ABOUT

View my CV

As you'll know if you read the text in big letters at the top of this page, I'm a director, I was born in Belfast, and yes, I really am in Star Wars.

I've been in and around the theatre, film and television industries for about fifteen years, and even though I started directing for the screen relatively recently, I've been working up to it for a very long time.

On the way, I’ve developed new writing for the stage (including commissioning and directing Lisa McGee’s early work), produced the Irish premiere of The 24hr Plays, taught acting at University of Ulster, lectured in theatre at Queen's University Belfast, and was Artistic Director of the Lyric Theatre Studio in Belfast. Add to that my experiences as an actor in everything from BBC period dramas to Ridley Scott produced Sci-Fi, from the National Theatre to the the Bond stage, and you'll see why I feel like I have something different to offer. Unlike most directors, who rarely get to see how their heroes do the same job, I've been lucky enough to be directed by some of the best, both on film - including Stephen FrearsRalph FiennesRian Johnson, and Oliver Hirschbiegel - and on TV – including Nick MurphyAndy WilsonCiaran Donnelly, and Colin Teague.

But directing for the screen is what I love. I knew it within minutes of turning over on my first short.

Guard -  a female led boxing film (or relationship drama, if you're not a festival curator) - was completed in 2017. Featuring in its lead roles The Fall's Bronagh Taggart, and Game of Thrones stars Michael McElhatton and Ian McElhinney, it debuted at Galway Film Fleadh and has since screened in compeititon at over a dozen festivals, including Oscar, BAFTA and EFA qualifiers. Then, just before the end of last year, it won a European Independent Film Award in the Best Short Film category. By that time, I'd already moved on to child number two...

My second film, Troubles, another Belfast-set relationship drama, focuses on issues of male friendship, sexuality and mental health. It was funded by BFI Network via Northern Ireland Screen. Having just been completed, the film was selected for inclusion in a BFI NI Screen showcase event, hosted by BAFTA in April 2018, before debuting in competition at the Oscar-qualifying Galway Film Fleadh.

My third film is a short doc entitled The Empty Chair, exploring the impact of teenage suicide on three Northern Irish families. Once again, I've been awarded funding by BFI via NI Screen, and have secured additional support from Inspire, the mental health charity. I will shoot and edit the film myself and hope to complete the whole process before the end of the year.

Having completed a course in documentary filmmaking at the NFTS, and worked professionally as a photographer for a decade, the recent move into self-shooting (for documentary) has been a hugely rewarding one, utilising lots of existing skills and allowing me to further develop as a narrative director.

I also work occasionally as a 1st and 3rd A.D., where I get to make mistakes vicariously, but also learn some new tricks from my peers. You can see my full screen credits on IMDb here.

The aim? I want to direct TV. I'm looking for my first broadcast credit, and any experience that will help me get there.

I’m interested in truthful stories that affect us on an emotional level and which allow the audience access to a world to which they might not otherwise gain entry. I love the dark humour that arises in unlikely circumstances – the kind I grew up around in 80s  and 90s Belfast. I’m a passionate believer in diversity and in telling stories from underrepresented social and ethnic groups.

So that's me. When I'm not going on about myself, I try to teach myself guitar, volunteer at the local arthouse cinema, go to night classes in carpentry, and worry about what bit of my campervan will start spouting oil next. All this happens somewhere on the Sussex coast, where I live with my wife - an actor and telly writer - and our very moody lurcher, Gracie. I'm in London at least once a week, and in Belfast about once a month, so give me a shout and we'll have a coffee. I want to hear about you for a change.

Please email me for a bang up-to-date CV, links to full screeners and an extended reel.

Oh, yeah. My one line in Star Wars?

*coughs*

"Direct hit! Dreadnought down!"

Living. The Dream.

LAURELS

Nominations & Awards

GUARD – Best Short Film: Bronze – European Independent Film Awards

GUARD – Best Drama: Winner – Northern Ireland Short Film Awards (Belfast, NI)

GUARD – Best Editing: Winner (Brian Philip Davis) – Oil Valley Film Festival (Pennsylvania, USA)

GUARD – Special Jury Prize: Winner (Bronagh Taggart) – Oil Valley Film Festival (Pennsylvania, USA)

GUARD – Best Short Film: Finalist – Door County Short Film Festival (Winsconsin, USA)

GUARD – Best Short Film: Finalist – Fatherhood Image Film Festival (New York, USA)

GUARD – Best Drama: Nominee – Short and Sweet Film Festival (Utah, USA)

GUARD – Best Short Film: Nominee – Prague Independent Film Festival (Praha, Czech Republic)

GUARD – Best Short Film (Fiction): Semi-Finalist – LIFFT India Filmotsav – World Cinefest 2018 (Pune, India)

GUARD – Best Drama Director: Nominee – Northern Ireland Short Film Awards (Belfast, NI)

