Brett Leonard

About

Brett Leonard is considered one of Hollywood’s most innovative film directors, and is known as one of the entertainment industry’s top digital-media visionaries.
 
Mr. Leonard has recently been named by The Producers Guild of America, in association with Variety, as one of its 2010 “Digital 25,” recognizing the 25 leading visionaries, innovators and producers who have made significant contributions to the advancement of storytelling through digital media. The Guild’s 4,500 members, including producers of film, television and new media, along with a distinguished Digital 25 Advisory Board, voted Mr. Leonard for this honor. Other 2010 recipients include directors James Cameron and Ridley Scott.
 
Mr. Leonard directed and co-wrote the hit motion picture The Lawnmower Man, starring Pierce Brosnan and Jeff Fahey. The film is considered a cult classic, way ahead of its time in the use of groundbreaking computer graphics and the portrayal of a networked data culture.The Lawnmower Man is one of the true progenitors of the “cyber genre” and was the number one commercially successful independent film of 1992, costing under $6 million and earning over $200 million worldwide.
 
In 1993 Mr. Leonard was a key participant of the Sony 2000 think tank, a small group of media visionaries assembled to discuss the future of media. He also directed Peter Gabriel’s Kiss That Frog, the first HD all computer graphic music video/ride film. Kiss That Frog toured the world as a wildly popular theme park attraction, and won Mr. Leonard a 1994 MTV Music Video Award.
 
In the ensuing years, Mr. Leonard has continued to push the envelope in his feature film work, establishing himself as a pioneer of digital visual effects and cutting-edge independent film. He stepped into the third dimension with his IMAX 3D work, and directed T-Rex in IMAX 3D, which was the No.#1 hit 3D movie in history for over ten years, having grossed over $100 million worldwide on IMAX screens alone. It was also the first 3D film to use photo- realistic computer graphics and stereoscopic compositing, techniques that led to the innovations of current 3D film spectaculars such as James Cameronʼs Avatar.
 
Mr. Leonard is also known for having a keen eye for new talent, both in front of and behind the camera. He was instrumental in bringing Russell Crowe to American film audiences, giving Russell his first lead in a Hollywood film, Virtuosity, starring Denzel Washington, directed by Mr. Leonard. He did the same for Alicia Silverstone in his film for Tri-Star, Hideaway, and started Rachel Taylorʼs career (Transformers, Shutter) in his film Man-Thing.
 
Rising star, Alex OʼLoughlin (lead in the CBS seriesʼ Moonlight, Three Rivers, and the current hit series Hawaii Five-O), was given his first break by Brett, and appeared in Mr. Leonardʼs films, Man-Thing and Feed.
 
Mr. Leonard has also been instrumental in dozens of careers behind the camera – Some of the most notable are production designer Alex McDowell (Minority Report, The Terminal, Watchmen) whoʼs first feature was The LawnMower Man, and director of photography Russell Carpenter (who went on to win the Academy Award for Titanic), and literally hundreds of computer graphic animators who are now in the top ranks of the business – all getting their start on Mr. Leonardʼs groundbreaking films.
 
Most recently, Mr. Leonard, through his next-generation company MegaTrend Media, is again pioneering new media forms with a musically driven feature film concept for the Internet called PopFictionLife – He has completed directing the first two FragFilms of this concept entitled Truth? and Feel (for Hollywood Records/Disney) which will have world-wide distribution in 2010.
 
Believing that new content distribution platforms need their own creative “genres”, the team at MegaTrend has focused on creating projects in a style designed specifically for “personal screens” (iPhone, iPad, etc.)-
 
PopFictionLife – an Internet movie concept where a music-driven story is told in 5min “Frags” that connect together to form a full-length feature film.
 
A FragFilm is not a typical web series – it delivers the “movie” experience in a form parsed for the short attention spans of the YouTube generation, designed for easy viewing and downloading on the Internet and mobile platforms. FragFilms of the PopFictionLife genre revolve around the actual lives of developing or established music artists, fictionalized in fun and creative ways to have the dramatic impact of a Hollywood movie–
 
This presents the artist and their music in an entertaining and compelling context beyond “reality”, with the style and high production values audiences expect from feature films and television.
 
Mr. Leonard and MegaTrend, in partnership with producer Wilbert Smith Ph.D., has also recently completed a feature-length documentary entitled, Hole in the Head: A Life Revealed, narrated by renowned actor Dennis Haysbert. The film had its world premiere at the 2010 International Black Film Festival of Nashville, where it won the “Directorʼs Choice” award for socially-relevant documentary. This project is also being developed as a dramatic feature film.
 

Interactive Media Experience

While continually directing feature films over the last twenty years, Mr. Leonard also produced numerous interactive projects that were well ahead of their time – many at the forefront of defining what is now called “user- created interactive entertainment”.
 
He created a sensation when he took his “Swarm Cam- Fusion Station” onto the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Billy Idol, and implemented one of the first live web-casts ever, from the House of Blues, LA.
 
Consequently, Mr. Leonard was approached by the Creative Artists Agency and Intel Corporation to direct a state-of-the-art “interactive show” for the CAA/Intel Media Lab, with his team at L-Squared Entertainment doing the technical implementation. The “show,” IS?TV®: The Virtual Studio Tour, was to introduce the Hollywood community to the “future of entertainment.”
 
As director of this ambitious and pioneering project, Mr. Leonard digitized his star Danny DeVito, creating an interactive animated character named “Mr. Head”, who guided the audience/participants through the interactive experience.
 
