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Whit Stillman

Whit Stillman

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Metropolitan: The Criterion Collection... One of the most significant achievements of the American independent film... more info $26.99was $39.95 Buy Now

The Last Days Of Disco: The Criterion... The Last Days Of Disco is a clever, comic return to the nighttime party scene in... more info $26.99was $39.98 Buy Now



Also Known As: John Whitney Stillman Died:
Born: January 25, 1952 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Washington, Washington D.C., USA Profession: screenwriter, director, producer, actor, sales agent (for Spanish films), book editor, publishing assistant, journalist

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Whit Stillman wowed the American cinematic community as an indie auteur wunderkind in the early 1990s, known for his penchant for witty, semi-autobiographical examinations of America's privileged strata in a trilogy of films that would earn him the much-bandied sobriquet "the WASP Woody Allen." A product of New York society, Stillman spent his early youth in publishing and abroad before taking over an agency for illustrators, working on the side on a script for and financing "Metropolitan" (1990). The slice of debutante haute couture earned him indie darling status and real financing for his follow-up films, "Barcelona" (1994) and "The Last Days of Disco" (1998), each an ensemble piece reflecting different periods of his youth in comic kaleidoscope of social byplay. He moved to Europe at the end of the 1990s and spent the ensuing decade attempting to produce films. Little came of it, however, until his return to the United States and to his low-budget, no-star roots, bringing his comedy-of-manners oeuvre to a college campus with "Damsels in Distress" (2011). In spite of his short CV, Stillman would make himself much beloved in indie circles, creator of what The New York Times summarized as "odd,...

Whit Stillman wowed the American cinematic community as an indie auteur wunderkind in the early 1990s, known for his penchant for witty, semi-autobiographical examinations of America's privileged strata in a trilogy of films that would earn him the much-bandied sobriquet "the WASP Woody Allen." A product of New York society, Stillman spent his early youth in publishing and abroad before taking over an agency for illustrators, working on the side on a script for and financing "Metropolitan" (1990). The slice of debutante haute couture earned him indie darling status and real financing for his follow-up films, "Barcelona" (1994) and "The Last Days of Disco" (1998), each an ensemble piece reflecting different periods of his youth in comic kaleidoscope of social byplay. He moved to Europe at the end of the 1990s and spent the ensuing decade attempting to produce films. Little came of it, however, until his return to the United States and to his low-budget, no-star roots, bringing his comedy-of-manners oeuvre to a college campus with "Damsels in Distress" (2011). In spite of his short CV, Stillman would make himself much beloved in indie circles, creator of what The New York Times summarized as "odd, tender, uncategorizable films that must utterly confound the market researchers whose opinions shape Hollywood. Good."

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Last Days of Disco, The (1998) Director
2.
  Barcelona (1994) Director
3.
  Metropolitan (1990) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 At Sundance (1995) Himself
2.
 Linea del Cielo, La (1984) Thornton
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Grew up in Manhattan and Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY except during Democratic administrations (when he lived in Washington, DC)
1972:
Made film acting debut as an extra in "Hammersmith is Out", a Spanish production filmed in Mexico starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton
1972:
Left Harvard during his sophomore year to visit Mexican relatives; learned Spanish; published his first article, about political violence in Mexico, in <i>The Village Voice</i> (date approx.)
:
After graduating from Harvard, aspired to work in TV and film production but landed in the training program at Doubleday
:
Worked as editor and freelance journalist in book and magazine publishing; became acting editor at Doubleday and executive editor of a daily world news summary while writing fiction and journalism for such publications as <i>Harper's</i>, <i>The Wall Street Journal</i>, and <i>The Village Voice</i> in the late 1970s
1979:
Left for Spain to woo his future wife, a Barcelona native
1980:
Returned to Spain to marry
1980:
Entered film industry representing Spanish films for foreign sales
1983:
Began appearing as "the quirky American" in Spanish films: "Sal Gorda/Fat Salt" and Fernando Colomo's "La linea del Cielo/Skyline"
:
Took over family business, an agency representing cartoonists and illustrators (including French artists Sempe and Pierre Le-Tan)
1989:
First feature film as director and writer, "Metropolitan" (made on a budget of approximately $250,000); received Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay
1991:
While in L.A., approached by Castle Rock president Martin Shafer and president of production Liz Glotzer; they expressed interest in funding "Barcelona" while giving Stillman complete creative control (date approx.)
1992:
Started his own Spanish production company (date approx.)
1994:
Feature producing debut, "Barcelona"; also wrote and directed
1998:
Made third film, "The Last Days of Disco"
1998:
Signed contract with Farrar, Straus & Giroux to write novel based on "The Last Days of Disco"
2010:
Played a party goer in "The Imperialists Are Still Alive!"
2012:
After a long hiatus, returned to features as writer, director, and producer of comedy "Damsels in Distress"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Milbrook School: Millbrook , New York -
Harvard University: Cambridge , Massachusetts - 1973

Notes

"Ultimately, despite the unusual circumstance of shooting in Spain and having access to Hollywood funding, Stillman's mode of production remained the same, as has the essential personality of his films. Visually, 'Barcelona' retains the simple, unobstrusive style of 'Metropolitan'. Stillman's directorial style is designed to give him the greatest amount of freedom in the editing room; it also accommodates his penchant for extended close-ups. Perhaps Stillman's knack for holding onto his artistic vision lies in his belief that the writing and editing stages are where his production really takes place. It is as a writer that Stillman creates his style as an auteur, and it is in the editing room that he refines that style."

--From "Sketches of Spain" by Noam Christopher, Filmmaker, Summer 1994.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Irene Stillman. Married in 1980; from Barcelona, Spain.

Family close complete family listing

great-grandfather:
James Stillman. Financier. Helped start Citibank; knew J P Morgan personally.
daughter:
Ann Stillman. Born c. 1986; mother, Irene Stillman.
daughter:
Isabel Stillman. Born c. 1991; mother, Irene Stillman.

Bibliography close complete biography

"The Last Days of Disco: With Cocktails at Petrossian Afterwards" Farrar, Straus & Giroux

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