PROFILE
Name:
Jason Reitman
Birth Date:
1977/10/19
Birth Place:
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Height:
5' 11" (1.80 m)
Nationality:
Canadian
Famous for:
His acclaimed short, “In God We Trust” (2000)
BIOGRAPHY
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Director of Juno

Background:

“Being the son of a filmmaker, you are aware of a career as a director. You don't think of it as just movies, but as a life. I couldn't help but wonder how my life was going to go. One film does not make a career.” Jason Reitman

Canadian-born, Oscar-nominated director, writer, producer and actor Jason Reitman, the son of famous comedy filmmaker Ivan Reitman, got his start as an extra in his father's films “Ghostbusters II” (1989) and “Dave” (1993), before making his debut as a filmmaker with the Sundance-premiered short “Operation” (1998). His acclaimed short, “In God We Trust” (2000), won the moviemaker extensive recognition at various films festivals, including the Seattle International Film Festival, the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival, the Florida Film Festival, the New York Comedy Festival, the Austin Film Festival and the Aspen Shortsfest. He gained further notice for his work on television commercials and with the award winning short “Consent” (2004), which he wrote with his wife Michele Lee. Known for creating comedy films that touch on serious themes, Reitman however, did not hit the feature world until 2005 with “Thank You For Smoking,” an adaptation of Christopher Buckley's novel. Premiering at the Toronto Film Festival, the film received generally good reviews and enjoyed significant success at the box office. Reitman picked up a number of awards and nominations for his work, including an Independent Spirit Award, a National Board of Review Award and a Writers Guild of America nomination. The self-regarded libertarian achieved even more attention and fame with his second feature “Juno” (2007), an Academy Award-winning comedy starring Ellen Page. A favorite on the festival circuit and a blockbuster hit, “Juno” brought Reitman his Oscar nomination and several other honors, including a Best Director nomination at the Independent Spirit Awards.

Reitman is set to direct the upcoming film “Up in the Air” (2009), which scheduled for a worldwide release in 2010. He also served as executive producer and producer on “Chloe” (2009) and Jennifer's Body” (2009), respectively.

Reitman is married and has one daughter.


Hockey Lover

Childhood and Family:

Jason Reitman was born in Montreal, Quebec, on October 19, 1977, to film director Ivan Reitman of “Stripes” (1981), “Ghostbusters” (1984) and “Twins” (1988) fame and Geneviève Robert, a former actress who dedicated her life to being full time housewife after the birth of her son. The oldest of three children, he has two younger sisters, Catherine and Caroline. His family relocated to Los Angeles when he was still a child.

As the son of a renowned filmmaker, Jason grew up around film sets and surrounded by comedic greats such as Harold Ramis, Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd. His introduction to the business came very early when at age 11 days he was brought to the set of the hit “Animal House” (1978), which was produced by his dad. At age 2, he was on the set of “Meatballs” (1979), a comedy directed by his father and starring Bill Murray. By age 10, Jason had explored filmmaking on his own by making short videos using his dad's camera. His curiosity in filmmaking led the 13-year-old Jason to take a position as production assistant on “Kindergarten Cop” (1990), a vehicle for Arnold Schwarzenegger that was helmed by his father. He also appeared as an extra on the movie. Two years later, he made a public service announcement about AIDS with high school friends. The film won several awards and was broadcasted on network television.

After graduating from Harvard-Westlake School in North Hollywood in 1995, Jason decided to study pre-med at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. He quickly discovered that medicine was not in his blood and transferred to the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where he majored in English and Creative Writing.

On March 5, 2004, Jason married Michele Lee. The couple welcomed a daughter in October 2006 named Josephine. Along with his wife, Jason is a big fan of hockey. His favorite teams are the Vancouver Canucks and the Los Angeles Kings.


Thank You For Smoking

Career:

Son of a celebrated filmmaker, Jason Reitman began his career as an extra. Making short videos at age 10, he won several awards at age 15 thanks to an AIDS public service announcement he made with high school friends. A year later, he resumed his acting career with a part as the Vice President's (played by Ben Kingsley) son in his father's comedy film “Dave” (1993), starring Kevin Kline in the dual role of Dave Kovic/Bill Mitchell. His mother also appeared with him in the movie as his on-screen mom. His career as an extra continued with “Fathers' Day” (1997), a comedy film that starred Robin Williams and Billy Crystal, which was helmed by his dad.

Reitman eventually released his first short film, “Operation,” where he also appeared in, directing, wrote and serving as producer. The 20 minute comedy premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 1998. He then wrote and directed “H@” (1999), a 4-minute short produced by FX Network.

The Montreal-born filmmaker, however, did not experience his first taste with success until he made the acclaimed short “In God We Trust” (2000), which he directed, wrote and executive produced. A comedy, the film debuted at Sundance and became a favorite on the festival circuits. For his effort, Jason won various awards, including the Golden Space Needle Award for Best Short at the 2000 Seattle International Film Festival, the Audience Award for Best Short Film at the 2000 Los Angeles Independent Film Festival, the Grand Jury Award for Best Narrative Short at the 2000 Florida Film Festival, the Best Short Award at the 2000 New York Comedy Festival, the Short Film Award at the 2000 Austin Film Festival, the Audience Award and the Jury Award for Best Comedy Category at the 2000 Aspen Shortsfest, and the Moxie Award for Best Contemporary Short Comedy at the 2001 Santa Monica Film Festival.

