Tom DiCillo

Tom DiCillo
Born Thomas A. DiCillo
(1953-08-14) August 14, 1953
Camp Le Jeune, North Carolina
Occupation Film director, screenwriter, cinematographer
Years active 1980–present

Thomas A. "Tom" DiCillo (born August 14, 1953) is an American film director, screenwriter and cinematographer.

Early life

He was born in Camp Le Jeune, North Carolina. His father was Italian and his mother was from New England.[1] He studied creative writing at Old Dominion University[2] in Norfolk, Virginia and went on to study filmmaking at New York University's Film School alongside Jim Jarmusch, Howard Brookner, Sara Driver and Spike Lee. Subsequently he worked as an actor, then cinematographer, before making his own films.


His first film, Johnny Suede, cast the then-unknown Brad Pitt and Catherine Keener in what would be their first starring roles. It received a nomination for a Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.[3]

For his second film, Living in Oblivion, DiCillo received acclaim for his satire of independent film-making. This 1995 black comedy, itself a low-budget independent film, features Steve Buscemi as a director driven to near-madness by his cast and crew, including a vain Hollywood actor. Describing the inspiration for and origin of Living in Oblivion in an interview with Salon, DiCillo described making a movie as "one of the most tedious, boring, painful experiences, and that's just when something goes right".[4]

In 2001, his film Double Whammy was released straight to video.[5] His next film, Delirious, is a comedy starring Steve Buscemi, Michael Pitt, Alison Lohman and Elvis Costello. It was screened at the San Sebastian Film Festival where it won three awards (Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and the Signis Award for originality).[6] The film also screened at the Sundance Film Festival in 2007 and won Best Director at the HBO Comedy Film Festival in Aspen.

DiCillo wrote and directed the movie When You're Strange, which was released in 2009 and premiered at the Sundance Film festival. The film, a documentary about seminal rock band The Doors, was nominated for a Grand Jury Prize. It has since been nominated for both an Emmy Award - after airing on PBS' American Masters series - and a Grammy Award - for Best Long Form Video.

He has published books of two of his screenplays, Living in Oblivion and Box of Moonlight. Both books contain the full scripts along with commentary, stories and anecdotes.

DiCillo also directed "Weeping Willow", a sixth season episode of the television series Law & Order: Criminal Intent, was inspired by the lonelygirl15 videos on YouTube.[7] In the episode, a vlogger named Weeping Willow (Michelle Trachtenberg) is kidnapped during a live Internet video, and the kidnappers demand ransom through additional videos.[8]


As director

As cinematographer


  1. "As far as my Italian origins I wish no offense but I rarely think about it. I’m only half: my father was Italian, my mother New England American. I’m just a guy living in NYC, no more–no less than that.", from
  2. Tom DiCillo. "WHO at Tom DiCillo".
  3. Johnny Suede at the Internet Movie Database
  4. Jennie Yabroff (1997-08-08). "Adult juvenile delinquency". Salon. Archived from the original on June 28, 2006.
  5. John Mankiewicz (2003-02-10). "Straight to video". The New Yorker.
  6. Delirious at the Internet Movie Database
  7. Starr, Michael (2006-11-24). "L&Onely Girl: Abducted web mystery gal.". New York Post. Archived from the original on 2008-03-15. Retrieved 2008-09-08.
  8. "Weeping Willow". Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Season 6. Episode 10. 2006-11-28. NBC.
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