Brett Leonard, Director
Brett Leonard was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio. From an early age, Brett developed a deep appreciation for theater and the craft of acting. A consistent high achiever, Brett was recognized as a National Merit Scholarship finalist during high school.
After participating in several theater workshops as a youth, Brett became focused on developing a career as a film director. His professional career was launched when he made the decision to travel to California and pursue his dreams. Upon arriving, he began working as a laborer on an independent film set in San Francisco. Hardworking and dedicated to his trade, he eventually began directing his own films by age twenty-five.
Today, Brett is considered one of Hollywood’s most innovative film directors and is known as one of the entertainment industry’s digital media visionaries. He was recently named by The Producers Guild of America, in association with Variety, as one of its 2010 “Digital 25,” that recognizes the 25 leading visionaries, innovators, and producers who have made significant contributions to the advancement of storytelling through digital media.
Brett is well known for his direction on the hit motion picture; The Lawnmower Man. He both directed and co-wrote the film, which stars Pierce Brosnan and Jeff Fahey. The film is considered a classic because of its use of groundbreaking computer graphics and networked data. The Lawnmower Man was the number one commercially successful independent film of 1992, costing under $6 million and earning over $200 million worldwide.
In 1993, Brett was a key participant of the Sony 2000 think tank, a small group of media visionaries assembled to discuss the future of media. He has also directed Peter Gabriel’s Kiss That Frog, the first HD all computer graphic music video. Kiss That Frog toured the world as a widely popular theme park attraction and won Brett a 1994 MTV Music Video Award.
Many other successful film projects have been produced under his expert direction as he has continued to push the envelope. As a result, Brett has established himself as both a pioneer of digital media effects and cutting-edge film technologies.
Brett is also known for having a keen eye for new talent and powerful stories. One such story is the recent feature-length documentary entitled, Hole in the Head: A Life Revealed. “Wilbert Smith approached me and said that he had an amazing story, a pitch that I have heard many times before. However, when I looked into it for myself, I knew I had to become part of this project. This has been a marvelous experience for me personally.”
Brett’s philosophy is to empower people to create meaningful stories. He encourages artistic excellence with his actors to harness their deepest emotions.
When Brett is not filmmaking, you can find him with students or donating his expertise to community groups. He is happily married and thoroughly enjoys spending time with his wife Helen.