A successful campaign manager turned filmmaker Ben Younger is known as the director and writer of the 2000 drama film “Boiler Room,” starring Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel, Ben Affleck. He picked up Deauville Film Festival's Jury Special Prize and Grand Special Prize nomination as well as two Independent Spirit nominations for his first film. His second film, “Prime” (2005), scored at No. 3 in the US box office at its opening. He also has directed shorts, commercials and music videos. Outside of filmmaking, Younger also works as a writer for The New Yorker.
As for his personal life, Younger dated Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo. He is a keen motorcycle racing enthusiast.
Childhood and Family:
Ben Younger was born on October 7, 1972, in Brooklyn, New York. He was raised in a Modern Orthodox Jewish family in Eltingville, Staten Island. He has a brother named David, who appeared in his films “Boiler Room” and “Prime.” Ben received a B.A. in Political Science from Queens College, part of the City University of New York, NY.
Ben Younger performed stand up comedy, while pursuing a Political Science Degree at NY's Queens College. After graduating he left stand up in favor of a career in politics. He received a coveted internship as a legislative aide to Assemblyman Alan Hevesi. He also worked on Hevesi's campaign to become Comptroller of New York City and later served as senior policy analyst in the Comptroller's office. Next up for Younger, he ran the successful State Assembly campaign for Melinda Katz. At the time, at age 21, Younger became the youngest ever campaign manager in New York City.
By 1995, Younger was disillusioned with the politics, and eventually found filmmaking as salvation. He started as a grip on feature films and music videos, and then became a corporate video cameraman. He also produced the short film “Maestro” (1998), and directed and wrote a short called, “L & M.”
In his transition time, Younger was searching for a job to support himself, and was finally recruited as a Boiler Room trainee. Stunned by this concealed world of instant millionaires, he took a two year research on the underground telemarketing and brokerages industry that would become the base of his first screenplay.
The American drama film “Boiler Room,” which he directed and write, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 30, 2000, starring Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel, Ben Affleck, Nia Long, Nicky Katt, Ron Rifkin, Tom Everett Scott and Scott Caan. The film won the Jury Special Prize at the 2000 Deauville Film Festival and another seven nominations, including two Independent Spirit nominations for Best First Feature and Best First Screenplay, a British Independent Film nomination for Best Foreign Film - English Language, and Deauville Film Festival's Grand Special Prize nomination.
In 2001, Younger two short films: “The Hit Man and the Investigator” and “The Car Thief and the Hit Man.” He returned three years later with his next short film, “Toothpaste” (2004), starring Martha Castaneda, Robert Cerda and Joanna Garcia.
However, Younger did not resurface with his sophomore feature length effort until 2005, with “Prime,” a romance/comedy starring Uma Thurman, Meryl Streep and Bryan Greenberg. The film scored a mediocre success with the critics, and opened at No. 3 at the box office. It has grossed over $67.9 million worldwide.
In 2007, Younger directed an episode of the Lifetime drama series “Army Wives” called “A Tribe Is Born.”
Deauville Film Festival: Jury Special Prize, “Boiler Room,” 2000