Joe Dante

Joe Dante

Joe Dante began his filmmaking apprenticeship in 1974 as trailer editor for Roger Corman’s New World Pictures. He made his directorial debut in 1976 with Hollywood Boulevard (co-directed with Allan Arkush), and his solo debut as a director with Piranha in 1977. During his tenure at New World, Dante edited Ron Howard’s directorial debut Grand Theft Auto and co-wrote the original story for Rock n Roll High School.

For Avco-Embassy Dante next directed the seminal werewolf thriller The Howling (1981), followed by the It’s a Good Life segment of the episodic Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983). Having worked with Steven Spielberg on the latter, Dante was chosen to helm the first Amblin Production for Warner Bros., Gremlins (1984). Dante followed up with Explorers, Innerspace (1987), The ‘Burbs (1989), Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990), and Matinee (1993) featuring John Goodman as a huckster showman premiering his new horror film during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Dreamworks/Universal’s Small Soldiers was released in 1998, followed in 2003 by Warner Bros. Looney Tunes: Back in Action featuring one of Dante’s favorite actors, Bugs Bunny. Along the way Dante contributed several comedy segments to the multi-part Amazon Women on the Moon (1987) spoof produced by John Landis, and directed various episodes of the tv series Amazing Stories, Twilight Zone, Police Squad!, Eerie, Indiana and more. Dante’s Homecoming, an episode of Showtime’s Masters of Horror series, debuted in December 2005 to rave reviews; The New Yorker called it the best political film of 2005.
In 2007, Dante began producing the innovative new media series Trailers from Hell, which features contemporary filmmakers providing commentaries about films that influenced them, and the site has blossomed into a popular podcast, The Movies That Made Me. He has been honored with many retrospectives and career achievement awards by film festivals, cinematheques and museums in the US and internationally.

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