John Pierson: Short Bio

JOHN PIERSON graduated from NYU Film School in January 1977. Twenty- five years later, he left America behind to show free movies at the world¹s most remote theater, Fiji¹s 180 Meridian Cinema. This adventure with his family became the subject of the Steve James documentary REEL PARADISE. In between, he played many pivotal roles in bringing the work of first-time filmmakers like Spike Lee, Michael Moore, Kevin Smith and Richard Linklater to the screen, a portfolio that Premiere called "a virtual hit parade of the independent movement." These tales are chronicled in John's book Spike, Mike, Slackers & Dykes: A Guided Tour Across a Decade of American Independent Cinema, revised and reissued in 2004 as Spike Mike Reloaded. Peter Biskind calls it "the bible for independents."

He was also creator and host of Split Screen, a half-hour magazine-format television show on IFC. Over its four year run, Split Screen put well over 100 indie filmmakers to work and also spawned features ranging from THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT to HOW¹S YOUR NEWS? Often in partnership with his wife and Grainy Pictures co-president Janet Pierson, John has directed film festivals, staged annual film workshops, and formed a completion funding company. He also executive produced CHASING AMY and once acted opposite Chris Noth. In addition, he appeared last year on Real World Austin as the guy who assigns the kids their 'job.'

The Piersons now live in Austin, TX where John teaches in the UT film department. One of his classes "reps" films like CAVITE and JAM. He still awaits the release of the long-delayed Split Screen 3-DVD box set.


New York University School of Arts, BFA/Cinema Studies, 1974-1976
Independent Feature Project/NY, Program Committee, 1987-1990
Sundance Film Festival, Selection Committee, 1988-1990
Sundance Film Festival, Advisory Board, 1991-1999
Independent Feature Project/Midwest, Advisory Board, 1993-2000
Independent Feature Project/North, Advisory Board, 1993-2000
National Endowment for the Arts, Media Panel, 1995
New School For Social Research, Adjunct Professor, 1995
Los Angeles Independent Film Festival, Advisory Board, 1995-1999
Microsoft Cinemania, Guided Tour, 1997
Urbanworld Film Festival, Advisory Board, 1997-2002
Boston Film Video Foundation, Advisory Board, 1998-2001
National Endowment for the Arts, Media Panel, 1998
Smithsonian Institute, Lecture Series, 1998
AFI Film Festival, Advisory Board, 1999-2001
Scenario Screenwriting Magazine, Advisory Board, 1999-2000
Aspen Filmfest, Advisory Board, 1999-2004
Guru. com, Overpaid Spokesperson, 2000
Jacob Burns Film Center, Advisory Board, 2001-2006
Burnt Orange/UTFI Advisory Board, 2004-2006

Press - John, Split Screen, Grainy and otherwise

BiographyTop 24 ListPhotosWhere To Find HimMultimediaJanet Pierson

John PiersonSpike, Mike, Slackers & DykesSplit Screen

HomeWe RecommendLinksFAQSearchContact Us

Disclaimer: Do not send scripts! We won't read them because we don't produce films from the script stage.

© 1997 - 2010 Grainy Pictures, Inc.