MARK PELLINGTON is a filmmaker based in Los Angeles. A native of Baltimore, MD, he attended the University of Virginia, receiving a B.A. in Rhetoric in 1984. Upon graduation, he joined MTV’s award-winning On-Air Promotions Department, where he created short conceptual spots, editing original footage with found sound and images. This groundbreaking work in collage and sound/image/text juxtaposition became the primary focus of Pellington’s early work. While at MTV, he branched out as a freelance music video director shooting clips for Information Society, Malcolm McLaren, and De La Soul. He also ventured into the art world, collaborating on text image pieces with New York gallery artist Jenny Holzer and William Burroughs.In 1988, Pellington developed an idea for a non-linear collage program. Created in partnership with MTV Europe producer/director Jon Klein, Buzz was an ambitious 13-part global series commissioned by MTV and channel 4 (UK). Hailed by critics as progressive adventurous television, it was the culmination of Pellington’s aesthetic and MTV career.
Upon completing Buzz, Mark refined his unique personal vision through a series of TV and video projects. He is internationally recognized as one of the world’s premiere music video directors. His video for Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy” is one of the most popular in history, as well as one of the most honored. It earned him Best Director at the 1992 Billboard Video Music Awards, and picked up four 1993 MTV Video Music Awards, including Best Director and Video of the Year. His videos for such noted rock, pop, and rap performers as U2, Bruce Springsteen, Public Enemy and Alice in Chains form a prolific and often imitated body of work. A piece for INXS, entitled “Beautiful Girl,” is a provocative visual essay on the female body that garnered a Grammy nomination. With his video for the Jungle Brothers’ “I Get A Kick Out Of You,” Pellington joined Wim Wenders, Jim Jarmusch, and Jonathan Demme as one of the elite group of directors chosen for Red, Hot & Blue, a landmark AIDS special shown on ABC.
Mark brought his media manipulation techniques to stadiums around the world when he helped create the multi-screen image environment for U2’s highly acclaimed “Zoo TV” tour. He also served as creative director on an experimental multi-media project for the Spanish exhibition at World Expo ‘92 in Seville, Spain. “The Memory Palace” was a five-screen live-action/film evocation of cyberspace made in collaboration with science fiction writer William Gibson, and musicians Brian Eno and Peter Gabriel. Outside of the music world, Pellington developed his eye for documentary and narrative. Words In Your Face, a half-hour film he created for PBS’s prestigious series Alive From Off Center, anticipated the current appeal of spoken word poetry. A half-hour television poem, Words featured John Leguizamo, KRS-ONE and Henry Rollins.
In 1993 he created his most personal work to date, a 30-minute film for PBS, called Father’s Daze, in which he came to terms with his father’s suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. This intense, impressionistic diary film was screened at the Berlin, Montreal and Rotterdam Film Festivals and was praised by critics worldwide. The United States of Poetry was a five-part series for PBS that took a year-and-a-half to complete. In the program, Pellington takes the viewer on a cross-country journey through end-of-the-century America, guided by 72 poets and spoken word artists. A kaleidoscopic portrait of America, the series captured the moment and will last as an artifact of a turbulent but hopeful time.
In 1997, Pellington’s feature film debut, Going All the Way, bowed at the Sundance Film Festival and was released by Gramercy Pictures. Starring Ben Affleck and Jeremy Davies, the movie received good reviews and firmly planted Mark on the Hollywood radar. Next, he directed Destination Anywhere, an experimental short film for MTV, starring Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, Jon Bon Jovi and Kevin Bacon. That fall, he directed James Earl Jones in an episode of the dramatic television series Homicide.
Pellington helmed his second feature film, Arlington Road, starring Jeff Bridges and Tim Robbins. Screen Gems released the controversial political thriller in the summer of 1999. The movie established Mark’s ability to work with A-list actors and saw his unique creative vision expand. Following the release of Arlington Road, Pellington was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Music Video Producers’ Association. He stayed true to his documentary and experimental roots when he directed Of Time and Memory, an impressionistic adaptation of Don Snyder’s novel. The half hour lyrical documentary depicts Snyder’s struggle to reconstruct the identity of his mother, who died shortly after his birth. The film aired on the Independent Film Channel in the spring of 2002.
Pellington’s third feature, the cult favorite The Mothman Prophecies, arrived in the winter of 2002. A cerebral, paranormal thriller, Mothman starred Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Alan Bates and Debra Messing. It proved that Mark was adept at handling complex set pieces and special effects. That fall, he directed “Lonesome Day”, Bruce Springsteen’s premiere video from his acclaimed album, The Rising. Other video highlights included clips for The Flaming Lips, Nine Inch Nails, Kings of Leon and Dave Matthews.
In the spring of 2003, Mark moved in to the world of network television. He directed the pilot episode of CBS’ “Cold Case,” a one-hour series Executive Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. He served as a Consulting Producer overseeing the visual look of the top rated show for 4 years. A highlight was the January ’06 episode entitled “8 Years” in which Cold Case producers were able to license nine Bruce Springsteen songs. Springsteen very rarely licenses his music and his relationship with Mark was an integral part of his decision. In 2005, Pellington’s video for the Foo Fighters’ “Best of You” was nominated for two prestigious awards, Best Rock Video and Best Editing, at the MTV Music Awards. That year Pellington also Executive Produced a documentary called Our Town by director Scott Kennedy. It was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. He continued to work commercially, shooting campaigns for Subaru, Lowe’s, Honda and Cingular – the latter a collaboration with Savion Glover.
In March of ’06, Mark traveled to South America to direct the U2 3D concert film. A longtime collaborator with Bono and U2, Pellington and co-director, Catherine Owens, broke new cinematic ground for both cameras and technology. Nine 3D HD cameras were used to bring the visual spectacle to life. The film was released in 3D in theaters and IMAX in the spring of ‘08. 2007 included the video for The Fray’s: “How To Save A Life’’ which was awarded Adult Contemporary Video of the Year by the MVPA. The summer of ‘07 saw Pellington’s fourth feature Henry Poole is Here. A personal uplifting story about hope and faith the film stars Luke Wilson, Rahda Mitchell, and Adriana Barraza. The film by Lakeshore Entertainment premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was released by Overture Films in the Fall of 08’.
In early 2009 Pellington directed the CBS pilot BACK, an intense mystery featuring Skeet Ulrich as a man returning home after disappearing in the tragedy of 9-11. Pellington further established his legacy with a trio of artistic videos, for indie-rock sensation Alpha Rev, Grammy-nominated mainstay Moby, and Grammy winners The Fray. His video “Skyscraper” for Demi Lovato won the MTV award for Best Video With A Message in 2012. Other award winning videos for Kid Rock and Jason Mraz further cemented his reputation as a master stylist.
Mark’s 5th feature film was I Melt With You, starring Thomas Jane, Jeremy Piven, Rob Lowe, and Christian Mckay as four friends who make a life-altering pact in college and are forced to confront it 25 years later. This controversial film premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and Magnolia Pictures released the film in December 2011. In 2012, he directed the pilot “Red Widow” starring Radha Mitchell and written by Melissa Rosenberg about one woman’s dangerous journey into the world of organized crime. The show aired on ABC in March 2013. Also in Fall 2012, NBC and Bruckheimer TV again teamed with Pellington to produce the pilot “Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives” written by Sasha Penn. Pellington has a development deal with ABC Studios for television projects and is currently in pre-production on CLANG, his most ambitious feature, starring Kurt Russell, set to film in 2015.