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Van Sant, Gus

VAN SANT, Gus



Nationality: American. Born: Louisville, Kentucky, 24 July 1952. Education: Studied painting, then switched emphasis to film, and graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design. Career: Began making films using a Super-8 camera, 1964; worked as an assistant to Roger Corman, and made commercials for a New York advertising agency, 1970s-80s; made numerous short films and his first independent feature, Mala Noche, mid-late 1980s; earned acclaim with the independent feature Drugstore Cowboy, 1989; worked on the preproduction of The Mayor of Castro Street, based on Randy Shilts's book about the murdered gay rights activist/politician Harvey Milk, but left the project; directed video for the rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers. Awards: Berlin Film Festival Teddy-Best Short Film, for My New Friend, 1984; Los Angeles Film Critics Association Independent/Experimental Film or Video Award, for Mala Noche, 1985; Berlin Film Festival Teddy-Best Short Film, for Five Ways to Kill Yourself, 1987; Best Screenplay Independent Spirit Award, National Society of Film Critics Best Screenplay and Best Director, Los Angeles Film Critics Association Best Screenplay, New York Film Criticvs Circle Best Screenplay, Berlin Film Festival C.I.C.A.E. Award, for Drugstore Cowboy, 1989 Best Screenplay Independent Spirit Award, Deauville Film Festival Critics Award, for My Own Private Idaho, 1991; Oberhausen International Short Film Festival FICC Prize-Honorable Mention, Seattle International Film Festival Golden Space Needle Award, for Ballad of the Skeletons, 1996.


Films as Director:

1984

My New Friend (short)

1985

Mala Noche (+ pr, sc, ed)

1986

Switzerland (short)

1987

Five Ways to Kill Yourself (short); Ken Gets out of Jail (short)

1988

Junior (short)

1989

Drugstore Cowboy (+ co-sc)

1991

My Own Private Idaho (+ sc)

1994

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (+ sc, exec pr, ed)

1995

To Die For

1996

Ballad of the Skeletons (short)

1997

Good Will Hunting (+ sound re-recording mixer)

1998

Psycho (+ co-pr, ro)

2000

Finding Forrester; Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot; Brokeback Mountain (+ pr)



Other Films:

1995

Kids (Clark) (co-exec-pr)

1999

Speedway Junkie (Perry) (exec pr)



Publications


By VAN SANT: books—

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues/My Own Private Idaho/2 Screenplays in1 Volume, New York, 1994.

Pink: A Novel, New York, 1997.

By VAN SANT: articles—

Interview with River Phoenix in Interview (New York), March 1991.

"Inside Outsider Gus Van Sant," an interview with Adam Block and David Ehrenstein, in Advocate (Los Angeles), 24 September 1991.

Interview in Film Threat (Beverly Hills), November 1991.

"Gay Film Vagen," an interview with P. Loewe, in Chaplin (Stockholm), vol. 33, no. 6, 1991/92.

"My Director and I," interview with R. Phoenix and G. Fuller, in Projections (London), no. 1, 1992.

"Falstaff a Portland," an interview with J. Aghed, in Positif (Paris), February 1992.

"My Own Private Cinema," an interview with C. Nevers and T. Jousse, in Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris), December 1992.

"Fornedrelsens estetikk," interview with F. Johnsen, in Film & Kino (Oslo), no. 2, 1993.

"Gus Van Sant," an interview with Gary Indiana, in Bomb (New York), Fall 1993.

"Mobile Home," an interview with M. Dargis, in Artforum (New York), November 1993.

"Larry Clark, Shockmaker," in Interview (New York), July 1995.

"How Gus Van Sant Cooked up the Dark Comedy To Die For," an interview with Desmond Ryan, in Knight-Ridder/Tribune NewsService, 5 October 1995.

"Van Sant does 'Hunting," interview with D. Noh, in Film Journal (New York), December 1997.

"Uncle Gus," interview with P. Powell, in Interview (New York), January 1998.

"Lights, Camera, Oscars!," interview with D. Ansen and C. Brown, in Newsweek (New York), 26 January 1998.

"Hitch Up," interview with P. Powell, in Interview (New York), December 1998.

"Return to Bates Motel," interview with Stephen Rebello, in Movieline (Los Angeles), December 1998.