Looking at this presentation now, over ten years later, the volcanically changing media landscape we inhabit today is incredibly similar to what Brett and his team predicted back then: Brett was one of the first to envision the “YouTube”, “Facebook” cyber-world of our new millennium.
 
Mr. Leonard continues to develop ground-breaking projects for enabling truly interactive user-created media experiences, for both the internet, and location-based immersive media venues. Brettʼs philosophy, born out in all his interactive work, is to empower people to create story, character, and emotion in any new media experience, no matter what the technology being used to create it.

Projects

Opus (feature film)

From the producer who brought you ‘Virtuosity’,'The Lawnmower Man’ and the IMAX smash hit ‘T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous’, we present to you our newest thriller Opus.  In the vein of Saw, we follow eight actors who submit videos to be cast in a horror film, only to discover that the action is all too real.  As they are picked off one by one, minds start to wonder if the elusive director is creating his greatest masterpiece yet.

Hole in the Head (feature documentary film)

This feature length documentary tells the story of Vertus Hardiman and nine other young children, attending the same elementary school in Lyles Station Indiana who, in 1927 were severely irradiated during a medical experiment conducted at the local county hospital. The experiment was misrepresented as a newly developed cure for the scalp fungus known as ringworm. In reality the ringworm fungus was merely the lure used to gain access to innocent children whose unsuspecting parents blindly signed permission slips for the treatment.
 
Vertus was five years old and the youngest. Now after 20 years of friendship with writer/producer Wilbert Smith, through their church choir, Vertus unburdens himself to Wilbert with an incredible story, finally exposing the severe physical complication caused by this shocking medical crime. This crime had severe physical complications for Vertus – namely a harshly irradiated and malformed head, with an actual hole in his skull.
 
Remarkably, not one person in his community had ever been aware of Vertus’ suffering because he always wore a wig and woolen beanie to cover the shame. During filming Vertus reveals his secret stating, “For over 80 years, only four individuals outside a few medical specialists have ever seen my condition; I hide it because I look like some monster.” Over his life Vertus was criticized, teased and scorned by acquaintances that had no idea what the wig had been hiding for 80 years.
 
Wilbert’s in-depth research led to his discovering four additional survivors of this horrific event. Their collective accounts add breadth and lend credence to this incredible story. Other surviving victims had astonishing similarities, but none as painful or shocking as Vertus.
 
This documentary reveals that the Lyles Station experiments were not an isolated event. One such example involves radiation experiments performed in Israel in 1951against one hundred thousand darker-skinned immigrant children, a tragedy financed by the United States Army. Amazingly, many of these victims arrived on U.S. soil in cages for further study, in an attempt to determine human reaction to over-exposure to radiation.
 
As remarkable and shocking as the story may appear, this film is not an indictment of inhumane government-sanctioned medical experimentation. Rather Hole in the Head: A Life Revealed reflects the incredible strength of one man who survived the harshest imaginable circumstances through the power of the human spirit. His simplicity and life philosophy always lifted the spirits of all he touched.
 
Over 1200 viewers have taken part in the initial private screenings of this film. Their reactions suggest that it not only encouraged them to more willingly accept the differences of others, but also to accept these differences without undue challenge or debate. Many vowed to think of Vertus and the lessons he modeled whenever they felt the urge to complain.
 
Enter the story with Wilbert and witness firsthand how Vertus carved his way to happiness, using his huge capacity to love and forgive, perhaps a timely message needed by our world today.
 
Narrated By: Dennis Haysbert
Directed By: Brett Leonard
Written By: Wilbert Smith Ph.D. & Brett Leonard
Produced By: Wilbert Smith Ph.D.
 
Hole in the Head (trailer)
This short documentary trailer will stun you, disturb you, and move you. A mind-boggling story of America’s ugly past, unknown in the present. View with caution.

Credits

Director (14 titles)

Breathing Underwater (2010 TV series)
Hole in the Head: A Life Revealed (2009 documentary)
Truth? (2009)
Highlander: The Source (2007)
Feed (2005)
Man-Thing (2005)
Peter Gabriel: Play (2004 video) (video “Kiss That Frog”)
Siegfried & Roy: The Magic Box (1999 documentary)
T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous (1998)
Virtuosity (1995)
Hideaway (1995)
Shock to the System (1993 video)
The Lawnmower Man (1992)
The Dead Pit (1989)

Writer (6 titles)

Breathing Underwater (2010 TV series)
Hole in the Head: A Life Revealed (2009 documentary)
Truth? (2009 story / writer)
Siegfried & Roy: The Magic Box (1999 documentary)
The Lawnmower Man (1992 screenplay)
The Dead Pit (1989 writer)

Producer (4 titles)

Opus (2011 executive producer)
Breathing Underwater (2010 TV series, producer)
Truth? (2009 producer)
Texas (2002 documentary, producer)

Self (2 titles)

Cyberspace (1996 TV series, 3 Episodes)
Movie Magic (1995 TV series documentary)

Awards

Sitges – Catalonian International Film Festival

Hideaway, 1995 Best Film Nomination
Virtuosity, 1995 Best Film Nomination

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films

Lawnmower Man, 1993 Best Science Fiction Film Nomination
Lawnmower Man, 1993 Best Special Effects Nomination

Links

Professional Links

Official Page
IMDB Page

Networks & Feeds

Works & Media

Video Links
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