Nancy Savoca

Director, Screenwriter, Production coordinator
The daughter of Sicilian and Argentine immigrants, writer-director Nancy Savoca graduated from the film school at New York University where she received the Haig P. Manoogian Award for overall excellence for her short ... Read more »
Born: 07/22/1959 in Bronx, New York, USA

Filmography

Director (14)

Union Square 2012 (Movie)

(Director)

Dirt 2005 - 2006 (TV Show)

Director

Reno: Rebel Without a Pause 2003 (Movie)

(Director)

The Mind of the Married Man 2001 (Tv Show)

Director

Third Watch 2000 (Tv Show)

Director

The 24 Hour Woman 1999 (Movie)

(Director)

Murder One 1995 - 1996 (Tv Show)

Director

Dark Eyes 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Director

Household Saints 1993 (Movie)

(Director)

Dogfight 1991 (Movie)

(Director)

True Love 1989 (Movie)

(Director)

Bad Timing 1983 (Movie)

(Director)

Renata 1983 (Movie)

(Director)

If There Be Thorns (TV Show)

Director
Writer (9)

Union Square 2012 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Sisters 2006 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The 24 Hour Woman 1999 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Janis 1994 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Household Saints 1993 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

True Love 1989 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Bad Timing 1983 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Renata 1983 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

If These Walls Could Talk (TV Show)

Screenplay
Actor (1)

In the Company of Women 2003 (Movie)

(Actor)
Other (2)

Married to the Mob 1988 (Movie)

production auditor assistant (Assistant Accountant)

Something Wild 1986 (Movie)

assistant auditor (Production Auditor)

Biography

The daughter of Sicilian and Argentine immigrants, writer-director Nancy Savoca graduated from the film school at New York University where she received the Haig P. Manoogian Award for overall excellence for her short films "Renata" and "Bad Timing". Her earliest professional experience came as an assistant auditor on two Jonathan Demme-directed pictures ("Something Wild" 1986, "Married to the Mob" 1988) and as a production assistant to John Sayles ("Brother From Another Planet" 1984). Sayles, in turn, provided funding for her feature directing and co-screenwriting debut, "True Love" (1989), an incisive comedy about Italian-American courtship and marriage rituals in the Bronx. Hailed by both Janet Maslin and Vincent Canby of THE NEW YORK TIMES as one of the best films of the year, "True Love" subsequently was purchased and released by MGM-UA and its accompanying soundtrack on RCA records boasted two Top 40 hits on the BILLBOARD charts. Its success enabled Savoca to make her only Hollywood film to date, "Dogfight" (1991), although she has taken all her projects to the studios first before going the independent route. Filmed for $8 million (eight times the budget of "True Love"), "Dogfight" told the story of a young Vietnam-bound soldier (River Phoenix) and the wallflower waitress (Lili Taylor) whom he takes to a mean-spirited contest for the ugliest date. The film received favorable reviews but a poor box-office reception but further demonstrated the director's flair and facility with actors.

Relationships

Richard Guay

Husband
married c. 1981 father of Savoca's children met when he was an accounting student working at the neighborhood Italian deli near her home co-wrote "True Love" (1982), "Household Saints" (1993) and "The 24 Hour Woman" (1999)

Bobby Guay

Son
born c. 1987

Kenneth Guay

Son
born in January 1989 while "True Love" was enjoying its Sundance success named after producer Kenneth Utt (a producing associate of family friend Jonathan Demme)

Carlo Savoca

Father
born in Sicily, Italy

Maria Savoca

Mother
born in Argentina

EDUCATION

Queens College

Flushing , New York
attended briefly

New York University

New York , New York 1982
wrote and directed two award-winning short films, "Renata" and "Bad Timing"

Milestones

2011

Returned to films as director and co-writer of the drama "Union Square"

2003

Directed and co-wrote comedy-drama "Dirt"

2002

Helmed the comedic documentary "Reno: Rebel Without a Pause"; also executive produced

1999

Returned to features as co-writer and director of "The 24 Hour Woman"; film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival

1998

Feted as a "New York trailblazer" at the New York Women's Film Festival

1997

Directed the "1952" and "1974" segments of "If These Walls Could Talk," the HBO movie dealing with women's reproductive rights, which became the then-highest rated original movie in network's history; scripted all three segments

1995

Helmed an episode of the ABC legal drama "Murder One"

1995

TV directing debut, the ABC special "Dark Eyes"

1993

Reteamed with Lili Taylor for "Household Saints"; co-wrote screenplay and directed

1991

Helmed second film "Dogfight," a period romance starring Lili Taylor and River Phoenix

1989

Directed and co-wrote first feature "True Love"

1988

Hired by Demme for "Married to the Mob," this time credited as production auditor assistant

1986

Worked as assistant auditor on Jonathan Demme's "Something Wild"

1985

Shot a nine-minute trailer for "True Love"

1984

Worked with husband as volunteer on production of John Sayles' "The Brother From Another Planet"; Sayles would later invest money in her feature directing debut

Raised in the Bronx

Worked as a script reader for a small film distribution company

Honored by the Los Angeles chapter of the advocacy organization Women in Film & Television (WIFT)

Bonus Trivia

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"I'm better as a director [than a writer], 'cause it's easier for me to get my ideas across to the people I'm working with than to write them down." – Savoca to Interview, September 1993

.

"I'm not a real man expert, I think women can get together and talk about what goes on...I don't know what happens – men either know less about what goes on, or they're confused." – Savoca on her ability to understand women and not men, from Premiere, October 1993

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"Whenever you meet independent filmmakers you're always asking 'Who financed your movie'?" – Savoca in Filmmaker, Autumn 1993

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On why she turned down the chance to direct "Wayne's World" (1992): "I wasn't hip enough to get it. You just can't take on anything. You've really got to love what you're doing. I could convince myself that I really like the project, that I could do big-budget things and actually do a little inroading on the woman director thing, but the problem is I've also got to convince a cast of actors that I love being there."I've got enough energy in me to argue with executives over all the changes I want. There's so much that goes into making a movie, and it's almost a two-year process, so I have to really in some way believe that I'm doing the greatest movie on Earth – which I've always felt every time I've gone out and made my movies. Whether other people agree or not, I feel like I'm doing something great. And that's why I get up in the morning. But it's different if you take something for a paycheck." – from The Washington Post, Feb. 28, 1999

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About how her collaboration with husband Richard Guay works: "The easy answer is to say that I am the creative one who works with actors, and he is the producer trying to figure out how to get the money. Except that we have this writer thing. In the writing phase, it is up for grabs creatively, but once we get into production, we pretty much respect each other's territory."And also, since he's so different from me, I get another point of view that I trust...His approach is like the polar opposite of how I would approach it, and sometimes therein lies the answer. If things are getting convoluted, I go to him because he is a clear thinker. I could take a scene on for 80 pages and never be able to get out of it. Rich will say, 'The scene ends here.' In 'Household Saints,' the novel was something like 235 pages, and the script was longer, and he just came in and cut it." – from Filmmaker, February-April 1999

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