On VAN SANT: articles—

Meyer, Thomas J., "Dropping in on the down and Out," in New YorkTimes Magazine, 15 September 1991.

Loud, Lance, "Shakespeare in Black Leather," in American Film (Hollywood), September/October 1991.

Lyons, Donald, "Gus Van Sant: Lawless as a Snowflake, Simple as Grass," in Film Comment (New York), September/October 1991.

Gallagher, Lawrence J., "Life after Drugstore," in Esquire (New York), October 1991.

Handelman, David, "Gus Van Sant's Northwest Passage," in RollingStone (New York), 31 October 1991.

Signorile, Michelangelo, "Absolutely Queer," in Advocate (Los Angeles), 19 November 1991.

Ostria, V., "Gus Van Sant, un cineaste de Portland," in Cahiers duCinéma (Paris), January 1992.

Roth-Bettoni, D., "My Own Private Idaho," in Revue du Cinéma (Paris), January 1992.

Reynaud, B., "Gus Van Sant," in Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris), December 1992.

Block, A., "Perchance to Dream," in Filmmaker (Los Angeles), vol. 2, no. 1, 1993.

Golebiewska, M., "Van Santa," in Kino (Warsaw), February/March 1993.

Campbell, V., "The Times of Gus Van Sant," in Movieline (Los Angeles), October 1993.

Schwager, J., "Back in the Saddle," in Boxoffice (Chicago), February 1994.

Taubin, Amy, "Trials and Tribulations," in Village Voice (New York), 24 May 1994.

Caruso, G., "Il rapsodo di Portland," in Cineforum (Bergamo, Italy), May 1997.

Smith, R.J., "Has Gus Van Sant Gone Psycho?," in New York Times, 29 November 1998.

Svetkey, Benjamin, "Shower Power," in Entertainment Weekly (New York), 4 December 1998.


* * *

In the late 1980s, Gus Van Sant commenced establishing himself as one of America's leading and most influential independent filmmakers. His films, often peopled with characters scuffling along on the fringes of American society, explore human feelings and frailties in often-understated fashion, and for the most part, Van Sant has proven himself a filmmaker with a deft touch. However, after the success of Drugstore Cowboy and My Own Private Idaho, some observers were concerned that Van Sant's apparent predilection for examining the lives of society's outcasts might blunt and ultimately limit his vision. The release of To Die For in 1995, however, did much to silence such voices. The wicked black comedy—a skillfully rendered and executed study of a woman obsessed with stardom—indicated that Van Sant's body of work is in no danger of degenerating into formula.

Van Sant's first works, created in the mid-1980s, were a series of short and experimental films. His initial feature, shot on a shoestring, was Mala Noche, the story of a gay man's infatuation with an illegal immigrant. While these early films brought him a degree of critical attention, it was Drugstore Cowboy that established him as one of independent filmmaking's most authoritative new voices. The film's low-key tale of a pack of 1970s-era junkies in perpetual pursuit of drugs won near-unanimous accolades.

Two years later Van Sant released My Own Private Idaho, another story of American misfits on the margins of society. The quirky film concerns two male street hustlers, Mike and Scott (played by River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves), who embark on a journey to find Mike's long-lost mother. Together, Van Sant and Phoenix create a memorable portrait of Mike, a narcoleptic who longs for love. My Own Private Idaho, a bold, sometimes dreamlike tale, further cemented Van Sant's reputation.

In 1994, Van Sant released Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, a film based on Tom Robbins's cult-classic book. Cowgirls was a mess in nearly every respect. A poorly executed and disappointing endeavor, it quickly disappeared from the nation's cinema houses. Van Sant recovered nicely, though, with To Die For, an adaptation of a novel by Joyce Maynard. Blessed with an inspired performance by Nicole Kidman in the lead role, the film is a withering black comedy that aims venomous barbs at America's television media and star-obsessed culture with deadly accuracy.

Van Sant then scored big with Good Will Hunting, one of the smash hits of 1997. This wildly popular story of a bunch of working-class Boston buddies, one of whom is a certifiable genius, earned accolades for the filmmaker, an overdue Oscar for Robin Williams (playing a psychologist), and fire-hot Hollywood commodity status for co-stars/co-scripters Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. Even though the film's title character, in his alienation and outsider status, is a typical Van Sant hero, the conventional tone of Good Will Hunting made it the director's most mainstream film to date. Unfortunately, his follow-up was a film that rivaled Even Cowgirls Get the Blues for its mediocrity: a needless and ill-advised scene-by-scene remake of Hitchcock's Psycho.

