JON MORITSUGU indie film cult movie underground punk cinema | HOME
JON MORITSUGU
BIO

Writer/director JON MORITSUGU started making super-8 movies as a teenager in Honolulu. He majored in semiotics at Brown University and his 1987 thesis film, DER ELVIS, was tagged by Village Voice critic J. Hoberman as one of the "Top Fifty Films of the 1980's." Since then, his features MY DEGENERATION, HIPPY PORN, MOD FUCK EXPLOSION, FAME WHORE, SCUMROCK and PIG DEATH MACHINE have scorched eyeballs worldwide from Sundance to MOMA to Cannes to the Guggenheim to Berlin to the Whitney to Toronto to name a few.

Moritsugu has collaborated with acclaimed producers Andrea Sperling, Henry S. Rosenthal, Marcus Hu, and James Schamus (former CEO of Focus Features), who executive produced his television comedy, TERMINAL USA, which aired nationwide on PBS. Moritsugu has garnered critical acclaim and top awards at the New York Underground Film Festival ("Best Feature" 3 times in a row) as well as a Screenwriting Award at the Austin Film Festival and "Oscar Consideration" for his feature, FAME WHORE.

He has worked with his wife/leading lady Amy Davis for 20 years. She was co-writer of SCUMROCK and his newest magnum opus, PIG DEATH MACHINE. In 2012, their "No Future Shock" music video for the band TV ON THE RADIO received a GRAMMY NOMINATION in the "Long Form Video" category. Moritsugu and Davis premiered PIG DEATH MACHINE at the 2013 Chicago Underground Film Festival, where they both won the "Jack Smith Lifetime Achievement Award." The movie has recently screened at the Downtown Independent (Los Angeles), Roxie Theater (San Francisco), and the Spectacle Theater (Williamsburg, Brooklyn) with the entire Moritsugu retrospective comprised of 7 features and 9 shorts.

In 2015, James Schamus stated to the New York Times, "Jon is a true cinema original. I'd rather be spit on by Jon than kissed by 95% of the directors out there."

AWARDS
2013 CHICAGO UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL "LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD" for PIG DEATH MACHINE
2012 GRAMMY NOMINATION (LONG FORM VIDEO) for "NO FUTURE SHOCK" by TV ON THE RADIO
2003 NEW YORK UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL "BEST FEATURE" for SCUMROCK
2002 CHICAGO UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL "BEST FEATURE" for SCUMROCK
1999 OSCAR CONTENDER recognition for FAME WHORE
1997 NEW YORK UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL "BEST FEATURE"+"FESTIVAL CHOICE" for FAME WHORE
1997 HONOLULU UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL "BEST FEATURE" for FAME WHORE
1997 AUSTIN FILM FESTIVAL "SCREENPLAY SEMI-FINALIST" for FAME WHORE
1995 NEW YORK UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL "BEST FEATURE" for MOD FUCK EXPLOSION
1990 BIG MUDDY FILM FESTIVAL "POPULAR CHOICE" for MY DEGENERATION
1990 THE VILLAGE VOICE "TOP 50 MOVIES OF THE 1980'S" for DER ELVIS

GRANTS
2008 TRIBECA FILM INSTITUTE audience development grant
2005 CREATIVE CAPITAL FOUNDATION distribution grant for SCUMROCK
2001 CREATIVE CAPITAL FOUNDATION post-production grant for SCUMROCK
2001 CHICAGO UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL post-production grant for SCUMROCK
1998 DOCKERS/LEVI STRAUSS short film commission for CRACK
1996 ROCKEFELLER FOUNDATION AWARD for FAME WHORE
1993 INDEPENDENT TELEVISION SERVICE production grant for TERMINAL, USA
1992 NATIONAL ASIAN AMERICAN TELECOMMUNICATIONS ASSOCIATION production grant for MOD FUCK EXPLOSION

EDUCATION
1987 BA in SEMIOTICS THEORY and CINEMA PRODUCTION BROWN UNIVERSITY