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Brian Dannelly, Director
Brian Dannelly

Writer/Director Brian Dannelly was born in Wurtzburg, Germany and spent his early years in Lederhosen skiing and climbing the cheese and sausage strewn hills of Bavaria and putting on elaborate puppet shows with puppets he designed with his grandmother. At the age of 11 his family relocated to a suburb of Baltimore Maryland. After surviving Catholic elementary school, a Jewish summer camp and a Baptist high school he went about getting his Bachelor's degree by attending The Maryland Institute of Art (Fine Arts), The American University (Communications), Morgan State University (International Studies) and; finally, graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Maryland Baltimore County (Visual Arts). He went on to become a directing fellow at the American Film Institute (AFI) and graduated from the prestigious directing program in 1999. His short films have played in festivals around the world.


While attending the AFI he met his writing partner Michael Urban where together they wrote SAVED. The film was produced by Sandy Stern and Michael Stipe of Single Cell Pictures and stars Jena Malone, Mandy Moore, Macaulay Culkin, Eva Amurri, Heather Matrazzo, Martin Donovan and Mary Louise Parker.  SAVED premieres at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival and will be distributed by MGM/UA. SAVED is Dannellys first feature film.


Dannelly and writing partner, Michael Urban are writing several projects together and have completed RUNNER UP, their second project to be produced Single Cell with Dannelly attached to direct. They are represented by agent Joel Milner at Larchmont Literary and attorney Karl Austen at Armstrong Hirsch Jackoway Tyerman & Werthheimer.

Brian Dannelly IMDb Filmography

Answer This?
         Q & A with Brian Dannelly
Film Addiction: This being your first feature film, how were you able to pull in such big name actors?

Brian Dannelly:That was the easiest part...all we did was send the script to the actors that we wanted to be in the movie and they said, "yes." At the last minute, our lead for "Hilary Faye" dropped out and we found Mandy Moore. she was really a godsend.

FA: This is appears to be  Macaulay Culkin's first serious adult role. Did you write the character with him in mind? What was it like working with him?

BD:not really...but, Mac was in on the film early on. in fact, he was the first (only) person that we went to for the part of "roland."  patrick fugit wanted to play that part, and we had to convince him to play the "heart throb."  mac is so professional and has such a good spirit. he really was the leader of our young cast. i adore him and think he's very talented and he has so many amazing ideas and dreams for his future. 

FA: I noticed that Michael Stipe is one of the producers of your film, is this the Michael Stipe of R.E.M fame? If so, how did he get connected with your film?

BD:Again, another easy one. yes, michael stipe of REM fame was one of the producers but, after several meetings with his producing partner, sandy stern... they were convinced that i should direct this film.  both of them are amazing. michael brought so much to the film as he related to the "outsider" theme.  he also "saved" us on the music as he was willing to make calls to many of the artists on our behalf to request permission to include their songs in the film. he has a great sense of current trends, and i am forever grateful for his belief in this project.
Sundance Q & A Session
FA: Saved is being distributed by United Artists. Did they pick up the film after the film was finished or were they on board from the beginning?

BD:UA did a negative pick-up...which means we got to shoot the film we wanted to make and they.  Once we showed them the film, they were scared and it wasn't until MGM took over the distribution of
the project that we got our film out there in the world.

FA:The story for Saved! seems very fresh compared to what is coming out of Hollywood lately. What was your inspiration for the story?

BD:I had gone to a catholic elementary school, a jewish summer camp and a baptist high, i feel like i was born to tell this story.  i think, as human beings, we are on a journey to find our purpose in life and it's always changing...a process...SAVED! is about that journey. we wanted to ground the film in traditional teen comedies but underscore it with a more subversive undertone.

FA: Mandy Moore is an obvious star in your film, but Jena Malone is making her own in roads in acting. What was she like on the set of Saved!? How much did you rely on her acting ability to help carry the story along?

BD:That's interesting because i think Jena Malone is the star of the film.  she's been doing films for so long and she's so smart and funny and kind and I needed an actor like that to carry us through the film.  mandy came in at the last moment and she was a wonderful antagonist.  I loved the way that she and mandy worked together on set. it was a real pleasure watching these two actors apply their craft to each scene.  i feel so lucky to have both of them in the film along
with Eva Amurri, Patick Fuget, Macaulay Culkin, Heather Matarazzo, Martin Donovan and Mary-Louise Parker.Clearly, SAVED! is an ensemble piece and i'm hesitant to focus on one star...they all
worked together and made the film what it is.
On set, the cast was both professional and committed but they also were young people.They had fun, supported each other and had such a passion for the story that they worked really hard. Again, we had the best time making this film. It was fun.