Mike Cahill (director)

Not to be confused with the director of King of California.
Mike Cahill

Mike Cahill, 2014
Born (1979-07-05) July 5, 1979
New Haven, Connecticut
Occupation Film director, screenwriter
Notable work Another Earth (2011)

Mike Cahill (born July 5, 1979) is an American film director and screenwriter.


External image
Mike Cahill, at the Crosby Street Hotel in Manhattan.indieWire[1]

Mike Cahill was born in New Haven, Connecticut on July 5, 1979.[2] His first forays into filmmaking were with Fisher-Price and VHS camcorders when he was young.[3] He gained his first credit as a documentarian at the age of 17, when Cahill and a friend directed a film titled The Pocket, about D.C go-go music.[4] After high school, Cahill studied economics at Georgetown University, graduating in 2001. While a student there he formed a close relationship with professional colleague and friend Brit Marling, whom he met at a Georgetown film festival,[5][6][7] and the two began working on short films together where Marling would act and Cahill would direct.[8]


While still in his senior year at Georgetown, Cahill began interning with National Geographic Television and Film, soon becoming their youngest field producer, editor and cinematographer.[1][9][10] He and Marling collaborated on Boxers and Ballerinas (2004), an exploration of the U.S.–Cuba conflict through the lives of four characters, while living in Cuba.[1] Cahill next moved to Los Angeles. There he was taken on as editor for two Sundance features, Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man and Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out.[11]

2011 was Cahill's pivotal year. His first feature film as director, co-written with Marling, Another Earth, about a parallel Planet Earth, won the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and was picked up for distribution by Fox Searchlight Pictures.[10] Variety reported: "[It] has been deemed one of the more highly praised pics of the fest as it received a standing ovation after the screening and strong word of mouth from buyers and festgoers." The distributor Fox Searchlight Pictures won distribution rights to the film in a deal worth $1.5 million to $2 million, beating out other distributors including Focus Features and the Weinstein Company.[12]

Cahill's second feature film I Origins again won the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize, this time at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival making Cahill the only person to have received the award twice, and was picked up for distribution by Fox Searchlight Pictures.[13]

In 2011 before the release of I Origins a press release by Fox Searchlight stated he was working on a film about reincarnation and another about "a fashion designer who lives at the bottom of the sea."[14] As of 2015 he is also working on a sequel of I Origins. "There's a sequel in the works. It's not scripted. We're not in production yet, but we set up at Fox Searchlight".[15]

Starting in 2015, Cahill is an executive producer of the Syfy TV show The Magicians, and directed the pilot episode.


Cahill has cited Julian Schnabel as a significant influence on his work.[16] He considers Krzysztof Kieslowski one of his favorite filmmakers, specifically citing The Double Life of Véronique as having a profound impact on him.[17] Cahill, who has a casual interest in astronomy, was also influenced by the work of astronomer Richard Berendzen – in particular, Berendzen's audiobook Pulp Physics. He is also an admirer of Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov.[18][19]


Year Film Director Writer Producer Editor
2004 Boxers and Ballerinas
2005 Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man
2006 Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out
2011 Another Earth
2014 I Origins

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Film Result
2005 Breckenridge Festival of Film Best of the Fest (shared with Brit Marling) Boxers and Ballerinas Won
Cinequest San Jose Film Festival Director's Award (shared with Brit Marling) Boxers and Ballerinas Won
2011 Sundance Film Festival Alfred P. Sloan Prize Another Earth Won
Special Jury Prize Another Earth Won
Grand Jury Prize Another Earth Nominated
Scream Awards Best Independent Movie Another Earth Nominated
National Board of Review Top Ten Independent Films Another Earth Won
Locarno International Film Festival Junior Jury Award - Special Mention Another Earth Won
Golden Leopard Another Earth Nominated
Gotham Awards Breakthrough Director Award Another Earth Nominated
Deauville Film Festival Grand Special Prize Another Earth Nominated
2012 Georgia Film Critics Association Best Picture Another Earth Won
Independent Spirit Awards Best First Feature (shared with Hunter Gray, Brit Marling and Nick Shumaker) Another Earth Nominated
Best First Screenplay (shared with Brit Marling) Another Earth Nominated
Golden Trailer Awards Best Music Another Earth Won
Best Independent Poster Another Earth Nominated
Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Best Writing (shared with Brit Marling) Another Earth Nominated
Prism Awards Feature Film - Mental Health Another Earth Nominated
2014 Sundance Film Festival Alfred P. Sloan Prize I Origins Won
Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival Best North American Independent Film I Origins Nominated
Sitges Film Festival Best Film I Origins Won


