School of Cinematic Arts Directory Profile

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Jed Dannenbaum, Ph.D.

Professor of the Practice of Cinematic Arts
Work Phone: 213-821-5635
Office: SCA 445

Jed Dannenbaum, Ph.D., is a film producer, writer and director with an emphasis on nonfiction.

His “making of” programs—on movies directed by filmmakers such as Woody Allen, James L. Brooks, Cameron Crowe, Jonathan Demme, Nora Ephron, Michael Mann, Mike Nichols and Martin Scorsese—have appeared frequently on HBO and Showtime, and on DVD. Examples of his work can be seen on the DVD and Blu-ray releases of Almost Famous, Collateral, Everest, Memoirs of a Geisha, Miami Vice and Public Enemies.

Jed’s historical documentary Dawn’s Early Light, on newspaper editor/civil rights advocate Ralph McGill, was a national primetime PBS special, with Burt Lancaster as the voice of McGill. Other documentaries include Sister Aimee, on evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson, and Moving Toward the Light, on the making of a public work of art. Jed also produced the fiction feature Blue Heaven, a drama of domestic violence that was distributed in the US and seventeen countries internationally.

Co-author of the Simon & Schuster book Creative Filmmaking From the Inside Out, Jed has also written a history book and numerous academic articles. He has interviewed such prominent figures as Julian Bond, Tom Brokaw, Jimmy Carter, Sean Connery, Robert De Niro, Milos Forman, Gene Hackman, John Lasseter, Hugh Laurie, George Lucas, Steve Martin, Paul Newman, Nick Nolte, Itzhak Perlman, Steven Spielberg, Jessica Tandy, Twyla Tharp, Robin Williams, Bruce Willis, Reese Witherspoon and Andrew Young. His interview with Anthony Minghella was incorporated into the book Minghella on Minghella. As an academic speaker, he has given presentations on “Story”, “Non-fiction Storytelling”, “Nurturing Creativity”, “The Creative Mind”,“Teaching Creative Thinking Across Disciplinary Lines”, and “Intuition and the ‘Aha!’ Moment: The Origin of Breakthrough Ideas.”

Jed is currently Principal Investigator on a grant from the National Science Foundation to document a five-year pilot program for 1st through 5th grade students in underserved communities to interest them in engineering careers. He is also writing a book on the history, science and art of stories and storytelling in our lives.