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Andrew Wagner

Lecturer

“Andrew Andrew Wagner is a feature-film writer and director who teaches graduate directing courses at UCLA TFT.  

Breakable You, starring Holly Hunter, Tony Shalhoub, Alfred Molina, Cristin Milioti and Omar Metwally, is Wagner’s third feature film. It had its world premiere at the 2017 Palm Springs International Film Festival and recently screened in the Film Independent Series at LACMA, curated by Elvis Mitchell. Breakable You was acquired by Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions and is slated for release in late 2017.  

Wagner’s second feature, Starting Out in the Evening, starring Frank Langella, Lili Taylor and Lauren Ambrose, premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival in 2007 and was released theatrically by Roadside Attractions. The Boston Critics Association named Langella Best Actor of 2007 and he was a runner-up in voting done by critics associations in Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas/Ft. Worth. Starting Out in the Evening was named one of the Top 10 Independent Films of 2007 by the National Board of Review and made more than 30 critics’ Best Films of 2007 lists, including The New York Times’ A.O. Scott and Stephen Holden, and the Chicago Sun-Times’ Roger Ebert. The film also received two Independent Spirit Awards nominations in the Best Male Lead and Best Screenplay categories.  

His first feature, The Talent Given Us, was an official selection at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. The film also won the Jury Prize at the CineVegas Film Festival and Best First Feature at Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival. It played theatrically in more than 30 cities and made Best Films of 2005 critics’ lists compiled by The New York Times and others; Wagner was a Breakthrough Director nominee at the 2005 Gotham Awards.  

Wagner majored in creative writing at Brown University and attended graduate film school at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where his short film, The Hardest Hit, won the Francois de Menil Scholarship. He moved to Los Angeles to write Waccabuc, a screenplay for United Artists and director Mark Rydell. He then became a directing fellow at the American Film Institute where he received his masters in fine arts degree. His thesis film at AFI, The Last Days of Hope and Time, won the Franklin J. Schaffner Fellowship for Excellence in Directing. Wagner went on to develop his adaptation of The Man Who Gave Up His Name — from the collection of Jim Harrison novellas, Legends of the Fall — at the Sundance Writer’s Lab.  

Wagner was also the cinematographer on Julie Delpy’s feature Looking for Jimmy (2002).  

In addition to the courses at UCLA TFT, Wagner teaches the advanced thesis directing class at AFI where he is also the director of thesis development.