John O'Hagan comes to us with a seasoned understanding of his craft. A vet of the industry, he is known for crossing boundaries, borders, and genres. An internationally successful commercial director and celebrated documentary and narrative filmmaker, he has an eye for beauty and a sense for comedy. During his early film studies at Brown University and New York University, O’Hagan apprenticed under filmmakers Todd Haynes and Spike Lee. Now, as a versatile director in his own right, O’Hagan has gone on to earn a slew of international accolades including film festival awards, Cannes Gold Lions, Gold Pencils, a Grand Clio, and an Emmy nomination.
O'Hagan's nascent filmmaker-tendencies showed themselves from a young age when he discovered he had a keen interest in photographing ‘everyday’ life. “When traveling I’ve always found it far more interesting to take photographs of the tourists rather than the tourist attractions.” Over the years, this curiosity at ‘bearing witness to’ has developed into an innate love of the eccentricities and subtleties of human behavior. This interest has never been more on full display than in his award-winning, critically-acclaimed documentary film, “Wonderland.”
In his commercial work today, O’Hagan combines his varied directing talents to approach storytelling in his own unifying way—always letting the core concept of a story dictate the way he chooses to tell it. “I’ve always thought it best to allow that inspiring idea at the center of any story to drive every decision that follows.” It has proven to be a winning approach. Throughout O’Hagan’s extensive and diverse body of award-winning work this is perhaps the defining feature of his directing style—the desire to combine the heart of an idea with a keen (and often humorous) observation of human nature.