Jonathan Sanger

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Jonathan Sanger
Born Jonathan Sanger
(1944-04-21) April 21, 1944 (age 68)

Brooklyn, NY, U.S.
Residence Northridge, California
Nationality American
Citizenship United States
Occupation Film Director, Producer, Media Consultant
Years active 1971–present
Notable work(s) The Elephant Man, "Vanilla Sky", "Flight Of The Navigator", "Ray's Male Heterosexual Dance Hall", "Frances"
Spouse(s) Carla Sanger
Children David Sanger and Christopher Sanger

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Jonathan Sanger ( born April 21, 1944 Brooklyn, New York) is an American born film, television, and theatre producer and director.


Early Life and Career

Sanger spent much of his early childhood traveling with his family around Central and South America. Sanger’s interest in theatre stemmed from his undergraduate years at the University of Pennsylvania where he was Chairman of the Board of The Pennsylvania Players, and President of the Performing Arts Council. At the graduate level Sanger attended the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Pennsylvania studying documentary and bio-based filmmaking. After graduating Sanger joined the Peace Corps in a special program with an emphasis on television and film production. Sanger was assigned to help create an Educational Television station in Montevideo, Uruguay. He later transferred to Bogota, Columbia to make films for ICODES , The Columbian Institute of Social Development . After his Peace Corps term was completed, Sanger worked on documentary films in Ecuador, Chile and Mexico for NBC’s International Zone. Soon after, he became Associate Editor for Americás, a cultural magazine published by The Organization of American States, where he wrote and translated articles and stories. Sanger was contracted by the Encyclopædia Britannica to write the article on Bogotá, Colombia for Britannica 3.[1][2][3]


In 1971 Sanger was accepted as a member of the Directors Guild of America Training Program and worked on several films shot in New York , among which were "Across 110th Street", "Harry and Tonto" and "Next Stop, Greenwich Village". Moving to Los Angeles in 1976, Sanger worked for "Lorimar Television" on network Television series' "The Blue Knight (TV series)" and "Eight Is Enough" In 1978 he was Mel Brooks' Assistant Director on “High Anxiety” , which led to a long professional association. For Brook’s wife , Anne Bancroft’s feature directorial debut film “Fatso (1980 film)" Sanger served as Associate Producer. During this period Sanger had acquired the rights to the script of “The Elephant Man (film)”. [4] Sanger brought the script to Brooks’ newly created independent production company and “The Elephant Man (film)” was chosen as the company’s first project. “The Elephant Man (film)” was Sanger’s debut feature film producing credit. “The Elephant Man (film)” received eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and was awarded the BAFTA Award BAFTA Award for Best Film in 1980 and the French César Award for Best Foreign Film.[5][6][7]

Film Producing

Sanger has produced over fifty one films, shorts and documentaries including the 1982 film”Frances[8] [9] [10] a dramatic biography starring Jessica Lange , Kim Stanley and Sam Shepherd. Sanger joined Cruise/Wagner Productions ( Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner’s production company ) in 1996. He Executive Produced "Without Limits"[11] , "Suspect Zero” and “Vanilla Sky[12] [13] as well as supervising production on "Mission Impossible 2" [14] as well as all the Cruise / Wagner Productions over his six years with Cruise/ Wagner. Other films produced by Sanger include "Flight of the Navigator" [15] for Walt Disney Productions, "The Doctor and the Devils" for Twentieth Century Fox, "The Producers (2005 film)"[16] , "100 Feet", and Paraíso Travel[17][18][19][20]

Directing career

Among Sanger’s directing credits are “Code Name: Emerald”,[21] a World War 11 Spy Drama , "Down Came a Blackbird (film)" [22][23] for Showtime Networks and nominated for three "CableACE Award"; several Movies- of- the- Week for NBC, CBS and ABC. as well as numerous episodic television shows. Sanger also wrote and directed the short film : "Peacemaker” with Lukas Haas for PBS’ ( Public Broadcasting Services ) American Playhouse which was awarded Best Short Subject at the Houston International Film Festival.[24][25]

Chanticleer Films

Chanticleer Films In the late 1980’s Sanger created Chanticleer Films as an umbrella company for The Discovery Program. The mission statement of this company was to create an opportunity for film professionals ( writers, editors, actors, sound mixers, cinematographers, etc. ) to direct a 35mm feature quality short film. Hundreds of professionals applied for the five directing spots available annually. For each it was a possible jump start to a career in feature film making. In the eight years of Sanger”s involvement over forty five films were made; ten were nominated for an Academy Award, three won; Almost all entered the International Film Festival circuit winning awards all over the world . The first film produced by Sanger for the program, "Ray’s Male Heterosexual Dance Hall” won the Academy Award for Best Short Film in 1988.[26][27][28]


In 2008, Sanger produced his first musical, the true story of Florence Greenberg, pioneer rock and roll record producer, entitled Baby It's You.[29] The musical started as a workshop production in a West Hollywood theater and was soon transferred to the Pasadena Playhouse. Warner Brothers Theatrical Ventures and Universal Music Group came on as producing partners and the show made its Broadway debut in March 2010. Sanger has several other musicals in development and also directed his first play, the dystopian drama, The Birthday Present - 2050 in 2010.[20][30]

Other Achievements

In addition to twenty Academy Award Nominations and three wins, Sanger has won a Christopher Award, a BAFTA ( BAFTA Award for Best Film ), a César Award, Scholastic Magazine's Bell Ringer Award, an AARP Movies For Grownups Award, and a Cine Golden Eagle Award CINE. Sanger was named Filmmaker-in-Residence at Chapman University's Dodge College of Film And Media Arts during the Spring semester of 2010 and was made Adjunct Professor in 2011, teaching a course in Creative Producing. He has been a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since 1981 and a member of the Directors Guild of America DGA) since 1971, and has served on its National Board. His other professional organizations include The Producers Guild of America (PGA), The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA).


