David Van Taylor
Conceiver / Librettist
David Van Taylor is an award-winning filmmaker, an innovative producer, a successful change advocate, and more. His documentaries have screened around the world, from the Berlin Film Festival and NYC’s Film Forum to PBS, HBO, and the BBC. David’s work has confronted America’s changing socio-political landscape for over three decades, while continually expanding the creative and practical bounds of nonfiction filmmaking. And he’s a practicing opera librettist, too!
David’s feature documentaries include A Perfect Candidate, which topped IndieWire’s “best political films of the past 20 years”; Ghosts of Attica, “timely for more than historic reasons” (NY Times); and Good Ol’ Charles Schulz, “like Peanuts, a great example of minimalist art” (SF Chronicle). He co-created the Religious Right history With God on Our Side; the pioneering “docu-soap” Local News; and To Tell the Truth, a history of documentary film.
David was Vice President of Lumiere Productions from 1995 to 2012, where he managed the prolific documentary company. At Lumiere, he also met his future wife, Ali Pomeroy. The two shared their lives and work for 20 years, until her passing in 2015.
David’s kudos include a duPont-Columbia Silver Baton (“the broadcast Pulitzer”), the International Documentary Association Distinguished Achievement Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. His work has been supported by both the NEA and the NEH, as well as by foundations including Ford, MacArthur, Pew, and Warhol.
He has written and directed for (among others) Robert Redford & Alex Gibney’s Death Row Stories on CNN; A&E’s Intervention; Michael Moore’s TV Nation on NBC, and public radio’s This American Life. Collaborating with many top documentarians, Van Taylor also has hands-on experience as a videographer, sound recordist, and editor.
Van Taylor also helped spearhead two key changes in the documentary field: the revitalization of fair use in copyright, and the establishment of reasonable standards for freelance employment in nonfiction TV. In 2012, David launched a second career when Luna Pearl Woolf recruited him to write the libretto for an opera about Bernie & Ruth Madoff. The two have developed several more projects, most recently Number Our Days, commissioned for the inaugural season of PAC NYC.
Van Taylor has lectured and guest-taught at Harvard, Yale, NYU, The New School, American University, and SUNY Purchase among others. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, psychotherapist Amy Rosenthal. David has three brilliant and beautiful children.
Photo by Ian Vollmer.