GUARD – Best Actress: Nominee (Bronagh Taggart) – Northern Ireland Short Film Awards (Belfast, NI)

GUARD – Best Production Design: Nominee (John Leslie) – Northern Ireland Short Film Awards (Belfast, NI)

GUARD – Best Screenplay: Nominee (Bronagh Taggart) – Northern Ireland Short Film Awards (Belfast, NI)

 

Festivals

–/12/18 – GUARD – Sport Film Festival (Sicily, Italy)

–/12/18 – GUARD – LIFFT India Filmotsav World Cinefest 2018 (Pune, India)

16/11/18 – TROUBLES – Cork Film Festival (Cork, IE) – official selection

–/11/18 – GUARD – Carlow International Film Festival (Carlow, IE) – in competition

27/10/18 – TROUBLES – Irish Screen America (Los Angeles, USA) – official selection

27/10/18 – GUARD – Richard Harris International Film Festival (Limerick, IE) – in competition

20/10/18 – TROUBLES – Irish Screen America (New York, USA) – official selection

19/10/18 – GUARD – Fatherhood Image Film Festival (New York, USA) – in competition

17/10/18 – GUARD – Kerry Film Festival (Kerry, IE) – in competition

15/09/18 – GUARD – Montana International Film Festival (Montana, USA) – special screening

07/09/18 – GUARD – Oil Valley Film Festival (Pennsylvania, USA) – in competition

05/08/18 – GUARD – Prague Independent Film Festival (Prague, Czech Republic) – in competition

12/07/18 – TROUBLES – Galway Film Fleadh (Galway, Ireland)- in competition

05/07/18 – GUARD – Mexico City Independent Film Fest (Mexico City, Mexico) – in competition

12/06/18 – GUARD – Pune Short Film Festival (Pune, India) – in competition

03/06/18 – GUARD – Rebel Film Festival Plymouth (Plymouth, UK) – in competition

19/05/18 – GUARD – Sioux Empire Film Festival (South Dakota, USA) – in competition

26/04/18 – GUARD – 20MinMax International Film Festival (Ingolstadt, Germany) – in competition

19/04/18 – GUARD – Myrtle Beach International Film Festival (South Carolina, USA) – in competition

15/04/18 – GUARD – Atlanta Independent Film Festival (Atlanta, USA) – in competition

14/04/2018 – GUARD – Belfast Film Festival (Belfast, UK) – in competition

17/03/18 – GUARD – St Patrick’s Film Festival London (London UK) – Official Selection

08/03/18 – GUARD – Beeston Film Festival (Nottingham, UK) – in competition

04/03/18 – GUARD – Manchester International Film Festival (Manchester, UK) – in competition

24/02/18 – GUARD – Dublin International Film Festival (Dublin, Ireland) – in competition

17/02/18 – GUARD – Door County Short Film Festival (Winsconsin, USA) – in competition

13/01/18 – GUARD – Short and Sweet Film Festival (Utah, USA) – in competition

17/09/17 – GUARD – Short Film Festival in Drama (Drama, Greece) – in competition

09/08/17 – GUARD – Rhode Island International Film Festival (Providence, USA) – in competition

14/07/17 – GUARD – Galway Film Fleadh (Galway, Ireland) – in competition

 

Private Screenings & Showcase Events

12/05/18 – TROUBLES – Movie House Cinemas (Belfast, NI)

26/04/18 – TROUBLES – Warner Brothers De Lane Lea (London, UK)

26/04/18 –  TROUBLES – ‘BFI Network and Northern Ireland Screen Shorts Showcase’ – BAFTA, 195 Piccadilly (London, UK)

29/06/17 – GUARD – BAFTA, 195 Piccadilly (London, UK)

25/06/17 – GUARD – Movie House Cinemas (Belfast, NI)

TESTIMONIALS

“A consummate professional who has a clear idea of what he wants and now knowing how to get it. A great rapport with actors as you would expect from a good actor himself, and a respect for crew make a great mix and can only lead him to bigger and better things.”

Raymond Lau, Producer (Disney’s The Lodge, Millie Inbetween)

 

“Jonathan is very clear in his vision as a director and it is always a great pleasure for me to work with him at the helm. He also effortlessly manages to keep the set going with good humour which is so vital”

John Leslie. Production Designer (Zoo, The Survivalist, Bad Day for the Cut)

 

“A great collaborator, respectful and with a clear vision. Also, a great attention to detail throughout the entire post production process. Jonathan is the kind of director I like to work with”

Brian Philip Davis, Editor (Bad Day for the Cut, Zoo, Devil’s Doorway)

 

“Every process from casting, rehearsal and the shoot was an absolute dream to be a part of. Jonathan allowed artistic freedom and discovery whilst maintaining his precise, clear vision for the project. He created an easy and fun environment which meant myself and the other actors could do our very best work. I would relish the opportunity to work with him again.”

Fra Fee, Actor (Les Misérables, Animals)