Reitman then tried his hand at directing television commercials. Under Tate and Partners, he directed commercials for big names like Honda, Burger King, BMW, GM and Nintendo. He also continued to make short films, such as “Gulp” (2001, starred Jason Carpenter), “Uncle Sam” (2002, starred Dave Allen), and “Consent” (2004, starred Todd Waldman and Rachel Vacca). The latter film, which he co-wrote with his wife, garnered recognition at the Seattle International Film Festival where it won the Golden Space Needle Award for Best Short, and the Aspen Shortsfest where it picked up the Jury Award for Best Short Short.

Already popular in the world of short film and commercials, Reitman made his feature debut as director and writer with “Thank You For Smoking,” which he adapted from Christopher Buckley's 1994 novel of the same name. Produced by David O. Sacks and starring Aaron Eckhart, Cameron Bright, Maria Bello and David Koechner, the film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival on September 9, 2005, before receiving a wide release in the U.S. on April 14, 2006. The film earned positive feedback from critics and was considered a box office success. For his efforts, Reitman was handed an Independent Spirit for Best Screenplay, a Toronto Film Critics Association for Best First Feature, a Washington DC Area Film Critics Association, a San Diego Film Critics Society for Best Adapted Screenplay, a National Board of Review for Best Directorial Debut, the Audience Award at the Norwegian International Film Festival, and the Sierra Award for Best Screenplay at the Las Vegas Film Critics Society (both 2006).

Reitman repeated his victory two years later with his second film, “Juno” (2007), which was written by Diablo Cody. A comedy about a teenager coping with an unexpected pregnancy, the film, starring Ellen Page, premiered at the Toronto Film Festival on September 8, 2007, and was a hit. It was nominated for four Independent Spirit Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, before achieving further success at the Golden Globes and Academy Awards. At the latter noted ceremony, “Juno” won Best Screenplay and collected three nominations, including Best Director for Reitman. Other honors Reitman received for “Juno” included Palm Springs International Film Festival's Chairman's Vanguard Award, the Christopher Award for Feature Films, a Rome Film Fest for Best Film, Stockholm Film Festival's Audience Award, Gijón International Film Festival's Special Prize of the Young Jury, and St. Louis International Film Festival's Audience Choice Award for Best Feature. A blockbuster hit, “Juno” got back its initial budget of $7.5 million and in less than a month, received over 35 times that amount, making it the highest grossing movie in the history of distributor Fox Searchlight Pictures.

After the much-talked about “Juno,” Reitman directed an episode of the American version of “The Office” called “Local Ad,” which was broadcasted on October 25, 2007. He would return to the series in November 2008 to direct the episode “Frame Toby.” In between, he directed a “Saturday Night Live” episode, “Ashton Kutcher/Gnarls Barkley.” On the movie front, Reitman served as executive producer on the thriller “Chloe” (2009), directed by Atom Egoyan, and producer for the comedy “Jennifer's Body” (2009), which was directed by Karyn Kusama.

Reitman is scheduled to return to the director's chair with “Up in the Air” (2009), which is based on a novel by Walter Kirn. The film will star George Clooney, Anna Kendrick, Jason Bateman and Vera Farmiga. Apart from directing, Reitman also wrote the screenplay and serves as producer.


Awards:

  • Palm Springs International Film Festival: Vanguard Award, Chairman's Vanguard Award, “Juno,” 2008

  • Christopher: Feature Films, “Juno,” 2008

  • St. Louis International Film Festival: Audience Choice Award, Best Feature, “Juno,” 2007

  • Gijón International Film Festival: Special Prize of the Young Jury, “Juno,” 2007

  • Rome Film Fest: Best Film, “Juno,” 2007

  • Stockholm Film Festival: Audience Award, “Juno,” 2007

  • Independent Spirit: Best Screenplay, “Thank You for Smoking,” 2007

  • Alpe d'Huez International Comedy Film Festival: Grand Prix, “Juno,” 2006

  • Toronto Film Critics Association: Best First Feature, “Thank You for Smoking,” 2006

  • Washington DC Area Film Critics Association: Best Screenplay, Adapted, “Thank You for Smoking,” 2006

  • San Diego Film Critics Society: Best Screenplay, Adapted, “Thank You for Smoking,” 2006

  • Norwegian International Film Festival: Audience Award, “Thank You for Smoking,” 2006

  • National Board of Review: Best Directorial Debut, “Thank You for Smoking,” 2006

  • Las Vegas Film Critics Society: Sierra Award, Best Screenplay, “Thank You for Smoking,” 2006

  • Aspen Shortsfest: Jury Award, Best Short Short, “Consent,” 2004

  • Seattle International Film Festival: Golden Space Needle Award, Best Short, “Consent,” 2004

  • Santa Monica Film Festival: Moxie! Award, Best Contemporary Short Comedy, “In God We Trust,” 2001

  • Aspen Shortsfest: Audience Award, “In God We Trust,” 2000

  • Aspen Shortsfest: Jury Award, Comedy - Best of Category, “In God We Trust,” 2000

  • Austin Film Festival: Short Film Award, “In God We Trust,” 2000

  • Florida Film Festival: Grand Jury Award, Best Narrative Short, “In God We Trust,” 2000

  • Los Angeles Independent Film Festival: Audience Award, Best Short Film, “In God We Trust,” 2000

  • New York Comedy Festival: Best Short, “In God We Trust,” 2000

  • Seattle International Film Festival: Golden Space Needle Award, Best Short, “In God We Trust,” 2000

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