Brilliant film director. Films include Simple Men, Trust, Surviving Desire, Flirt, Amateur, The Unbelievable Truth, and Henry Fool. Often works with people such as Martin Donovan, Elina Lowensohn, and Parker Posey. Mr. Donovan is playing Jesus Christ in the next hartley movie, The Book of Life.

(b.1960)
Cult filmmaker specialized in low-budget, stylized comedies marked
by long and surrealistic conversations and absurd story lines.
In his movies Hartley used new talents (most of them close friends)
like Martin Donovan, Karen Silas, Robert Burke, Elina Lowensohn
and Adrienne Shelly. Most of his films are accompanied with music
from Sonic Youth, Yo La Tengo and recently PJ Harvey.
After seeing Trust, French star Isabelle Huppert was rewarded her
request to star in one of his movies, Amateur.
In addition to writing, directing, and producing, Hartley frequently
writes soundtrack music under the name Ned Rifle.
Born November 3, 1959, Hal Hartley operates his own production company, True Fiction Pictures out of New York City. The third child of four, Hartley was born into a Catholic blue collar family (his father was an iron worker) that resided in Lindenhurst, Long Island.

In the late 70's Hartley's creative bent led him to attend the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. A class in film ignited an interest in the moving image and he began experimenting with the celluloid medium. A year later he left art school only to work part time in a department store. In his spare time he began making a series of short films shot on Super-8. Based on his submission of these films he was granted admission to the film school at the State University of New York at Purchase.

Upon graduating with honors from SUNY-Purchase in 1984, Hartley obtained work as an ironworker with his father and brother. After a time he found odd production assistant jobs that ended up leaving him too drained to work on his own projects. In an attempt to make time and energy for his own work, Hartley took a job at Action Productions. There he answered phones and ran errands for the public service announcement company.

Action Productions' president, Jerome Brownstein, recognized talent in Hartley early on and took him under his wing. While at Action, Hartley completed two short films, "Dogs" and "The Cartographer's Girlfriend", both demonstrating his talent to make films on a shoestring with borrowed cameras and outdated film stock.

Not long after Hartley applied for a bank loan for a home computer and was approved. He was able to convince his brother and a cousin to to apply and soon he managed to had raise twenty-three thousand dollars for his first feature film, "The Unbelievable Truth", which he planned to shoot in sixteen millimeter. Brownstein stepped in and told Hal that he would raise enough so that the film could be shot in thirty-five millimeter once Hal submitted a realistic budget proposal. Hartley pulled together his budget and Brownstein, true to his word, put together an investment of over fifty thousand dollars, putting the total budget for "The Unbelievable Truth" at around seventy-five grand.

In order to work within his means, Hartley convinced many of his SUNY-Purchase friends to act as cast and crew. In addition, he convinced his father and other Lindenhurst relatives to 'donate' their homes as locations. The shoot lasted a mere eleven and a half days. After completeion, Hartley's next obstacle was finding a distributor. Prospects were bleak for about nine months until "The Unbelievable Truth" went on to become a smash hit at the 1989 Toronto Film Festival. A bidding war ensued between distributors and in the end, Miramax won the rights. 1990 saw the comercial release of "The Unbelievable Truth" and the rest is, as they say, history.

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