|Born||in Toledo, Ohio, USA|
Mini Bio (1)
Brett Leonard is a film director.
Mr. Leonard has recently been named by The Producers Guild of America, in association with Variety Magazine, as one of its "Digital 25", recognizing the twenty five 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 recipients include directors James Cameron and Ridley Scott.
Mr. Leonard became a globally-recognized pioneer of digital filmmaking when he directed and co-wrote the hit motion picture 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. 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.
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 by the top brass of the Sony corporation.
He 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, and 3D production.
He first 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 Cameron's Avatar. He then went on to direct Anthony Hopkins in the IMAX 3D spectacular The Magic Box.
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 and directed by Mr. Leonard. He did the same for Alicia Silverstone in his film for Tri-Star, Hideaway, and started Rachel Taylor's career (Transformers, American Horror Story) in his film for Marvel Studios, Man-Thing.
Television star, Alex O'Loughlin (lead in the smash-hit series Hawaii Five-O), was given his first break by Brett, and first appeared in Mr. Leonard's 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) who's first feature was Lawnmower Man, and director of photography Russell Carpenter, who went on to win the Academy Award for Titanic. Literally hundreds of computer graphic animators and 3D innovators who are now in the top ranks of the business, all got their start on Mr. Leonard's groundbreaking films.
Most recently, Mr. Leonard is again pioneering new media forms with a musically driven feature film concept for the Internet called PopFictionLife - Believing that new content distribution platforms need their own creative "genres", Mr. Leonard and his team have focused on creating projects in a style designed specifically for "personal screens" (iPhone, iPad, etc.). PopFictionLife is 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 has produced and directed the first two FragFilms of the PopFictionLife concept, entitled Feel (for Hollywood Records/Disney), and The Other Country (for PFL Transmedia), both of which have been distributed world-wide through the Internet.
Mr. Leonard, 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 International Black Film Festival of Nashville, where it won the "Director's Choice" award for socially-relevant documentary, and has been endorsed by many spiritual leaders, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who says this "story lives on and inspires us all!"
Mr. Leonard and Mr. Smith are now developing Hole in the Head: A Life Revealed into a dramatic feature film based on the incredible true story.
While continually directing feature films over the last twenty five 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 in Los Angeles.
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 producer and 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 this presentation predicted back then - Mr. Leonard 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. Brett's philosophy, born out in all of 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.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Michael Rosen