Demme broke into feature film working for exploitation film producer Roger Corman from 1971 to 1976, co-writing and producing ANGELS HARD AS THEY COME and THE HOT BOX. He then moved on to directing, with three films (CAGED HEAT, CRAZY MAMA, FIGHTING MAD) for Corman's studio New World Pictures. After FIGHTING MAD, Demme directed the comedy film HANDLE WITH CARE for Paramount Pictures in 1977.
In 1991, Demme won the Academy Award for THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS - one of only three films to win all the major categories (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor, and Best Actress). Demme followed that up with PHILADELPHIA, which garnered star Tom Hanks a Best Actor Oscar.
Since then, Demme's films have included an adaptation of Toni Morrison's BELOVED, and remakes of two popular films: THE TRUTH ABOUT CHARLIE, based on CHARADE, that starred Mark Wahlberg in the Cary Grant role; and THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, with Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep. In 2007, Demme's film MAN FROM PLAINS a documentary about former U.S. President Jimmy Carter's book tour in promotion of his book, :Palestine: Peace not Apartheid," premiered at the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals.
Demme has directed music videos for artists such as Suburban Lawns, New Order, KRS-One's H.E.A.L. project and Bruce Springsteen. He also produced a compilation of Haitian music called Konbit: Burning Rhythms of Haiti that was released in 1989. Demme is on the board of directors at Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, NY. In addition to his role on the board, he curates and hosts a monthly series called "Rarely Seen Cinema". (8/14)
Beah: A Black Woman Speaks
A film by LisaGay Hamilton, Produced by Neda Armian, Jonathan Demme, LisaGay Hamilton, and Joe Viola, 2003, 90 min., Color/BW
BEAH: A BLACK WOMAN SPEAKS, the directorial debut of actress LisaGay Hamilton, celebrates the life of legendary African American actress, poet and pol...