Robert Epstein won two Academy Awards for the films The Times of Harvey Milk and Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt. For the film Paragraph 175, he received the FIPRESCI Award at the Berlinale Film Festival as well as the Grand Jury Prize for Directing at the Sundance Film Festival. He is also the recipient of four national Emmy Awards, three Peabody Awards, multiple GLAAD Media Awards, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Rob’s most recent film, HOWL, starring James Franco, is an exploration of Allen Ginsberg’s famous 20th century poem of the same title. The film was lined up for the 2010 Berlinale Film Festival and was competing for the Golden Bear as well as being selected as the opening-night film in competition for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Read a related article from Art Forum.
Other film credits and accolades include The Celluloid Closet, winner of the Sundance Jury Prize as well as an Emmy for best directing; Where Are We? Our Trip Across America, selected for the Sundance Film Festival documentary competition; and an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Paragraph 175 for best nonfiction feature.
Rob began his filmmaking career as one of six members of the Mariposa Film Group that directed the landmark documentary Word Is Out. For television Epstein directed seven episodes of the NBC series Law and Order: Crime & Punishment.
Rob's work has been shown not only in theaters and on television but also at prestigious gallery spaces and museums throughout the world such as MOMA in New York, the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in London, and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Career retrospectives have been held internationally including the Taipei International Film Festival, the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), and Plus Camerimage in Poland.
He is the recipient of the International Documentary Association's (IDA) Pioneer Award, which acknowledges filmmakers who have amassed a history of producing films that effect change within the documentary genre. (Read the web feature.)
Prior to his teaching at CCA, Rob has also been a visiting professor in the Graduate Film Program at Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. He currently serves on the board of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. He is a member of the Directors Guild of America and of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, where he currently serves on the Board of Governors and is chair of the documentary branch.
Since 1987, in collaboration with Jeffrey Friedman, he has been running Telling Pictures, a film production company.
Epstein studied at American Film Institute, Harvard University, and Hampshire College, Jean Shelton Acting Studio.