Gregg Araki: Film director (1959-) | Biography, Facts, Information, Career, Wiki, Life
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Gregg Araki
Film director

Gregg Araki

Gregg Araki
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Film director
Is Film director Screenwriter Film editor
From United States of America
Field Film, TV, Stage & Radio
Gender male
Birth 17 December 1959, Los Angeles
Age 63 years
Star sign Sagittarius
The details (from wikipedia)


Gregg Araki (born December 17, 1959) is an American independent filmmaker and film director involved heavily with New Queer Cinema. His film Kaboom was the first ever winner of the Cannes Film Festival Queer Palm awarded in 2010.

Early life and education

Araki was born in Los Angeles on December 17, 1959 to Japanese American parents. He grew up in nearby Santa Barbara, California and enrolled in college at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He graduated with a B.A. from UCSB in 1982. He later attended the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts, where he graduated with a M.F.A. in 1985.


Low-budget beginnings

Araki made his directorial debut in 1987 with Three Bewildered People in the Night. With a budget of only $5,000 and using a stationary camera, he told the story of a romance between a video artist, her sweet-heart and her gay friend. Two years later, Araki followed up with The Long Weekend (O' Despair), another film with a $5,000 budget. His third film, The Living End, saw an increase to $20,000. He had to shoot his early movies often spontaneously and lacking proper permits.

Despite the financial constraints, Araki's films received critical acclaim. He received awards from the Locarno International Film Festival and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, with an additional nomination for a Sundance Film Festival award.

Teen Apocalypse Trilogy

Araki's next three movies — Totally Fucked Up, The Doom Generation, and Nowhere — were collective dubbed the "Teen Apocalypse Trilogy". The trio has been characterized as "... teen alienation, hazy sexuality and aggression." A former student of his at UC Santa Barbara, Andrea Sperling, co-produced the films with him.

The trifecta saw Araki work with increasingly more notable actors and actresses including Rose McGowan, Margaret Cho, Parker Posey, Guillermo Díaz, Ryan Phillippe, Heather Graham, and Mena Suvari among others.

The Trilogy received varying degrees of reviews, from a thumbs down and "zero stars" by Roger Ebert's to "Literally the Best Thing Ever" by Rookie and being heralded as cult classics.

Araki at the Deauville American Film Festival in September 2010

Subsequent efforts

Araki's following film, Splendor, was both a response to the controversy surrounding his ongoing relationship with actress Kathleen Robertson (despite identifying as gay) and an homage to screwball comedies of the 1940s and 1950s. Hailed as the director's most optimistic film to date, it made its premiere at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival.

Araki's next project was the ill-fated MTV production This Is How the World Ends, which was originally planned with a budget of $1.5 million. He viewed it as a chance to reach the masses through MTV's viewership and signed on to do the project despite the budget being cut to $700,000. Araki wrote, directed, and shot the pilot episode, but ultimately MTV decided against the project and the effort never aired.

Following a short hiatus, Araki returned in 2004 with the critically acclaimed Mysterious Skin, based on the 1995 Scott Heim novel of the same name. This marked the first time that Araki worked with someone else's source material.

Araki's next feature was the stoner comedy Smiley Face, featuring Anna Faris, Adam Brody, and John Krasinski, written by Dylan Haggerty. It marked a stark change from the dark, heavy drama of Mysterious Skin, a change purposely planned by Araki. It received very favorable reviews, with some describing it as another of Araki's potential cult classics.

Kaboom marked Araki's tenth film and made its premiere at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. It was awarded the first ever Queer Palm for its contribution to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues.


One consistent feature of Araki's work to date is the presence of music from the shoegazing genre as film soundtracks, first seen on Totally Fucked Up and heavily so on the films Nowhere and Mysterious Skin. Both The Living End and Nowhere owe their titles to this shoegaze influence; The Living End after like-named The Jesus and Mary Chain song and Nowhere after Ride's album entitled Nowhere.

Awards and honors

In 2010, Kaboom was named the first ever winner of the Cannes Film Festival Queer Palm. Araki has also been honored with the 2006 Filmmaker on the Edge Award at the Provincetown International Film Festival. In 2013, Araki was recognized by the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City with the retrospective God Help Me: Gregg Araki.

Personal life

Araki has previously self-identified as "a gay Asian American". Contrary to the statement, beginning in 1997 he had a relationship with actress Kathleen Robertson, whom he directed in Nowhere. The relationship ended in 1999. Araki has since mainly dated men and now identifies as bisexual.


Year Title Notes
1987 Three Bewildered People in the Night Debut
1989 The Long Weekend (O' Despair)
1992 The Living End
1993 Totally Fucked Up Part 1 of "Teen Apocalypse Trilogy"
1995 The Doom Generation Part 2 of "Teen Apocalypse Trilogy"
1997 Nowhere Part 3 of "Teen Apocalypse Trilogy"
1999 Splendor
2000 This Is How the World Ends Television pilot
2004 Mysterious Skin Based on the book by Scott Heim
2007 Smiley Face
2010 Kaboom
2014 White Bird in a Blizzard Based on the novel
2016 American Crime Season Two: Episode Three
2016 Red Oaks Two episodes

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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