After spending many years producing feature films, Ross Katz transitioned into writing and directing in 2009 with the HBO film, Taking Chance. Subsequent films include Adult Beginners (2015), and the forthcoming Lionsgate film The Choice, opening February 2016.
Release Date: February 5, 2016
Directed by: Ross Katz
Written by: Bryan Sipe (based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks)
Producers: Nicholas Sparks, Peter Safran, Theresa Park
Main Cast: Benjamin Walker, Teresa Palmer, Tom Welling, Alexandra Daddario, Tom Wilkinson, Maggie Grace
Distributed by: Lionsgate
Synopsis: Travis Parker (Benjamin Walker) has everything a man could want: a good job, loyal friends, even a waterfront home in small-town North Carolina. In full pursuit of the good life—boating, swimming, and regular barbecues with his good-natured buddies—he holds the vague conviction that a serious relationship with a woman would only cramp his style. That is, until Gabby Holland (Teresa Palmer) moves in next door. Despite his attempts to be neighborly, the appealing beauty seems to have a chip on her shoulder about him… and the presence of her longtime boyfriend doesn’t help.
Despite himself, Travis can’t stop trying to ingratiate himself with his new neighbor, and his persistent efforts lead them both to the doorstep of a journey that neither could have foreseen. Spanning the eventful years of young love, marriage and family, The Choice ultimately confronts us with the most heartwrenching question of all: how far would you go to keep the hope of love alive?
THE CHOICE comes to movie theaters everywhere on February 5th, 2016!
Released: April, 2015
Directed by: Ross Katz
Executive Producers: Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass
Producers: Sam Slater, Paul Bernon, Nick Kroll, Karrie Cox, Marcus Cox, Jared Ian Goldman
Main Cast: Rose Byrne, Nick Kroll, Bobby Cannavale
Synopsis: Adult Beginners centers around a narcissistic entrepreneur named Jake (Nick Kroll). After his technology start-up bombs, Jake is penniless and forced to go “home” to New Rochelle to live with his sister Justine (Rose Byrne) and her husband Danny (Bobby Cannavale) in the house he grew up in. The film is a portrait of two grown siblings who don’t really connect and often frustrate each other, while discovering they have more in common than they’d admit.
The film also stars Josh Charles, Jane Krakowski, Bobby Moynihan, Joel McHale, Celia Weston, Jason Mantzoukas, and Celia Weston. The film debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival in early September, where it was quickly acquired by Radius. The film was released in theaters and iTunes on April 24th, 2015.
“Adult Beginners is a script I fell in love with immediately. It is so funny and has so much heart — it struck a chord with me from the first moment I read it. Brilliantly written by Liz Flahive and Jeff Cox, the characters felt so authentic to me that all I had to do as a director, was not screw it up. I’m thrilled to have made a movie that is so vastly different from Taking Chance, as I’m interested in making all kinds of films across different genres. Working with Rose, Nick, and Bobby, was like taking a master class in acting.” — Ross Katz
Star Nick Kroll with producer Jared Goldman and director Ross Katz
Directed by: Ross Katz
Produced by: Lori Keith Douglas, Ross Katz (Executive), Brad Krevoy (Executive), Cathy Wischner-Sola (Executive), William Teitler (Executive)
Written by: Lt. Col. Michael Strobl, Ross Katz
Starring: Kevin Bacon
Synopsis: In April 2004, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Strobl, USMC, came across the name of 19-year-old Lance Corporal Chance Phelps, a young Marine who had been killed by hostile fire in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. Strobl, a Desert Storm veteran with 17 years of military service, requested that he be assigned for military escort duty to accompany Chance’s remains to his family in Dubois, Wyo.
Witnessing the spontaneous outpouring of support and respect for the fallen Marine — from the groundskeepers he passed along the road to the cargo handlers at the airport — Strobl was moved to capture the experience in his personal journal. His first-person account, which began as an official trip report, gives an insight into the military’s policy of providing a uniformed escort for all casualties. The story became an Internet phenomenon when it was widely circulated throughout the military community and eventually reached the mainstream media.
Taking Chance chronicles one of the silent, virtually unseen journeys that takes place every day across the country, bearing witness to the fallen and all those who, literally and figuratively, carry them home. A uniquely non-political film about the war in Iraq, the film pays tribute to all of the men and women who have given their lives in military service as well as their families.
The HBO Film Taking Chance was Ross Katz’s directorial debut, for which he won the DGA Award for “Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television/Mini-Series.” Katz collaborated on the screenplay with Lt. Col Michael R. Strobl, USMC (Ret.), which was based on the journal of the same name by Strobl.
“Taking Chance” poster
Ross Katz with Kevin Bacon
“Making Taking Chance was a haunting yet transcendent experience. Every member of the cast and crew were part of a deeply moving journey that took us to both terrifying and somber places, as well as helping us all remember the triumph of the human spirit and how inspiring these two individuals – Lance Cpl Chance R. Phelps and LtCol. Michael Strobl (USMC, Ret.) – could be.
The shoot was exhilarating, as all along the way we met and interacted with the real Military Personnell and individuals who transport the remains of the Fallen. We had an unbelievable cast and crew who were deeply devoted, and led by my own personal hero, Kevin Bacon. Getting to know and love the Phelps and Strobl families, and being welcomed to the Marines, has changed me forever.” — Ross
Ross Katz is a two-time Academy Award nominee whose feature producing credits include:
IN THE BEDROOM
Directed by: Todd Field
Produced by: Todd Field, Ross Katz, Graham Leader
Main Cast: Tom Wilkinson, Sissy Spacek, Nick Stahl, Marisa Tomei
Synopsis: The Fowlers are a typical family in Maine. Matt is the town doctor and loves to fish, his wife, Ruth, is the school’s choir leader, and their son, Frank, is home from his first year of college. Frank has fallen in love with Natalie, a mother who isn’t quite divorced yet from her husband, Richard Strout, whose family runs the local cannery. It makes Richard’s blood run cold to see his wife running around with another man. When the affair takes a sudden and tragic turn, the Fowlers are forced to confront the harsh reality of their situation and the inescapable consequences of their actions.
In the Bedroom was the debut feature film from actor/director Todd Field, and was nominated for multiple awards — including 5 Academy Awards (Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Screenplay).
“When I read Todd Field’s “In the Bedroom” in 2000, I literally could not sleep at night. I thought I might die if I did not get to produce it. It was the most beautiful screenplay I had ever read. Thankfully, Todd, along with Ted Hope and John Penotti, allowed me to come on board. It was the most intense shoot I’ve ever had. We had very little money, very little time, and a lot working against us. But Todd was so clear on his vision for the movie, that every day I felt we were piecing together something very, very special. Todd is an auteur, and every detail in his work is extraordinarily thought through. His work with our great actors was deeply inspiring to me.
Todd would later unselfishly prod me and champion me as a director. His loyalty is incomparable. Working with my now life-long friend, Tom Wilkinson, makes it clear to me that I have worked with one of the greats. Sissy Spacek and Marisa Tomei and Nick Stahl brought so much heart and strength and passion to our movie. Little did we know, the film would get 5 Academy Award Nominations. All we had really hoped for was to get released. Early on in the process, some people felt the film was “too arty” to find an audience. Thankfully, the critics, along with Miramax recognized what Todd had achieved, and blasted the film forward. I think this film really stands the test of time. I recently saw it on cable for the first time in years, and I found it just as emotionally gut-wrenching as the first time I saw it.” — Ross Katz
LOST IN TRANSLATION
Directed & Written by: Sofia Coppola
Produced by: Sofia Coppola, Ross Katz
Main Cast: Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Giovanni Ribisi, Anna Faris
Synopsis: Bob Harris (Bill Murray) is an aging American movie star who finds himself in Tokyo to film a whisky commercial for a big paycheck. Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) is a young college graduate who is often left behind in her Tokyo hotel room by her celebrity photographer husband. Over the course of just a few nights, the two strangers make a special kind of connection. Two lonely souls in a strange, foreign place…navigating the emptiness found in their own lives, the unfamiliar landscape of Tokyo, and the generational difference between them.
With an impeccable performance by Murray, and masterful, nuanced directing by Sofia Coppola on her sophomore effort, “Lost in Translation” is one of the most highly regarded films of its decade — winning an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, and three Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture, Best Actor, and Best Screenplay.
“Lost in Translation was a low budget, artistic endeavor that turned out to be wildly commercial. When we were making it, we had no idea how much it would resonate. But Sofia Coppola is such a visionary writer and director — a true auteur — that she was able to infuse the film with a dreamy kind of truth that audiences related to. I loved living in Japan for those months and working with a mainly Japanese crew. The trip to the Academy Awards was thrilling and surreal, but for me, it was that first screening at the Venice Film Festival that really blew me away. I’ll never forget the life-experience that was making this movie.” — Ross Katz
THE LARAMIE PROJECT
Directed by: Moisés Kaufman
Produced by: Declan Baldwin, Ross Katz (Executive), Ann Carey (Executive), Ted Hope (Executive)
Main Cast: Nestor Carbonell, Christina Ricci, Dylan Baker, Terry Kinney, Laura Linney, Steve Buscemi, and various
Synopsis: The small town of Laramie, Wyoming was unknown to most Americans, let alone the rest of the world. But everything changed one tragic night in 1998, when Matthew Sheppard — a young gay college student — was found tied to a fence after being brutally beaten and left to die. A nationwide debate about hate crimes and homophobia thrust Laramie into the spotlight, and the small town inhabitants were suddenly under a lot of media scrutiny.
A month after the crime, Moisés Kaufman — a writer and director with the New York City theater troupe the Tectonic Theater Project — traveled to Laramie with a handful of actors to interview people who lived in and around town. Kaufman’s goal was to create a play that focused not on the assault on Matthew Shepard, but on the community where such an attack could happen, and how many of the citizens reacted to the crime. That play, The Laramie Project, was first performed in early 2000. Two years later, this HBO film adaptation — also directed by Kaufman — brought the project to an all new level. The all-star cast includes Dylan Baker, Steve Buscemi, Peter Fonda, Janeane Garofolo, Laura Linney, Amy Madigan, Camryn Manheim, Christina Ricci, Frances Sternhagen, and Nestor Carbonell as Moisés Kaufman.
“When I met Moises Kaufman, I was floored. This eccentric genius has brought the subject of Matthew Shepard’s murder front and center in the world of theatre and was now hellbent on expanding that to film. I was desperate to produce the film, after I read Moises’s chilling, haunting, truthful words, and he would become one of the best and most true partners I’ve ever had. Moises brought with him to set every day a hunger for accuracy, a vision for beauty, and deep devotion to Matthew and the people of Laramie.
What the Tectonic Theater Project did out there in Laramie is open a wound and somehow invite the people of Laramie to participate in a vital dialogue. I’m incredibly proud of this film, the culmination of which was a screening at the Sundance Film Festival on opening night. I am eternally grateful to my partners on the project, Anne Carey and Ted Hope.” — Ross Katz
Directed & Written by: Sofia Coppola
Produced by: Sofia Coppola, Ross Katz
Main Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Jason Schwartzman, Judy Davis, Steve Coogan, Rose Byrne
Synopsis: Written and directed by Academy Award® winner Sofia Coppola, Marie Antoinette is an electrifying yet intimate re-telling of the turbulent life of history’s favorite villainess. Kirsten Dunst portrays the ill-fated child princess who married France’s young and indifferent King Louis XVI (Jason Schwartzman). Feeling isolated in a royal court rife with scandal and intrigue, Marie Antoinette defied both royalty and commoner by living like a rock star, which served only to seal her fate.
Marie Antoinette was Coppola’s third feature film, and the second one in collaboration with producer Ross Katz after 2003’s Lost in Translation. Coppola offered a heavily stylized, modern view of the Queen, which was accentuated by the successful new wave, post-punk soundtrack.
“I never imagined that my job would take me to Paris for nearly a year, but thankfully Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette did just that. I had an apartment in the sixth that was beautiful and we lived and worked hard over that year. Amazingly, and entirely because of Sofia and her vision, Versailles let us shoot in places that were never allowed to be shot before. Though daunting, it was always exciting to show up at work at Versailles.
Sofia’s leadership guided us through a very tough shoot, which was complicated by intricate (and amazing) costuming, hundreds of extras, and real locations. I loved working with our cast, beginning with the exquisite Kirsten Dunst and the wonderful Jason Schwartzman. From Judy Davis to Steve Coogan, we were graced with some of the most talented people in the U.S., France, and Great Britain. It was an unforgettable experience with a huge learning curve and a great outcome.” — Ross Katz
Directed by: Jim Fall
Produced by: Jim Fall, Ross Katz, Eric d’Arbeloff
Main Cast: Christian Campbell, John Paul Pitoc, Tori Spelling
Synopsis: What do drag queens, aspiring sex therapists, and Tori Spelling have in common? They’re part of a madcap night out in Manhattan for two frustrated guys who are trying to find a place…any place.
Gabe (Christian Campbell) and Mark (J.P. Pitoc) aren’t asking for much – just a simple one night stand. All they need is a place to seal the deal. Sound easy? Not when your neurotic best friend (Tori Spelling, The House of Yes, TV’s “Beverly Hills, 90210”) is trying to revive a dying musical career off-off-off-Broadway, your cabaret singing co-worker has just broken up with his boyfriend of seven years and the entire city seems set for a nervous breakdown.
It’s one chaotic event after another as these two hopeful romantics try to stop the city so they can get off!
Trick has endured as a modern LGBT romantic-comedy classic, with a successful soundtrack and some of the most quotable lines ever!
