Brooklyn-bred screenwriter-director Ben Younger took the long road to filmmaking and still managed to make a successful feature debut by age 27 with "Boiler Room". A jack-of-all trades who worked nume...
New Jersey, USA
|New York Crossing||2014||Grip||(additional crew)||1|
|Walking & Talking||1996||Driver||n/a||1|
|Walking & Talking||1996||Driver||swing driver||1|
|Was director of "sub-stories" for "The Hire", an omnibus of five short featurette commercials for BMW, shown over the Internet at bmwfilms.com|
|Wrote and directed the short films "Maestro" and "L & M"|
|Directed the short films "The Car Thief and the Hit Man" and "The Hit Man and the Investigator"|
|Worked as a driver on the indie "Walking and Talking"|
|Helmed the romantic comedy "Prime" starring Uma Thurman and Meryl Streep|
|Was a legislative intern for state Assemblyman Alan Hevesi; also worked on his campaign for NYC controller and later served as a senior policy analyst|
|Directed commercials and music videos|
|At age 21, ran Melinda Katz's successful New York State Assembly campaign (date approximate)|
|Raised in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, New York|
|Performed as a stand-up comedian|
|Feature directorial debut "Boiler Room", starring Ben Affleck and Giovanni Ribisi; also scripted|
The seeds of "Boiler Room" were sown some five years before its release, when Younger was approached with a too-good-to-be-true promise of big payoffs for hard work as a stock broker, much like his protagonist Seth (Giovanni Ribisi). Just minutes into the recruiting process, Younger knew that the firm was crooked and that what he was witnessing would make for an interesting film project. In 2000, upon the release of the "Boiler Room", it turned out that many critics agreed, praising this story of a hardworking and ambitious ne'er-do-well who thinks he finds the key to quick money and his father's approval with a job in a Long Island brokerage firm. While similar in subject to "Wall Street" and "Glengarry Glen Ross", "Boiler Room" had an unmistakable contemporary feel and a working-class sensibility. Younger's brokers were gangster-idolizing outer-borough self-starters just out of their teens, from good but far from privileged families, who would have to make their way in the business world on their own; nepotism and Ivy League societies wouldn't be their ticket in. The filmmaker's affection both for New York City and its inhabitants was evident in the film through both his writing and directing capacities, creating likable if misguided characters and including captivating and significant location shots. While this was only his debut feature film, Younger displayed an assurance and proficiency with the medium that belied his neophyte status and emerged as one to watch, a talent with promising vision.
|Vanessa Giovinazzo||Companion||Began dating September 2005; No longer together|
|City University of New York|
|"When I started writing 'Boiler Room', the United States was in a slump. The Internet was something for goofy college kids, jobs were scarce and Alan Greenspan had not yet been elevated to demi-god status. Everything is different today. I'm not saying I want it to be any other way. I'm not some crazed Luddite calling for the destruction of all PalmPilots and spinning jennies. I don't think the stock marker is an evil hotbed of swindling brokers driving Italian sports cars. I'm just saying that I see a little bit of 'Boiler Room' everywhere, and it scares me." --Ben Younger quoted in Talk, March 2000|
|Younger on his own personal work ethic, as contrasted with the get rich quick ideas of the boiler room: "From early on work became a validation of my self-esteem. It didn't matter what I was doing so long as I brought home some dough. . . Growing up in New York, you learned to hustle. but it was a good hustle, an honest one." --quoted in Talk, March 2000|
|"I had a minor epiphany last night. I thought about why I got into film in the first place: You can actually change things. I started thinking, 'Shit, you can do big, big things now -- something really interesting." --Younger to Rolling Stone, April 13, 2000|
|Younger on his prior experience: "I also worked as a grip on indie features like 'Walking and Talking'. I got a ton out of that, especially technical proficiency. It's nice to walk on the set as a director and know how to build a crane. I hired the crew that I'd worked with millions of times as a grip. In fact, the key grip on my movie id one of the grips who trained me when I was coming up. To have a guy like that work on my movie -- it goes beyond respect. It's like love." --quoted in Rolling Stone, April 13, 2000|
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