PROFILE
Name:
Davis Guggenheim
Birth Date:
1963/11/3
Birth Place:
St. Louis, Missouri
Nationality:
American
Famous for:
Director of "An Inconvenient Truth" (2006)
BIOGRAPHY
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An Inconvenient Truth

Background:

Academy Award winning film director and producer Davis Guggenheim garnered critical acclaim for his work on the documentary film about global warming, "An Inconvenient Truth" (2006), which was presented by former United States Vice President Al Gore. He also directed the documentaries "The Art of Norton Simon" (1999), "Teach" (2001), "The First Year" (2001), "A Mother's Promise: Barack Obama Bio Film" (2008), and "It Might Get Loud" (2008), as well as the feature films "Gossip" (2000) and "Gracie" (2007). Additionally, he produced the films "Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead" (1991), "The Opposite Sex and How to Live with Them" (1993), and "Training Day" (2001).

As for television, this Brown University graduate has produced and/or directed such TV series as “The Shield,” “Alias,” “24,” “NYPD Blue,” “ER,” “Deadwood,” “Party of Five,” and “The Unit.” He is set to direct the pilot episode of the upcoming spinoff of the hit 1990s TV show “Melrose Place,” for the CW network.

Guggenheim has been married to Academy Award nominated actress Elisabeth Shue since 1994. The couple has one son and two daughters.


Philip Davis

Childhood and Family:

"I slept in my Mom's house last night. I grew up in D.C. My parents moved here from St. Louis when I was three and I didn’t leave here until after college. I love Washington. My father made documentaries and political advertising. I sort of grew up at his knees making documentaries."

Son of film director and producer Charles Guggenheim (March 31, 1924–October 9, 2002) and Marion Guggenheim, Philip Davis Guggenheim was born on November 3, 1963, in St. Louis, Missouri. At age 3, his parents moved to Washington D.C. He is the brother of Grace Guggenheim and Jonathan Guggenheim.

Davis attended Brown University, where he was a member of the all-male acapella group "The Brown Derbies." He has been married to Academy Award nominated actress Elisabeth Shue (born on October 6, 1963) since 1994 and they have 3 kids together, one son named Miles William (born on November 11, 1997), and two daughters, Stella Street (born on March 19, 2001) and Agnes Charles (born on June 18, 2006). Davis is the brother-in-law of actor Andrew Shue.


The First Year

Career:

In 1991, Davis Guggenheim began his career as an associate producer for a comedy film directed by Stephen Herek, "Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead" (1991; starring Christina Applegate). The following year, he directed his first film, a 30-minute short titled "Breaking and Entering" (1992). He also coproduced and appeared in Matthew Meshekoff's independent romantic comedy "The Opposite Sex and How to Live with Them" (1993; starring Courteney Cox and Kevin Pollak). Guggenheim subsequently spent the rest of the 1990s on television directing episodes of such TV series as Fox’s critically acclaimed teen drama "Party of Five," the short-lived detective drama starring Mark Harmon and Leelee Sobieski, "Charlie Grace," NBC’s drama "Sisters," ABC’s drama "Relativity," ABC’s drama "NYPD Blue," the hit NBC medical drama "ER," the action drama starring Eric Roberts, "C-16: FBI," and Fox Network’s sci-fi television series starring John Corbett, "The Visitor." As a filmmaker, he directed the 32-minute short documentary narrated by Gregory Peck, "The Art of Norton Simon" (1999).

Entering the new millennium, Guggenheim directed the thriller "Gossip," featuring James Marsden, Lena Headey, Norman Reedus, and Kate Hudson. He followed it up with the 34-minute short film "Teach" (2001) and the documentary "The First Year" (2001; TV). The latter film received positive reviews and won a Jury Award at the DoubleTake Documentary Film Festival and Certificate of Merit - Film & Video - Society & Culture U.S. at the San Francisco International Film Festival. Guggenheim also served as the executive producer of Antoine Fuqua's crime film "Training Day" (2001), starring Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke.

Next, Guggenheim directed episodes of Fox’s hit series starring Kiefer Sutherland, "24," ABC’s series starring Jennifer Garner, "Alias," FX’s cop drama "The Shield," HBO’s western "Deadwood" (he also produced), CBS’ police drama series "Numb3rs," TNT’s primetime police drama "Wanted" (pilot episode), CBS’ thriller "The Unit" (pilot episode), and the short-lived CBS drama "3 lbs."

"If there was one thing he taught me about making films is that people connect to people. When you're watching a movie, you're investing in someone. When I saw Al give this presentation, I could feel the passion. I was so lucky to be in the same room as him to feel what he was saying. I had been a little unsure about how to make a film about a slide show, but once I saw the presentation, I was hooked. The information was so powerful. It changed my point of view profoundly. I thought if I gave other people a front row seat, I'd be doing a service." Davis Guggenheim

During this time, Guggenheim also directed the acclaimed documentary film about global warming, "An Inconvenient Truth" (2006), which was presented by former United States Vice President Al Gore and premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, where it received three standing ovations. The film later won Academy Awards for Best Documentary Feature and for Best Original Song and has become the fourth highest-grossing documentary film to date in the United States. Besides winning two Oscars, the film also won Guggenheim a Humanitas Prize for Documentaries - Special Awards Category and an Audience Award at the São Paulo International Film Festival for Best Foreign Documentary. Additionally, the film was nominated for Best Documentary at the Gotham Awards.

On how he got involved in making “An Inconvenient Truth” (2007), Guggenheim recalled, "Laurie David and Lawrence Bender, the producers, came to me and said they'd seen Al Gore's slide show and it's unbelievable and let's make a movie. And I said to them directly, ‘I don't know how you can make a movie about a slide show and I don't know if Gore's the right messenger.’ And they said, 'Just trust us. He's giving the slide show in two weeks. Go.' And I went to see it and I was blown away. Now I'm not an environmentalist, but I had this profound experience where for the first time someone had laid out the whole thing and explained it to me, connected the dots, and I left after an hour and a half thinking that global warming is the most important issue and if I do one thing in my life, it's to help more people see Al Gore do this. I had no idea how you'd make a film out of it, but I wanted to try."

Following his big break, Guggenheim wrote and directed a semi-biographical soccer film loosely based on the childhood experiences of his wife Elisabeth Shue, "Gracie" (2007), starring Carly Schroeder in the title role. Then, after helming the dramatic TV movie "The Tower" (2008; starring Marcia Gay Harden, Rosamund Pike, and CCH Pounder), he directed the documentary "A Mother's Promise: Barack Obama Bio Film" (2008), a biographical portrait of America's first African-American President Barack Obama. He also directed and produced the musical documentary "It Might Get Loud" (2008), which explored the history of the electric guitar while focusing on the careers and styles of Jimmy Page, The Edge, and Jack White, and executive produced David Sauvage's 23-minute short documentary "Carissa" (2008).

Recently, it was announced that Guggenheim will direct the pilot episode of “Melrose Place” for the CW network, a spinoff of the hit 1990s primetime soap of the same name.


Awards:

  • Academy Award: Best Documentary, Features, "An Inconvenient Truth," 2007

  • Humanitas Prize: Documentaries - Special Awards Category, "An Inconvenient Truth," 2006

  • São Paulo International Film Festival: Audience Award - Best Foreign Documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," 2006

  • DoubleTake Documentary Film Festival: Jury Award, "The First Year," 2002

  • San Francisco International Film Festival: Certificate of Merit - Film & Video - Society & Culture U.S., "The First Year," 2001

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