Award-winning director Donald Petrie (Miss Congeniality, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Grumpy Old Men, Mystic Pizza) has been named the Spring 2014 Marion Knott Filmmaker-in-Residence at Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, recognized as one of the premier film schools in the United States. The announcement was made today by Dodge College Dean Bob Bassett.
Every semester, Dodge College hosts an expert filmmaker to meet with and counsel 10 selected scholars, as part of its Filmmaker-in-Residence program. The popular program includes regular, bi-weekly meetings with the filmmaker in a one-on-one setting where the student and mentor have the opportunity to creatively develop a specific project throughout the semester. In addition, the filmmaker interacts with the larger Dodge College community at weekly dinners open to students and screenings of the filmmaker’s films followed by an in-class Q & A.
Donald Petrie is best known for his hit romantic comedies How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days starring Oscar® nominees Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey, and two-time Golden Globe nominated Miss Congeniality starring Oscar® winners Sandra Bullock and Michael Caine. Petrie also directed the holiday hit Grumpy Old Men starring Oscar® winners Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau and Oscar® nominee Ann-Margret.
Petrie began his entertainment career as an actor, having trained and graduated as a theatre major, he soon was appearing in many television episodes. In 1980, Donald decided to shift his focus to directing when he was accepted as a Fellow at the American Film Institute. While there he made a dramatic short film, The Expert, which caught the eye of Steven Spielberg, who offered Petrie the opportunity to direct an episode of Amazing Stories. That episode, entitled “Mister Magic,” starring Sid Caesar, began Petrie’s professional directing career.
Petrie directed a great many episodic television shows, including MacGyver, The Equalizer and the landmark series LA Law. An episode he directed for the latter entitled “The Venus Butterfly” garnered Directors Guild and Emmy nominations. Soon after, Petrie directed his first feature, the coming of age dramedy Mystic Pizza. Both a critical and box office success, Mystic Pizza starred Annabeth Gish and Lili Taylor and provided Julia Roberts with her breakthrough role. Now considered a “cult classic,” the film also gave a very young Matt Damon his first onscreen appearance.
Petrie is an active member of the Directors Guild of America. He currently serves on the DGA National Board, and the Western Directors Council. He is also Chairman of the Directors Guild Foundation.
Among Petrie’s other credits are the quirky comedy Just My Luck, starring Lindsay Lohan and Chris Pine; the political satire/romantic comedy Welcome To Mooseport, with Ray Romano, Marcia Gay Hardin and Gene Hackman; the gender-bender comedy The Associate, starring Whoopi Goldberg; the Warner Bros. family comedy Richie Rich, starring Macaulay Culkin; Disney’s My Favorite Martian, with Jeff Daniels and Christopher Lloyd; and the Fox Searchlight romantic comedy My Life In Ruins, starring Nia Vardalos.
“I know that our students can learn some very valuable real world lessons from Donald Petrie, who has been to Chapman many times over the years. Besides being part of a legendary Hollywood family, Donald is articulate, insightful and has a deep filmography—a great combination for a Filmmaker-in-Residence,” says Dean Bassett.
Past notable Filmmakers-in-Residence at Chapman have included Academy Award®-winning producer Cathy Schulman (Crash, The Illusionist, Salvation Boulevard), Academy Award®-nominated producer JoAnne Sellar (There Will Be Blood, Boogie Nights, Magnolia), Hollywood producer Cathleen Summers (The Sandlot, Stakeout, Another Stakeout), director and producer Betty Thomas (Dr. Doolittle, Private Parts, Brady Bunch Movie, I Spy), screenwriter and producer Leslie Dixon (Mrs. Doubtfire, Hairspray, Limitless), director and producer Jonathan Sanger (Vanilla Sky, The Elephant Man, The Producers), director Sheldon Epps (Friends, Frasier), producer Michael Phillips (Taxi Driver, Close Encounters of the Third Kind), and director Martha Coolidge (Real Genius, Rambling Rose, Valley Girl).