Born: January 10, 1973
Growing up in Rochester, New York, Joe Nussbaum saw Star Wars at the age of four and decided he wanted to be a filmmaker. When he was in the sixth grade, his family got a video camera and he immediately began making his own movies. In junior high and high school he took every available video production class. The summer before his senior year he took a TV and film course at Northwestern University's National High School Institute. A number of the instructors were recent graduates of the University of Southern California's School of Cinema-Television, and their descriptions of it, plus the fact that his childhood hero, George Lucas, was USC's most famous alum, solidified his decision to apply to it.
Three years after graduating from USC, he directed and co-wrote the short film, George Lucas in Love (1999). The film was a success, winning the Canal+ Short Film Award at the Deauville Film Festival, the Audience Award for Best Short Film at the Florida Film Festival and the Film Discovery Jury Award in the Short Film category at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival.
He sent copies of the film to studio execs, and due to the intriguing title, it received a lot of attention. After signing with an agent and a manager in the summer of 1999, Nussbaum went on meetings all around Hollywood with studios and production companies. Within months, he'd signed to do a movie at Dreamworks. The project fell apart due to a shakeup within the studio, but he soon found himself attached to a project at MGM. That also dissolved, and within the next three years he was hired to direct five more movies, all of which fell through at some stage of the pre-production process.
Nussbaum kept himself busy directing TV commercials until MGM sent him a script called Sleepover. About teenage girls who go on a series of adventures one night without their parents' knowledge, this time, the movie was green lighted. Released in 2004, Sleepover starred Alexa Vega of Spy Kids fame.
Next up for Nussbaum was the college-themed comedy, Sydney White, starring Amanda Bynes. Unfortunately, neither film turned a profit at the box office. Hopefully he'll have more luck with Prom, featuring mostly newcomers.