A former history major who switched to film after losing faith in the academic life, Alan Taylor scored critical approval with his first feature, "Palookaville" (1995), about three young men in Jersey City, NJ, mired in great-rich-quick schemes. Made in association with American Playhouse, the film, which won the Kodak Award at the Venice Film Festival, owed its inspiration to short stories by Italian writer Italo Calvini as well as several classic films, notably "Big Deal on Madonna Street" (1958). Taylor demonstrated his helming skills by negotiating the fine line between absurdist deadpan humor and realism, evoking fine performances from his cast. Eschewing showy camerawork and focusing on the story, the director created a film that featured believable characters, working-class men frustrated by their situations and the strong, independent females in their lives.
Taylor first won notice as a filmmaker with his NYU graduate thesis, the short "The Burning Question" (1990), which was inspired by a sequence in Federico Fellini's "La Dolce Vita" (1960), and focused on three people who take the subway to see if a rejected lover is really going to set himself afire. Shown at numerous film festivals, and the winner of the Mobil Award for best graduate film of 1990, "The Burning Question" was seen by director Barry Levinson, who hired Taylor to direct an episode of "Homicide: Life on the Street" (NBC) in 1993. (He subsequently directed a second episode in 1995.) Taylor has also directed episodes of the Canadian TV series "Catwalk" (shown in the USA on MTV) and "Traders" (shown in the USA on Lifetime) as well as music videos, including two featuring his sister, singer Anna Domino.
Director (Feature Film)
Writer (Feature Film)
Editing (Feature Film)
Made first short, "The Burning Question" to fulfill requirements of graduation from NYU Film School
Directed episodes of "Homicide: Life on the Street" (NBC)
Feature directorial debut, "Palookaville"; screened at the Venice Film Festival
Helmed episodes of the HBO prison drama, "Oz"
Directed episodes of the NBC political drama, "The West Wing"
Directed several episodes of the hit HBO series, "Sex and the City"
Helmed episodes of the critically acclaimed series, "The Sopranos"; including the episode "Kennedy And Heidi" in the final Season, which earned him an Emmy for Directing
Directed Ian Holm in "The Emperor's New Clothes"; also penned screenplay
Directed an episode of ABC's "Lost" in the second season
Directed the pilot episode of the AMC drama series, "Mad Men"; eanred an Emmy (2008) nomination for directing the pilot episode "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes"