Robert M. Young, one of our foremost independent filmmakers, has an award-winning body of work that includes classic documentaries and acclaimed feature films, such as Nothing But A Man, Alambrista!, Short Eyes, Rich Kids, One Trick Pony, The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez, Extremities, Dominick and Eugene, Triumph of the Spirit, and Caught.
Mr. Young’s numerous awards include: Cannes’ Camera d’Or, San Sebastian’s Golden Concha for Best Film, Cuba’s Golden Coral for Best Film, Venice’s Primo San Georgio and The City of Venice Prize, an Emmy, a Peabody Award, two George Polk Memorial Awards for Journalism and an Academy Award Nomination for Children of Fate: Life and Death in a Sicilian Family which also won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. Mr. Young has also been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.
One of his earliest documentaries, Secrets of the Reef was named by Time Magazine “one of the ten best films of the year.” And his film for CBS: Eskimo: Fight for Life, won an Emmy as Best Documentary of the year. As a writer/director/cameraman and associate producer for the acclaimed NBC White Paper series, he made Sit-In and Angola: Journey to a War. For the latter, he walked 400 miles behind Portuguese lines with Angolan rebels to film the first encounters of their war. Both films received the George Polk Memorial Award as well as being cited in a Peabody Award to NBC. The Angola film also received the Overseas Press Club Citation for Best Foreign Reporting of the year. Young’s next film, The Inferno portrayed slum life in Palermo, Sicily so powerfully that NBC declined to air it. In 1993, Young’s son Andrew and his daughter-in-law Susan Todd, incorporated the NBC film into their film Children of Fate: Life and Death in a Sicilian Family, for which they received an Academy Award Nomination. Father and son together received the Best Cinematography Award at the Sundance Film Festival.
Young has made numerous other prize-winning documentaries. Among them are, The Maze, In the World of Sharks and the National Geographic Specials, Man of the Serengeti, Bushmen of the Kalahari and The Great Apes. His first dramatic film for television, JT received a Peabody Award.
For his first narrative feature, Young co-wrote, co-produced and photographed Nothing But a Man, winning two major prizes at the Venice Film Festival, as well as making numerous ten best lists. Nothing But a Man, also distinguished by being Malcolm X’s favorite film, was elected to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 1994. Young’s first fictional feature film as writer/director and cinematographer, Alambrista! about a young Mexican who illegally crosses into the United States, won the coveted Camera d’Or for Best First Feature at the Cannes Film Festival and Best Feature at the San Sebastian Film Festival. A Director’s cut of Alambrista! is currently being released through the sponsorship of the Ford Foundation.
Young also produced American Me with Edward James Olmos. He also produced and photographed The Plot Against Harry for which he received an Indie Spirit nomination for Best Picture as well as Best Cinematographer.
Young’s other features include: Talent for the Game, Saving Grace, We Are The Children, Roosters, and Showtime’s Slave of Dreams and Solomon and Sheba, both filmed on location in Morocco. He also directed several episodes of ABC’s Nothing Sacred. His next theatrical feature film was Caught .which received an Indie Spirit Nomination for Best Director. He has since directed a dramatic Imax film that is now in release: Panda: The China Adventure, set in China in 1936. He has recently directed for ITVS a fictional film True to the Game, written by a young African-American woman about life in Harlem. He also directed La Estrella, an hour episode for the program American Family.
He recently finished work on his latest feature, Human Error.