—Kevin Hillstrom, updated by Rob Edelman

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"Van Sant, Gus." International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. . Encyclopedia.com. 14 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Van Sant, Gus." International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. . Retrieved December 14, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/movies/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/van-sant-gus

Van SANT, Gus 1952(?)– (Gus Van Sant, Jr.)

VAN SANT, Gus 1952(?)
(Gus Van Sant, Jr.)

PERSONAL

Full name, Gus Green Van Sant, Jr.; born July 24, 1952 (some sources say 1953) in Louisville, KY; son of Gus Green (a clothing manufacturer) and Betty (maiden name, Seay) Van Sant. Education: Rhode Island School of Design, B.F.A., film and painting, 1975.


Addresses: Agent William Morris Agency, 151 El Camino Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90212. Office Sawtooth, Pie Films, and Meno Film Company, 1300 NW Northrup Ave., 3rd Floor, Portland, OR 97209.


Career: Director, screenwriter, producer, editor, and sound recordist. Assistant to Ken Shapiro (a director), 1975; producer of commercials for an advertising agency, 198183; member of band Kill All Blondes; previously worked as a press attache, teacher, and painter.


Awards, Honors: Los Angeles Film Critics Award, best independent/experimental film, 1987, for Mala Noche; Teddy Award, Berlin International Film Festival, best short film, 1987, for Five Ways to Kill Yourself and My New Friend; Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award, best screenplay (with Daniel Yost), 1989, Independent Spirit Award, best screenplay, Independent Spirit Award nomination, best director, National Society of Film Critics awards, best film, best director, best screenplay (with Yost), New York Film Critics Circle Award, best screenplay (with Yost), C.I.C.A.E. Award, Berlin International Film Festival, forum of new cinema, 1990, International PEN Literary Award, best screenplay adaptation (with Yost), and Critics Award, Deauville Film Festival, 1991, all for Drugstore Cowboy; International Critics Award (FIPRESCI), Toronto International Film Festival, 1991, Independent Spirit Award, best screenplay, and Independent Spirit Award nomination, best director, 1992, all for My Own Private Idaho; Freedom of Expression Award, Oregon American Civil Liberties Union, 1992; Golden Palm nomination, Cannes Film Festival, 1995, for To Die For; Golden Space Needle Award, Seattle International Film Festival, best short film, and FICC PrizeHonorable Mention, Oberhausen International Short Film Festival, 1998, both for Ballad of the Skeletons; Academy Award nomination, best director, Directors Guild of America Award nomination, outstanding directorial achievement in motion pictures, Golden Satellite Award nomination, best director of a motion picture, and Golden Bear Award nomination, Berlin International Film Festival, all 1998, for Good Will Hunting; Outfest Achievement Award, L.A. Outfest, 1999; Heartland Award of Excellence, Heartland Film Festival, and Prize of the Guild of German Art House Cinemas and Golden Berlin Bear Award nomination, both Berlin International Film Festival, all 2001, for Finding Forrester; Visions AwardSpecial Citation, Toronto International Film Festival, and Golden Leopard Award nomination, Locarno International Film Festival, both 2002, and Independent Spirit Award nomination, best director, all for Gerry; Filmmaker on the Edge Award, Provincetown International Film Festival, 2002; Golden Palm Award, Best Director Award, and Cinema Prize of the French National Education System, Cannes Film Festival, 2003, all for Elephant.

CREDITS

Film Director:

The Discipline of D.E. (short), 1978.

My Friend, 1983.

My New Friend, 1985.

Mala Noche (also known as Bad Night ), Northern Film Company, 1986.

Ken Death Gets out of Jail, 1987.

Five Ways to Kill Yourself (short), 1987.

Junior, 1988.

(As Gus Van Sant, Jr.) Drugstore Cowboy, Avenue Pictures, 1989.

My Own Private Idaho, Fine Line Features, 1991.

Even Cowgirls Get The Blues, New Line Cinema, 1993.

To Die For, AlmaKinoFilmverleih, 1995.

Ballad of the Skeletons, 1996.