“Jim Fall’s Trick is the first movie I ever produced, and it was an amazing experience. Shot for just $400,000 the film would end up in competition at Sundance and being purchased by Fine Line Features for distribution. I loved making this movie during a very steamy, hot summer in New York. Jim is a great leader and had a very clear vision for the film, which turned out to be a lovely, warm, romantic comedy unlike anything I’d seen before.” — Ross Katz
ROSS KATZ BIO
Ross Katz is a New York based filmmaker. As a Producer, he has twice been nominated for an Academy Award for producing In the Bedroom and Lost in Translation, winning a Golden Globe for the latter. In 2009, Katz transitioned into writing and directing with HBO Films Taking Chance, starring Kevin Bacon. He was the recipient of the DGA and WGA Awards, and Kevin Bacon won the Golden Globe for that film. In early 2014, Katz directed Adult Beginners starring Rose Byrne, Nick Kroll, and Bobby Cannavale, and he has recently finished filming The Choice (adapted from the Nicholas Sparks novel) starring Benjamin Walker, Teresa Palmer and Tom Welling.
Katz began his career as a grip on Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs, followed by three years working for Sydney Pollack and Producer Lindsay Doran. In 1996, Katz worked on Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility as an assistant, and later moved to New York to work for indie production outfit Good Machine. Run by James Schamus, David Linde, and Ted Hope, Katz worked in development, production, and post production, until he produced his first movie, 1999’s Trick.
In 2001, Katz was nominated for his first Academy Award for Todd Field’s In the Bedroom. The film starred Sissy Spacek, Tom Wilkinson, and Marisa Tomei, all of whom were nominated for Oscars. Following that film, he Executive Produced Moises Kaufman’s The Laramie Project for HBO Films. That film garnered five Emmy nominations. Months later, Katz left for Japan to produce Sofia Coppola’s Oscar-nominated Lost in Translation, followed a couple of years later by Marie Antoinette.
Having produced those films, Katz felt like it was the right time to transition into writing and directing. He initially read Michael Strobl’s Taking Chance with an eye toward writing and producing only. But the writing process was so intense, he felt like the next logical step was to see it to its conclusion. And so, in 2009, he made his directorial debut with the film, which premiered at that Sundance Film Festival in competition. It garnered five Emmy nominations, as well as wins at the DGA, WGA, and Golden Globes. The film is HBO’s highest rated original film.
In 2014, producer/actor Nick Kroll and multi-hyphenate Mark Duplass sent Katz a script that ultimately became Adult Beginners. Upon reading it, he knew it had to be his next film. Having made a somber elegy with Taking Chance, Katz wanted to do something radically different. The film was shot in New York in the winter of 2014, and was produced by Kroll, Duplass, Jared Ian Goldman, Paul Bernon, Sam Slater, Karrie Cox, and Marcus Cox. After debuting at the Toronto Film Festival, it was acquired by Radius and was released in theaters in April, 2015.
Katz’s next movie is The Choice, based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks — produced by Sparks, Theresa Park and Peter Safran. It filmed in North Carolina in 2015, and will debut in theaters on February 5, 2016.
Ross Katz has won, and been nominated for, numerous awards as both a Producer and Director. Here is a list of some of his achievements:TAKING CHANCE (2009) – Director, Co-Writer, Executive Producer
- Primetime Emmy Awards (nominated in all three categories)
- Directors Guild of America (winner of Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television/Mini-Series)
- Producers Guild Awards (co-nominated for Outstanding Producer of Long-Form Television)
- Sundance Film Festival (nominated for the Grand Jury Prize in the Dramatic category)
- Writers Guild of America (co-nominated for writing, Long Form – Adaptation)
LOST IN TRANSLATION (2003) – Producer
- Academy Awards (nominated)
- Golden Globe Awards (winner)
- Australian Film Institute (nominated)
- British Academy Awards (nominated)
- Independent Spirit Awards (winner)
- Satellite Awards (winner)
THE LARAMIE PROJECT (2002) – Executive Producer
- Primetime Emmy Awards (nominated)
- Producers Guild Awards (nominated)
IN THE BEDROOM (2001) – Producer
- Academy Awards (nominated)
- Golden Globe Awards (nominated)
- American Film Institute Awards (nominated)
- Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards (nominated)
- Chicago Film Critics Association Awards (nominated)
- Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards (winner)
- Online Film Critics Society Awards (nominated)
- Satellite Awards (winner)
John Garvey: (424) 288-2000
Daniel Rappaport: (310) 272-0202
Jill McElroy: (310) 272-0221
Unfortunately Ross is unable to accept unsolicited submissions, be they scripts or casting.