Gary Hustwit is an independent filmmaker and photographer based in New York. He has produced 13 feature documentaries, including the award-winning I Am Trying To Break Your Heart about the band Wilco; Oddsac, an experimental feature film by the band Animal Collective; and Mavis!, the HBO documentary about gospel/soul music legend Mavis Staples. Gary worked with punk label SST Records in the late-1980s, ran the independent book publishing house Incommunicado Press during the 1990s, was Vice President of the media website Salon.com in 2000, and started the indie DVD label Plexifilm in 2001.
In 2007 he made his directorial debut with Helvetica, a documentary about graphic design and typography. The film marked the beginning of a design film trilogy, with Objectified, about industrial design and product design following in 2009, and Urbanized, about the design of cities, in 2011. The films have been broadcast on PBS, BBC, HBO and television outlets in 20 countries, and have been screened in over 300 cities worldwide. In 2016, Workplace, a documentary project about the future of the office, was commissioned for the Venice Biennale of Architecture. His current project is a feature film about German design legend Dieter Rams, featuring original music by Brian Eno. Rams is due to be released in 2018.
Gary’s films have been featured at the Sundance Film Festival, the South by Southwest Film Festival, and the Toronto International Film Festival, among others. He was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Helvetica, and has served on the grand juries of the Sundance Film Festival, the IFP Gotham Awards, and the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. Gary was named one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company. He is a member of the Documentary Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
His film and photographic work has been included in exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art New York, Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, Design Museum London, Venice Biennale, Paul Kasmin Gallery New York, Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Storefront for Art and Architecture New York, and the Colette Gallery in Paris, among others.
In 2016 Gary launched Scenic, a virtual reality content studio focusing on non-fiction VR work. His latest VR documentary collaboration with filmmaker Sam Green, This Is What the Future Looked Like, explores the work and legacy of futurist and architect Buckminster Fuller.
He is also obsessed with guitars and is a partner in the boutique guitar company Koll Guitars.
2002 I Am Trying To Break Your Heart (Executive Producer)
2003 Ted Leo & the Pharmacists: Dirty Old Town (Executive Producer)
2004 Moog (Executive Producer)
2005 Drive Well, Sleep Carefully: On the Road with Death Cab for Cutie (Producer)
2006 Spend an Evening with Saddle Creek (Executive Producer)
2007 Helvetica (Director, Producer)
2009 Objectified (Director, Producer)
2010 Animal Collective’s Oddsac (Producer)
2012 The Landfill (short) (Co-director)
2015 Mavis! (Executive Producer)
2016 Workplace (Director, Producer)
2017 This Is What the Future Looked Like (VR piece, Co-director, Co-producer)
2018 Design Canada (Executive Producer)
2018 Rams (Director, Producer)