Independent filmmaker and veteran television director Jamie Babbit established a reputation for her work making smart, forward-thinking and feminist narratives. Best known for the satirical cult comedy, "But I'm A Cheerleader" (1999), that she wrote and directed, she was also one of the most in-demand directors in television, working on a range of series including "Gilmore Girls" (WB 2000-2007), "United States of Tara" (Showtime 2009-) "The L Word" (Showtime 2004-2009) and "Drop Dead Diva"(Lifetime 2009-).
Jamie Babbit was born on November 16, 1970 in Shaker Heights, Ohio. She first got started acting at age 7 at the Cleveland Play House but was more interested on what was going on behind the scenes and quickly moved into lighting design and stage management. Having grown up in Cleveland, Babbit made the move to New York to study West African Studies at Barnard College. While her initial plan was to study international affairs, she became enamored with film after spending a semester in Africa and filming her experience. After earning some scholarship funds, she continued her pursuit of filmmaking taking summer classes at New York University and Columbia University.
After graduating in 1993, Babbit seized the opportunity to work as a production assistant under Martin Scorsese on his film "The Age of Innocence" (1993) followed by working with producer John Sayles on "The Secret of Roan Inish" (1994). She quickly moved her way up the food chain to script supervisor on " The Journey of August King" (1995) before making the move to Los Angeles to work on her first big studio movie as a script supervisor on David Fincher's "The Game" (1997). Having the experience of an $80-million movie under her belt, she felt more confident taking on more directorial roles and approached filmmaking head-on. While she continued to doing independent shorts, she penned the screenplay for "But I'm A Cheerleader," inspired by the teenage rehab camp that her mother ran back in Cleveland. As an out lesbian filmmaker, her story of a lesbian cheerleader who goes to conversion camp, starring Natasha Lyonne, was a personal endeavor and served as her breakout film at the Sundance Film Festival.
The film garnered Babbit critical acclaim and an agent, which led to a meeting with famed television director Ryan Murphy, responsible for the hit series "Glee" (Fox 2009-), "Nip/Tuck" (FX 2003-2010) and "American Horror Story" (FX 2011-). Murphy hired Babbit to direct his first TV show, "Popular" (WB 1999-2001). The teen comedy sparked Babbit's transition into television where she would go on to guest-direct other female-centric series and a wide range of shows including "Malcolm in the Middle" (Fox 2000-2006), "Gossip Girl" (CW 2007-2012) and "Revenge" (ABC 2011-). While Babbit continued to bring emotional depth to primetime shows, she balanced her television directorial duties with developing indie films such as "The Quiet" (2005) and "Itty Bitty Titty Committee" (2007) with her partner Andrea Sperling as producer. The duo also produced and directed her next feature, a horror/thriller titled "Breaking the Girls" (2013). As someone who spent their career exploring the relationships between women, Babbit continued to be called upon to guest direct shows, including an episode of "Girls" (HBO 2012-).
Director (Feature Film)
Cast (Feature Film)
Writer (Feature Film)
Writer (TV Mini-Series)
With Ari Gold, co-directed first short film "Frog Crossing"; screened at Sundance Film Festival
Second short, "Sleeping Beauties", premiered at Sundance
Feature directorial debut, "But I'm A Cheerleader"
Had short film "Stuck" screened at Sundance; earned an honorable mention in short filmmaking at the Sundance Film Festival
Won the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival's Frameline Award.