New York native Kristi Zea stumbled into the world of moviemaking in the late 1970s. Despite having attended the High School for the Performing Arts, she intended to pursue a career in journalism, but while an undergraduate began working as a stylist for a commercial photographer. Although Zea did not like the work, it was lucrative and she discovered she possessed a flair for the work. Woody Allen hired her as a design consultant on his dramatic "Interiors" (1978), which, although shot in color, had a mostly black-and-white look to it. Alan Parker hired Zea to create the costumes for the high school students in his "Fame" (1980) and her career was on its way. She subsequently designed the costumes for Parker's "Shoot the Moon" (1981) and "Birdy" (1984) and moved up to production designer on "Angel Heart" (1987). Zea also forged collaborations with James L Brooks, creating the period clothes for "Terms of Endearment" (1983) serving as art director on "Broadcast News" (1987) and designing the production of "As Good As It Gets" (1997).
Zea really came into her own, however, working with Jonathan Demme as production designer on "Married to the Mob" (1988). She created settings that ranged from a gaudy and garish look of a Lower East Side tenement to a candy-colored beauty parlor and worked in tandem with costume designer Colleen Atwood who designed the appropriately bright colored clothing. Zea continued to create impressive urban looks for the Martin Scorsese-directed "Life Lessons" segment of "New York Stories" (1989), Scorsese's gangster epic "GoodFellas" (1990), Demme's Oscar-winning thriller "The Silence of the Lambs" (1991) as well as his "Philadelphia" (1993) and "Beloved" (1998).
Zea has also begun a secondary career as a director, beginning with a Laurie Anderson music video. She helmed a 30-minute TV-movie, "A Domestic Dilemma" for HBO's "Women & Men II" (1991) and is developing a feature with Demme as producer.
Director (Feature Film)
Cast (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Art Director (Feature Film)
Costume-Wardrobe (Feature Film)
Production Designer (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Special)
First film credit, design consultant on Woody Allen's "Interiors"
Received first credit as costume designer for "Fame"; first collaboration with Alan Parker
First collaboration with director James L. Brooks, designed costumes for "Terms of Endearment"
Was an associate producer on David Seltzer's "Lucas"
Co-created (with Armin Ganz) the art direction for Parker's "Angel Heart"
First film as solo art director, Brooks' "Broadcast News"; also an associate producer
First film as production designer, "Married to the Mob"; first collaboration with Jonathan Demme
Designed the Martin Scorsese segment, "Life Lessons" of the anthology film, "New York Stories"
Was production designer on Scorsese's "GoodFellas"
Served as production designer for Demme's Academy Award-winning, "The Silence of the Lambs"
Made TV directing debut with "A Domestic Dilemma" episode of the HBO anthology, "Women & Men II"
Served as associate producer, production designer and second unit director on Demme's "Philadelphia"
Re-temed with James L. Brooks for "As Good As It Gets"
Was production designer on Demme's "Beloved"
Served as production and costume designer for the short-lived series, "Wonderland" (ABC)
Collaborated with Brett Ratner, as the second unit director and production designer for "Red Dragon"
Re-teamed with Demme for "The Manchurian Candidate"
Re-teamed with Scorsese for The "Departed"
Was the Art Director for "Revolutionary Road"; earned an Academy Award nomination for Achievement in art direction