  1. 1 2 3 Smith, Nigel M (21 July 2011). "'Another Earth' Director Mike Cahill on Mining Sci-Fi from Loneliness". indieWire. Retrieved 27 July 2011. He went on to spent a year in Cuba making the documentary 'Boxers and Ballerinas' (with Marling) and moved to Los Angeles, where he worked on a number of documentaries (including 'Leonard Cohen I'm Your Man') and directed several episodes of MTV's Emmy award-winning series 'True Life.'
  2. "Mike Cahill". World Science Festival. 2011. Retrieved 26 July 2011. Mike Cahill was born July 5, 1979 in New Haven, CT.
  3. "Interview: Another Earth's Brit Marling and Mike Cahill on Sidewalks TV". Sidewalks Entertainment. 20 July 2011. Retrieved 31 July 2011. Born in New Haven, CT, Mike Cahill at a young age would experiment with filmmaking on Fisher Price and VHS camcorders.
  4. "Mike Cahill". A.V. Club. 2011. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  5. Overbye, Dennis (25 July 2011). "It's Fashionable to Take a Trip to Another Universe". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 July 2011. Ms. Marling, 27, and Mr. Cahill, 32, who were economics majors at Georgetown and met at a film festival there, said they didn’t have cosmology or science fiction in mind when they started this film.
  6. "Movie by Georgetown Alumni Wins at Sundance Film Festival". Georgetown University. 2011. Retrieved 27 July 2011. 'I think the bond that formed between us at Georgetown, during that amazing time when you are free to read, learn, think, follow inspiration, with no distractions, both gave birth to our art and collaboration and also gave us a kind of immunity to pressures of the outside world,' Marling says.
  7. Robinson, Tasha (22 July 2011). "Interview: Mike Cahill". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 27 July 2011. We were friends for many years. We went to school together at Georgetown.
  8. Brown, Phil (27 July 2011). "Mike Cahill and Brit Marling". Toro. Retrieved 31 July 2011. We met at Georgetown and started doing short films together back then. I was the director and she would act in them.
  9. Skorbach, Kristina (25 July 2011). "Filmmakers Mike Cahill and Brit Marling Discuss Another Earth". The Epoch Times. New York City. Retrieved 26 July 2011. Cahill, an economics graduate from Georgetown University, felt that his break at National Geographic as a field producer and his later work in documentaries, 'absolutely, 100 percent' prepared him for Another Earth.
  10. 1 2 Stein, Ruthe (24 July 2011). "Parallel planets? 'Earth' may make mind run wild". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 31 July 2011. The movie was a bonanza for Mike Cahill, a National Geographic documentary filmmaker and video artist taking a stab at his first feature film.
  11. "Leonard Cohen I'm Your Man – Production notes". Lions Gate Entertainment. 2006. Retrieved 31 July 2011. Currently, Mike lives in Los Angeles, where he has worked on a number of music videos, television shows and films. This past year, he edited 'Leonard Cohen I'm Your Man' and 'Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out,' both featured at Sundance '06.
  12. Stewart, Andrew; Lodderhose, Diana (January 26, 2011). "First on Variety: Searchlight nabs 'Earth'". Variety.
  13. https://www.sundance.org/festival/release/alfred-p-sloan-feature-film-prize-awarded-at-2014-sundance-film-festival/
  14. "Another Earth" (PDF). Locarno International Film Festival. 2011. Retrieved 31 July 2011. Cahill is currently developing several feature projects; among them is one on reincarnation and another about a fashion designer who lives at the bottom of the sea. Currently, Mike resides in Brooklyn, New York.
  15. "I Origins Went To Insane Lengths To Get Its Science Right". io9.com. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
  16. Mulligan, Jake (29 July 2011). "Speaking with the Team Behind 'Another Earth'". The Suffolk Voice. Retrieved 31 July 2011. 'It's interesting, it's really hard for me to pin down all my sources... there's this great filmmaker Julian Schnabel who I love...'
  17. Schartoff, Adam (25 July 2011). "Another Earth: Otherworldly Fiction". Tribeca Enterprises. Filmwax. Retrieved 31 July 2011. Krzysztof Kieslowski is one of my favorite filmmakers.
  18. Zeitchik, Steven (21 July 2011). "'Another Earth' posits a parallel planet". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 31 July 2011. As she struggled to make it as an actress, Marling would sometimes come home to the Silver Lake house she and Cahill shared with another aspiring director, Zal Batmanglij, to find Cahill stretched out on the floor listening to an audiobook by astronomer Richard Berendzen. She and Cahill were captivated by the locutions of the scientist, a protégé of Carl Sagan's who puts a poetic spin on astrophysical math.
  19. Soistmann, Billy (25 July 2011). "Interview: Mike Cahill discusses [intertwining] science fiction and drama in Another Earth". Cinedork.com. Retrieved 31 July 2011. No, I already was a lay person who was interested. I loved Carl Sagan, I love Isaac Asimov, there's this Dr. Richard Berendzen who's this astrophysicist who has this book called Human Kind and the Cosmos.

External links

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