimental films with Yoko Ono; to the avant-garde Robert Wilson’s Civil Wars; to HBO's production of Elliot Erwitt's The Great Pleasure Hunt; to Lebanon's war zones in Coming of Age in Armageddon; and numerous films for British and German television. Errol Morris’ Standard Operating Procedure is his latest film.
Robert shot the documentary In Our Water, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 1982. Not long after, he began a collaboration with Errol Morris, and photographed the highly acclaimed The Thin Blue Line. In the 1990's Robert based himself in Southeast Asia, where he photographed and directed films for National Geographic, NHK, Channel 4 and the BBC. During that time, he also photographed several theatrical features, including Jakarta and The Sorceress Dirah. Upon returning to the U.S. he began collaborating with Errol Morris once more, photographing the television series First Person, the Academy Award winning The Fog of War, and Standard Operating Procedure.
Robert Richardson, ASC (Director of Photography)
Robert Richardson studied film and art at the Rhode Island School of Design before earning his master’s degree at the American Film Institute. He is a two-time Academy Award winner for Best Cinematography, for The Aviator (2004) and JFK (1992), and has also earned Oscar nominations for Snow Falling on Cedars (2000), Born on the Fourth of July (1990), and Platoon (1987). Richardson received his eighth ASC Outstanding Achievement Award nomination for The Good Shepherd. In addition to Standard Operating Procedure, his credits include such memorable films as A Few Good Men; Heaven and Earth; The Horse Whisperer; Casino; Salvador; Wall Street; The Doors; Natural Born Killers; Nixon; Wag the Dog; Four Feathers; and Errol Morris’s Fast, Cheap and Out of Control.
Andy Grieve (Editor)
Andy Grieve grew up north of Chicago, half way to Kenosha. He left the Midwest to study film at New York University, graduating with the class of '99. For the next few years he continued to learn the craft, absorbing the twisted wisdom of editor/mentor Hank Corwin. Experienced in both short and long-form, narrative and documentary, notable editing credits, in addition to Standard Operating Procedure, include Michel Gonrdy's music video The Hardest Button to Button for The White Stripes; and Jason Kohn's Manda Bala (Send a Bullet), winner of the 2007 Sundance Grand Jury Prize for Best US Documentary. Andy lives with his wife and two cats in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.
Steve Hardie (Production Designer)
In 1981, Hardie graduated from Film School in London with a B.A. (Hon's) in Photographic Arts (Film). He entered the film industry the following year on Star Wars: Return of the Jedi as a production assistant and camera department trainee. While continuing to explore the possibilities within the industry by brief stints in the special FX make-up department (Highlander) and the art department (Never Say Never Again, Half Moon Street and Hammer Horror), Hardie also pursued his cinematography passion, shooting a few small independent projects. Eventually settling in the art department, Hardie made his debut as a Production Designer on Clive Barker's Nightbreed at Pinewood Studios. He has gone on to design a number of other films, including the British Academy Award winning An Ungentlemanly Act, partially shot on the Falkland Islands; two six part U.K. television series; Hellraiser III; Lord of Illusions; Buffy the Vampire Slayer; and numerous commercials. Most recently Hardie has collaborated with Errol Morris on Standard Operating Procedure, The Fog of War, which won the 2003 Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary, and numerous TV commercials.
Danny Elfman (Music)
Danny Elfman was born in 1953, in Los Angeles, California, where he currently resides. Over the last 20 years, he has established himself as one of Hollywood’s leading film composers. In addition to his score for Standard Operating Procedure, Elfman has written close to 50 film scores featuring his unique sound, including Batman, Spider- man, Men in Black, Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. In addition to these signature soundtracks, he has scored such diverse films as Big Fish, Good Will Hunting, Dolores Claiborne, Midnight Run, To Die For, Dead Presidents, Sommersby and Chicago. For television, Elfman created the infectious themes to The Simpsons and Desperate Housewives. His honors include a Grammy, an Emmy and three Academy Award nominations.
Elfman’s first experience in performing and composition was for a French theatrical troupe, "Le Grand Magic Circus," at the age of 18. The following year, he collaborated with his brother Richard performing musical theatre on the streets of California. Elfman then worked with a "surrealistic musical cabaret" for six years, using this outlet to explore multifarious musical genres. For 17 years he wrote and performed with rock band Oingo Boingo, producing such hits as "Weird Science" and "Dead Man’s Party."
In 2005, Elfman worked with longtime collaborator Tim Burton on the films Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the stop-motion animated musical Corpse Bride. Other projects include the scores for the Disney CGI animated feature A Day in the Life of Wilbur Robinson and Paramount’s adaptation of Charlotte’s Web, Disney’s Meet the Robinsons, and Universal’s The Kingdom.
Danny’s upcoming projects include Guillermo Del Toro’s Hellboy 2 and Wanted starring Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman.
Kyle Cooper (Graphics and Animation Designer)
Kyle Cooper has directed over 100 film title sequences, and has been credited with "Almost single-handedly revitalizing the main title sequence as an art form" (Details magazine). He is the founder of two internationally recognized motion design companies: in 2003 he founded Prologue films, and in 1996 he co-founded Imaginary Forces. Creativity magazine named Cooper one of the "Top 50 biggest and best thinkers and doers from the last 20 years of advertising and consumer culture." He holds the honorary title of Royal Designer for Industry from the Royal Society of Arts in London, and is a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale. Cooper earned a M.F.A. in Graphic Design from the Yale School of Art, where he studied independently with Paul Rand.