Legendary Cult Filmmaker to Visit PSU


Legendary genre filmmaker Steve De Jarnatt began making experimental short films and documentaries in his home state of Washington at a young age. He studied at Occidental College, Evergreen State College, and the American Film Institute. His first screen credit was the cult classic Strange Brew, starring Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas as Canada’s most famous hosers, Bob and Doug McKenzie. His screenplay for Miracle Mile made the very first Blacklist, the annual list of the ten best unproduced scripts in Hollywood. He struggled eight years to finally get it made (as the director) and finally saw it released in 1988. After premiering at Sundance, the film disappeared from theaters quickly despite glowing reviews. But it grew in popularity on video and cable, eventually becoming one of the most celebrated films of the decade. A blu-ray special edition was released in July 2015 by Kino Lorber Classics. The film continues to be written about by scholars and critics, even inspiring a book-length monograph from noted critic Walter Chaw.

Miracle Mile and Strange Brew were not the only classic cult films to come from De Jarnatt in the 1980s, as he also wrote and directed Cherry 2000, an offbeat post-apocalyptic thriller starring Melanie Griffith as a rogue bounty hunter. That film, much loved by genre aficionados, also recently received the deluxe blu-ray treatment from Kino Lorber.

With 26 years in the Writers Guild and 20 in the Directors Guild, De Jarnatt has written, directed and produced a wide spectrum of both drama and comedy television, including Aeon Flux, American Gothic, ER, Nash Bridges, The X Files, Flight 29 Down, and Lizzie McGuire. His “Man From the Southz”, starring Melanie Griffith, Kim Novak and John Huston, is the finest episode of the revived Alfred Hitchcock Presents. De Jarnatt has taught at universities and mentored such successful filmmakers as Peter Berg, Bryan Singer, Catherine Hardwicke, and Peyton Reed.

De Jarnatt recently went back to school, receiving an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch College. His first published fiction, Rubiaux Rising, was selected by guest editor Alice Sebold for The Best American Short Stories. His short fiction has appeared in Cincinnati Review, New England Review, Missouri Review, and New Stories from the Midwest. He was a Tennessee Williams Scholar in Fiction at the Sewanee Writer’s Conference and a Fiction Scholar at the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference.

De Jarnatt divides his time between Los Angeles and Port Townsend, continuing to work on industry projects as well as creative fiction.