Born and raised in Baltimore, I've written and directed four feature films here. These films present big themes and archetypal characters – a single mother (HAMILTON, 2006), a community in mourning (PUTTY HILL, 2011), a runaway and a family in the midst of divorce (I USED TO BE DARKER, 2013), a drug dealer and his steelworker father (SOLLERS POINT, 2018). Despite the potential scope of these stories, I work on a scale that is small enough to focus on the regionally specific and routine aspects of my characters’ lives. I aspire to make movies that maintain an economical aesthetic, blend documentary and narrative technique, and succeed with vigor and precision at painting rich portraits of the American working class.
Though I am committed to telling stories in Baltimore, I have been lucky to find a number of international collaborators and opportunities to make work outside of the United States. In 2014, I produced and directed my first narrative short, TAKE WHAT YOU CAN CARRY, about a young artist living in Berlin, Germany. The following year, I co-produced and co-wrote Gaston Solnicki’s first fiction feature, KÉKSZAKÁLLÚ (based on Béla Bartók’s opera of the same name), in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Next year, I am hoping to direct a feature written by Jordan Mintzer and Thomas Chatterton Williams in Paris, France. As a producer, I have participated in IFP’s No Borders, Cinemart, FIDLab, the Berlin Coproduction Market and the Venice Production Bridge
My work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art and the Harvard Film Archive and has screened at the Whitney Biennial, Walker Arts Center, Centre Pompidou, Cinémathèque Française, and film festivals such as the Berlinale, Rotterdam, San Sebastian, Sundance, and SXSW.
Since 2007, I have been teaching in the Film & Media Studies Program at Johns Hopkins University.