Good Will Hunting, Buena Vista, 1997.

Psycho, Universal, 1998.

Brokeback Mountain, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 1999.

Finding Forrester, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 2000.

Gerry, ThinkFilm Inc., 2002.

The Best of Bowie (video), 2002.

Elephant, Fine Line Features, 2003.

Also directed Alice in Hollywood.

Film Executive Producer:

My Own Private Idaho, Fine Line Features, 1991.

Even Cowgirls Get The Blues, New Line Cinema, 1993.

Kids, Miramax, 1995.

Speedway Junky, Regent Entertainment, 1999.

" Psycho " Path (documentary short), Universal Studios Home Video, 1999.

Film Producer:

Mala Noche (also known as Bad Night ), Northern Film Company, 1986.

Psycho, Universal, 1998.

Brokeback Mountain, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 1999.

Film Editor:

Mala Noche (also known as Bad Night ), Northern Film Company, 1986.

Even Cowgirls Get The Blues, New Line Cinema, 1993.

Gerry, ThinkFilm, Inc., 2002.

Elephant, Fine Line Features, 2003.

Film Work; Other:

Sound recordist, Property, 1978.

Rerecording mixer, Even Cowgirls Get The Blues, New Line Cinema, 1993.

Sound rerecording mixer, Good Will Hunting, Buena Vista, 1997.

Rerecording mixer, Finding Forrester, Sony Pictures Releasing, 2000.

Film Appearances:

Himself, Red Hot Chili Peppers: Funky Monks, 1991.

Himself, Guns on the Clackamas, 1995.

(Uncredited) Man talking to man in cowboy hat, Psycho, MCA/Universal, 1998.

Himself, " Psycho " Path (documentary short), 1999.

OrientationsChristopher Doyle: Stirred Not Shaken, 2000.

Himself, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Dimension Films, 2001.

Himself, Rescued from the Closet (documentary), Columbia TriStar Home Video, 2001.

Television Work; Movies:

Understanding, 1996.

Television Work; Specials:

Director and editor, " Thanksgiving Prayer, " American Flash Cards, PBS, 1992.

Television Appearances; Specials:

(Archive footage) Himself, The 70th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1998.

The Director's Vision: Hollywood's Best Discuss Their Craft, Sundance, 1998.

The Untitled Jay Lacopo Project, Sundance, 1999.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Appeared on Champlin on Film, Bravo; and on Hi Octane (also known as High Octane ), Comedy Central.

RECORDINGS

Albums:

(With William S. Burroughs) The Elvis of Letters, Tim Kerr, 1985.

Gus Van Sant, PopTones, 1997.

18 Songs about Golf, 1983, PopTones, 1998.

Music Videos; Director:

" Weird, " Hanson, 1998.


Also directed " Under the Bridge " by Red Hot Chili Peppers; " Thanksgiving Prayer " by William S. Burroughs; and " Fame '90 " by David Bowie.

WRITINGS

Screenplays:

Mala Noche (also known as Bad Night ), Northern Film Company, 1986.

(As Gus Van Sant, Jr.; with Daniel Yost), Drugstore Cowboy, Avenue Pictures, 1989.

My Own Private Idaho, Fine Line Features, 1991.

Thanksgiving Prayer, 1991.

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, New Line Cinema, 1993.

Gerry, ThinkFilms, Inc., 2002.

Elephant, Fine Line Features, 2003.

Novels:

Pink, Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, 1997.

OTHER SOURCES

Books:

International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, Volume 2: Directors, St. James Press, 1996.

Periodicals:

Advocate, March 31, 1998, p. 46.

Film Comment, September, 1991, p. 35.

Interview, March, 1991, p. 126; January, 1998, p. 42; December, 1998, p. 32.

Newsweek, April 15, 1991, p. 68; December 7, 1998, p. 70.

Rolling Stone, October 31, 1991, p. 61.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
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"Van SANT, Gus 1952(?)– (Gus Van Sant, Jr.)." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Encyclopedia.com. 14 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Van SANT, Gus 1952(?)– (Gus Van Sant, Jr.)." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 14, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/van-sant-gus-1952-gus-van-sant-jr

"Van SANT, Gus 1952(?)– (Gus Van Sant, Jr.)." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Retrieved December 14, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/van-sant-gus-1952-gus-van-sant-jr