A native New Yorker, writer-director Maggie Greenwald studied drama and dance throughout her childhood before re-locating to Los Angeles, where she realized her ambitions lay behind the camera. After starting out as a driver for Sunn Classic Pictures she quickly moved into working as a picture and sound editor before becoming an award-winning filmmaker. Greenwald’s first feature film, HOME REMEDY, (1987) based on her original screenplay, premiered at the Munich Film Festival then went on to screen at the London and Torino Film Festivals before opening at the prestigious Film Forum in New York.
Greenwald’s passion for noir novelist Jim Thompson’s work led her to write and direct THE KILL-OFF, (1990) based on one of his novels. Acquired by Channel 4 in Britain, the film also appeared at film festivals around the world including; Sundance (in Dramatic Competition), Munich (opening night, American Independent Section), London, Florence, Deauville, Toronto and Edinburgh before winning the Best Director Award at the Torino Film Festival. Though the film had a modest release in the U.S. it opened to rave reviews in England. The BFI (British Film Institute) Screen Guides lists the film as one of the 100 best American Independent Films. The film established Greenwald’s place as a significant independent filmmaking voice.
Maggie always dreamed of making a Western, and in 1993, she went on to write and direct her acclaimed, groundbreaking Western, THE BALLAD OF LITTLE JO which was released worldwide by Fine Line Features and Polygram Filmed Entertainment. Star Suzy Amis was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award while co-star David Chung won the award for Best Supporting Actor. Numerous essays have been written about the film by scholars of the Western, who consider “The Ballad of Little Jo,” a landmark revisionist film within the genre. The film is included in the curriculum of many college film history classes that focus on the Western or Feminist cinema.
Subsequently, Greenwald wrote and directed SONGCATCHER (2000). The film is an unconventional, naturalistic musical with songs produced and arranged by David Mansfield. The film premiered in Dramatic Competition at Sundance 2000 where it garnered a Special Jury Award for Ensemble Performance. Additionally, the film received the first Sloan Foundation Award, Deauville Film Festival Audience Award, two Independent Spirit Award nominations (for Emmy Rossum and Pat Carroll) and a GLAAD Award nomination.
Following SONGCATCHER, Greenwald shifted into directing for television. Her numerous TV movies, including WHAT MAKES A FAMILY, starring Brooke Shields and Whoopi Goldberg and Cherry Jones. Produced by Barbra Streisand and Whoopi Goldberg and Academy Award winning producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. The Lifetime movie went on to win a prestigious GLAAD Award. Other TV movies are: GET A CLUE, starring Lindsey Lohan, TEMPTED starring Virginia Madsen, COMFORT AND JOY, Lifetime Television’s Christmas standard, and GOOD MORNING, KILLER (TNT) starring Catherine Bell, based on April Smith’s Ana Grey novel.
Forays in directing for episodic television expanded Greenwald’s work to include children’s television. For Nickelodeon she directed several episodes of THE ADVENTURES OF PETE AND PETE, created the look of the show THE MYSTERY FILES OF SHELBY WOO for which she directed 6 episodes over two seasons. She also directed the non-air pilot for the show BACKYARDIGANS and an episode of WILDFIRE for ABC Family.
Always writing and developing projects for film and television, Greenwald also enjoys teaching at the college and graduate school level, which she feels keeps her inspired, current and prevents cynicism. She has taught at: Columbia University Graduate Film School, NYU Tisch Graduate Film Program and Sarah Lawrence College, undergraduate Film Department.