Sanger is married to Carla Sanger, and has two sons, David and Christopher Sanger.


  1. ^ Binstine,Brabra. Interview of Jonathan Sanger with President Uribe of Colombia. CARAS Magazine, Sept, 2006 ,p.92-94.
  2. ^ Encyclopedia Britannica. Bogota, Colombia . Encyclopedia Britannica, Macropedia Volume 2, 1978 ,p.1183-1184 .
  3. ^ George Godwin,Kenneth. Jonathan Sanger. Cagey Films Dec,10,1981,p.39.
  4. ^ Kuhn,Joy. The Elephant Man - The Book of the Film. Virgin Books, 1980 ,p.22.
  5. ^ Kael,Pauline. Elephant Man. New Yorker, Oct,27,1980 ,p.178.
  6. ^ Summers,Jimmy. Elephant Man. Box Office, Oct,1980 ,cover story.
  7. ^ Academy Awards [1] Academy Awards' . Retrieved on 1 Nov 2012.
  8. ^ Kilday,Gregg Frances. L.A. Herald Examiner, Dec,2,1982 ,cover story.
  9. ^ Benson,Shiela. Frances. L.A. Times Calendar, Dec,3,1982 ,cover story.
  10. ^ Pollack,dale. Frances. L.A. Times Calendar , Dec,3,1982 ,page 21.
  11. ^ Greg,Kilday. Without Limits. The Hollywood Reporter, March 16, 1998 ,p.14.
  12. ^ Turan,Kenneth. Vanilla Sky. L.A.Times, Dec,14,2001,p.32.
  13. ^ Todd,McCarthy. Vanilla Sky. Variety, Dec,9,2001,p.10.
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ Sternbergh,Adam. The Producers Movie. New York Magazine, Dec,2005 ,p.45,p.51.
  17. ^ Singer,Michael. Film Directors - A Complete Guide. Lone Eagle Publishing Company , August,1992 ,p.331.
  18. ^ Padgett, Tim. An Honest Look at Illegal Immigration. Time Entertainment, 2008
  19. ^ Wallenstein,Joe. Practical Moviemaking, A Hand Book For The Real World . McFarland & Company Publishing , Oct,25,2012 ,p.177-178.
  20. ^ a b Cassell,A.R Producer Jonathan Sanger Directs The Birthday Present 2050'. LA Stage, March 18, 2011.
  21. ^ IMDB [2] IMDB' . Retrieved on 1 Nov 2012.
  22. ^ Scott,Tony. Down Came A Blackbird. Variety, Oct, 15.1995 ,p6.
  23. ^ Frink,Jon-Stephen. Cluck! The True Story of Chickens in the Cinema. Virgin Books, Oct, 15.1981 ,p.128-130, 60.
  24. ^ American Playhouse Peacemaker. Daily Variety , Oct,1989 ,p.27.
  25. ^ Singer Michael. Film Directors - A Complete Guide. Lone Eagle Publishing, Nov, 11.1990 ,p331.
  26. ^ Lieberman,Jane. Chanticleer Films, Discovery Program . L.A.Times , Jan,1,1988 ,p.28.
  27. ^ Wilson,John M. Chanticleer Films, Discovery Program . L.A.Times , Jan,6,1991 ,p.33.
  28. ^ Singer,Michael. Film Directors - A Complete Guide. Lone Eagle Publishing Company , August,1992 ,p.331.
  29. '^ Cox,Gordon. Sanger and Sica say 'It's You. Variety, Oct,20,2010,p.12.
  30. ^ L.A.Weekly Theater Critics. The Birthday Present 2050. L.A.Weekly, Mar, 2011 ,p.21.
  • IMDB (2012). [3] (Web). Los Angeles, USA: IMDB.
  • Academy Awards (1981) Nominees and Winners (2012). [4] (Film production). Los Angeles, USA: Academy Awards.
  • Academy Awards (1988) Nominees and Winners (2012). [5] (Film production). Los Angeles, USA: Academy Awards.
  • Loynd, Ray (Special to the Times) (2012). [6] (Print/Web). Los Angeles, USA: Los Angeles Times.
  • Tim Padgett, Time Entertainment (2012). [7] (Web/Print). USA: Time.
  • Cassell, A.R (Writer) (March 18, 2011). [8] (Film production). Los Angeles, USA: Los Angeles Times.
  • Adam Sternbergh (December 12, 2005). [9] (Web/Print). USA: New York Magazine.

loynd, Ray. "'Imagination' an Irresistible Love Story". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 25 July 2012.