Frederick Marx

Oakland, California, United States



"A major talent in American filmmaking. All his work is imbued with power, intelligence, social concern, and utter dedication." Gerry Richman, Station Manager, KTCA-TV (PBS)

Frederick Marx is an internationally acclaimed, Oscar and Emmy nominated producer/director with 35 years in the film business. He was named a Chicago Tribune Artist of the Year for 1994, a 1995 Guggenheim Fellow, and a recipient of a Robert F. Kennedy Special Achievement Award. His film HOOP DREAMS played in hundreds of theatres nationwide after winning the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival and was the first documentary ever chosen to close the New York Film Festival. It was on over 100 Ten Best lists nationwide and was named Best Film of the Year by critics Roger Ebert, Gene Siskel, Gene Shalit, and Ken Turran and by the Chicago Film Critics Association. Ebert also named it Best Film of the Decade. It is one of the highest grossing non-musical documentaries in United States history.

It won numerous prestigious awards, including an Academy Nomination (Best Editing), Producers Guild, Editors Guild (ACE), Peabody Awards, the Prix Italia (Europe's top documentary prize) and The National Society of Film Critics Award. The New York, Boston, LA, and San Francisco Film Critics all chose it as Best Documentary, 1994. Utne Reader named it one of 150 of humanity's essential works, the Library of Congress added it to its prestigious National Film Registry and the International Documentary Association named it the Best Documentary Ever. HOOP DREAMS (1994) is the first in Marx's planned trilogy of feature documentaries on teenage boys. BOYS TO MEN? (2004), distributed by Media Education Foundation, is the second. RITES OF PASSAGE, now in pre-production, will be the third.

In 1993, Marx received an Emmy nomination for HIGHER GOALS (1992) for Best Daytime Children's Special. Producer, Director, and Writer for this national PBS Special, Marx directed Tim Meadows of Saturday Night Live fame. Accompanied by a curriculum guide, the program was later distributed for free to over 4,200 inner city schools nationwide. JOURNEY FROM ZANSKAR (2010) featuring the Dalai Lama, with narration by Richard Gere played worldwide in theaters and festivals.

THE UNSPOKEN (1999), Marx's first fiction feature, features stellar performances from star Sergei Shnirev of the famed Moscow Art Theatre (Russian voice of Disney's ALADDIN), and Harry J. Lennix, most known for Spike Lee's GET ON THE BUS, Tim Robbins' BOB ROBERTS, Julie Taymor's TITUS and MATRIX.

In 2021 Marx completed a five film series called VETERANS JOURNEY HOME. The films - of different lengths, different styles, and different subjects - all feature themes related to the challenges Veterans face returning to productive civilian life. To date three of the five films in the series have won 11 Best Doc awards at over 30 festivals worldwide.

A hobbyist songwriter, in 1991 Marx recorded a number of his songs collectively known as ROLLING STEEL. Having worked for a time as an English and creative writing teacher, Marx began his movie career as a film critic, and has worked both as a film distributor and exhibitor. He has also traveled extensively. He’s lived in Germany, Hungary, and China. He has traveled repeatedly through Western and Eastern Europe, North Africa and Himalayan India. With a B.A. in Political Science and an MFA in filmmaking, Marx has coupled his formal education with foreign languages, speaking German and some Mandarin-Chinese. Along with JOURNEY FROM ZANSKAR, his interest in foreign cultures is reflected in PBS international human rights program OUT OF THE SILENCE (1991), the widely acclaimed personal essay DREAMS FROM CHINA (1989), and Learning Channel's SAVING THE SPHINX (1997). He consulted on Iranian-Kurdish director Bahman Ghobadi's feature TURTLES CAN FLY (2004) and was a teacher of renowned Thai feature filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Three of Marx's films premiered at the New York Film Festival. All his films are available at warriorfilms.org and elsewhere.

Having dedicated his life to the making and promotion of independent films, Marx, a true maverick in the increasingly commercialized world of "independent cinema", continues to provide a voice of artistic and social integrity. He repeatedly returns to work with disadvantaged and misunderstood communities: people of color, abused children, the working poor, welfare recipients, prisoners, the elderly, and “at risk” youth. He brings a passion for appreciating multiculturalism and an urgent empathy for the sufferings of the disadvantaged to every subject he tackles. As his mission statement indicates (“Bearing witness, creating change”), his is a voice strong and clear, and profoundly human.