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Martin Scorsese

Filmmaker, Founder & Chair

Martin Scorsese was born in 1942 in New York City and was raised in the neighborhood of Little Italy, which later provided the inspiration for several of his films. He graduated with degrees in film communications, a B.S. in 1964 and an M.A. in 1966, from New York University’s School of Film. During this time, he made numerous prize-winning short films including The Big Shave. In 1968, he directed his first feature film, Who’s That Knocking at My Door?

He served as assistant director and an editor of the documentary Woodstock in 1970 and won critical and popular acclaim for his 1973 film Mean Streets. Scorsese directed his first documentary film, Italianamerican, in 1974. In 1976, Taxi Driver was awarded the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. He followed with New York, New York in 1977, The Last Waltz in 1978, and Raging Bull in 1980, which received eight Academy Award nominations including Best Picture and Best Director. Scorsese went on to direct The Color of MoneyThe Last Temptation of ChristGoodfellasCape FearCasinoKundun and The Age of Innocence, among other films.

In 1996, he completed a four-hour documentary, A Personal Journey With Martin Scorsese Through American Movies, co-directed by Michael Henry Wilson. The documentary was commissioned by the British Film Institute to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of cinema.

In 2001, Scorsese released Il Mio Viaggio in Italia, an epic documentary that affectionately chronicles his love for Italian cinema. His long-cherished project, Gangs of New York, was released in 2002, earning numerous critical honors including a Golden Globe Award for best director. In 2003, PBS broadcast the seven-film documentary series Martin Scorsese Presents: The BluesThe Aviator was released in December 2004 and earned five Academy Awards in addition to the Golden Globe and BAFTA awards for best picture. In 2005, No Direction Home: Bob Dylan was broadcast as part of the American Masters series on PBS. In 2006, The Departed was released to critical acclaim and was honored with the Directors Guild of America, Golden Globe, New York Film Critics, National Board of Review and Critics Choice awards for best director. It also earned four Academy Awards including best picture and best director. Scorsese’s documentary of the Rolling Stones in concert, Shine a Light, was released in 2008. Shutter Island premiered in February 2010. That same year, he also released two documentaries: the Peabody Award-winning Elia Kazan: A Letter to Elia on PBS and Public Speaking, starring writer Fran Lebowitz, on HBO.

Scorsese’s most recent film, The Wolf of Wall Street, was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Achievement in directing and Best Motion Picture of the Year. Earlier, he helmed the Emmy Award-winning HBO documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World as well as the Golden Globe- and Academy Award-nominated film Hugo. He received the Best Director Golden Globe for his work on that film, which went on to win five Academy Awards, and was named the AFI Best Movie of the Year.

He also directed the pilot episode and served as an executive producer on the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. The series went on to win the Emmy Award and the Golden Globe for best television series drama and Scorsese took home both Emmy and DGA awards for directing.

Other awards and honors he has received include the Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion Award (1995), the AFI Life Achievement Award (1997), the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s 25th Gala Tribute (1998), the DGA Lifetime Achievement Award (2003), The Kennedy Center Honors (2007) and the HFPA Cecil B. DeMille Award (2010). In 2012, he was honored by the Broadcast Film Critics Association with the Critics’ Choice Music + Film Award and by BAFTA, which awarded him an Academy Fellowship.

Scorsese is the founder and chair of The Film Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and protection of motion picture history.