Sayles, John

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Sayles, John

(John Thomas Sayles), 1950–, one of America's most influential independent filmmakers as well as a screenwriter, fiction writer, playwright, and actor, b. Schenectady, N.Y., grad. Williams College (1972). His earliest works are novels, e.g., Union Dues (1977), and short stories, e.g. The Anarchists' Convention (1979). He returned to fiction later in his career with the novel Los Gusanos (1991), the short stories of Dillinger in Hollywood (2004), and A Moment in the Sun (2011), a novel sprawling across the advent of the 20th-cent.

Sayles honed his screenwriting skills with B-movie scripts written for producer-director Roger Corman and with innovative horror-movie scripts, e.g., The Howling (1981). Working outside Hollywood, he began his directorial/writing career with the low-budget Return of the Secaucus Seven (1980), the tale of a reunion of 1960s activists that won several prizes. His subsequent films include the family drama Lianna (1983), the incisive Brother from Another Planet (1985), the historical Matewan (1987) and Eight Men Out (1988), and the grimly political City of Hope (1990). He achieved wide recognition for the script and direction of his two-character drama Passion Fish (1992). Among his later films are the mystical The Secret of Roan Inish (1994), the contemporary Western Lone Star (1996), the Spanish-language Men with Guns (1997), the Florida real-estate tale Sunshine State (2000), and the African-American music and rock 'n' roll roots fable Honeydripper (2007).

Sayles is primarily a storyteller whose original and realistic works feature nuanced and compelling characters, often in ensembles. Treating many themes and representing various genres, his films are unified by a sense of empathy, honesty, and social consciousness.


See G. Smith, ed., Sayles on Sayles (1998) and D. Carson, ed., John Sayles: Interviews (1999); biography by G. Molyneaux (2000); studies by J. Ryan (1998), D. Carson and H. Kanaga, ed. (2005), and M. Bould (2008).

Sayles, John (Thomas)

(1950–  ) writer, movie scriptwriter/director/actor; born in Schenectady, N.Y. After graduating from Williams College, he wrote fiction, publishing prize-winning short stories and the novels Pride of Bimbos (1975) and Union Dues (1977). These led him to Hollywood and scriptwriting, and he spent several years working on junk movies until he was able to write, direct, and act in The Return of the Secaucus Seven (1980), filmed in only 27 days and on a budget of about $60,000. He continued to struggle to make his own movies until he was awarded a MacArthur Foundation grant (1983); this allowed him to continue scripting and directing critically acclaimed independent feature movies, such as Matewan (1987) and Eight Men Out (1988), while also writing novels.
References in periodicals archive ?
He is a veteran of numerous feature films such as Aliens3, Menace II Society, Rudy, A Low Down Dirty Shame, Cry, Beloved Country, Nick of Time, A Time to Kill, Get on the Bus, Cookie's Fortune, Gothika, Secret Window and the 2008 John Sayles feature Honeydripper.
Industrious director John Sayles dovetails complex story strands in an impressive drama.
Written, directed and produced by John Sayles, 123min
Other sections on the bill include Tribute to Masters, Chinese Cinema, Fright Night, Short Films from the World, Children's Films and three sections devoted to films by Tahmineh Milani, John Sayles and the late Turkish filmmaker Seyfi Teoman.
Director John Sayles reflects on Corman's skill at making films on the cheap but, as the documentary reminds us, Corman was also behind some more stylish efforts.
Filmmaker and author John Sayles wrote a sweeping epic, A Moment in the Sun, and Kyungsook Shin released Please Look After Mom to the United States after it sold one million copies in South Korea.
It was a pleasure to see new films from John Sayles and Ken Loach at this year's Festival.
The film features Eve Ensler, Chuck D, John Sayles, Billy Bragg, Tom Morello and Shepard Fairey.
The material includes new interviews with Gus Van Sant, Mike Leigh, Claire Denis, Aton Egoyan, Catherine Breillat, Sally Potter, John Sayles and Ken Loach.
In his film, Lone Star, director John Sayles presents the relationship between Mercedes Cruz and her daughter Pilar as a contact zone, fraught with tension.
Other films in competition include "Amigo," which unites US independent director John Sayles with actor Chris Cooper in a film about the US occupation of the Philippines.
PARAMEDIC John Sayles wants to give a charity more than 999 reasons to celebrate.