The Films of Errol Morris

The Films of Errol Morris

Premiere date: Jul 14, 2011

Errol Morris is the father of the modern day documentary. This Academy Award winning director sits down and discusses his films and his art in detail.


Errol Morris | Director

Roger Ebert has said, "After twenty years of reviewing films, I haven't found another filmmaker who intrigues me more...Errol Morris is like a magician, and as great a filmmaker as Hitchcock or Fellini."

Recently, the Guardian listed him as one of the ten most important film directors in the world. Standard Operating Procedure is Morris's eighth feature-length documentary film. His preceding film, The Fog of War, a profile of former Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, received the 2003 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. His films have won many awards, including the Oscar, the Edgar from the Mystery Writers of America, the Golden Horse (Taiwan International Film Festival), the Grand Jury Prize (Sundance Film Festival) and have appeared on many ten best lists. They have been honored by the National Society of Film Critics, the National Board of Review, the New York, Chicago, Boston and Los Angeles film critics. Roger Ebert, in fact, has placed Morris's first feature Gates of Heaven on his list of the 10 Best Films of All Time.

In 1988, the Washington Post surveyed film critics around the country and picked The Thin Blue Line as the best film of the year. In 2000 and 2001, Morris directed two seasons of a television series, First Person, for Bravo and the Independent Film Channel. The series uses his unique interviewing machine, the Interrotron. A system of modified Teleprompters, the Interrotron allows interviewees to address Morris's image on the monitor while looking directly into the lens of the camera, which lets Morris and the audience achieve eye contact with his subjects.

"It's the difference between a faux first person and the true first person," says Morris. "The Interrotron inaugurates the birth of first-person cinema."

The Interrotron was used for the interview with Robert S. McNamara in The Fog of War and for all the interviews in Standard Operating Procedure. Morris has made numerous television commercials, including campaigns for Apple, Citibank, Cisco Systems, Intel, American Express, Nike, and, in what he considers his most impressive achievement, over 100 commercials for Miller Hi-Life.

In 2001, he won an Emmy for directing the commercial "Photobooth" for PBS. Morris has received five fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a MacArthur Fellowship. In 2007 he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was a graduate student at Princeton University and the University of California-Berkeley. In 1999, Morris' work received a full retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York; and in 2001, he received a special tribute at the Sundance Film Festival.

Recently, Morris has also been a regular contributor to the opinion pages of The New York Times with his blog, Zoom, a series of essays on truth and photography. The collected essays will be published by Penguin Press. Morris lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with his wife, Julia Sheehan, an art historian.

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