Date of Birth: 1968
Massachusetts native Jesse Peretz began making his own videos and short films when he was just 15 years old. While majoring in film and photography at Harvard, Peretz played bass in a Boston-based rock band called The Lemonheads, but after directing a music video for them, he realized his first love was filmmaking. He dropped out of the band to direct seven more videos for them, as well as videos for other Boston area artists.
In 1994, with feature film directing his ultimate goal, Peretz collaborated with director Clay Tarver to create several MTV spots revolving around Jimmy McBride, a Boston taxi driver. McBride, a greasy-looking man with a heavy Boston accent, forced his opinions on anyone unfortunate enough to venture into his cab. The catch was that McBride only commented on MTV and the programs, videos and artists shown on the network, even doing a spoof of Alanis Morisette’s song, Ironic
. In 1996, Peretz directed the Foo Fighters music video for their song, Big Me
. Shot in Sydney, Australia, the video was a satire on the Mentos TV commercials and went on to win an MTV Video Award for "Best Group Video" in 1996. He went on to direct the Foo Fighters’ next video, Learn to Fly
, which won a Grammy Award for "Best Short Form Video."
Although Peretz’s first feature film, First Love, Last Rites
(1998) only took 22 days to shoot, the entire effort took several years to get to the screen. He first read the story in 1993, then wrote the script, doing rewrite after rewrite until he was happy with it. It took several years for him to get financial backing, but the film was finally shot in 1996. Starring Giovanni Ribisi
and Natasha Gregson Wagner
, the film won the "FIPRESCI Award" at the 1998 Rotterdam Film Festival.
Peretz wrote a 20-page screenplay outline for his second film, The Château
, a comedy based on an idea by Thomas Bidegain. The actors improvised the dialogue by following the outline, and filming took only 13 days. The film revolves around two non-French-speaking brothers (one black, one white), who inherit a castle in France. Starring Paul Rudd
and Romany Malco
, the feature was seen at several film festivals in 1991, then opened in limited release in North America in 2002.
It Is What It Is (2008)
First Love, Last Rites (1998)