Jonathan is that rare breed of director who is at once a great collaborator and innovator, but always pushes to get what’s best for the project

— Brian Bell (Producer - 'Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk' '22 Jump Street' 'Neighbors') —

Jonathan Kesselman is an award winning filmmaker and writer 

Jonathan launched his career writing and directing ‘The Hebrew Hammer’ in 2003 to international acclaim with its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. It later played a number of international festivals before being picked up for theatrical distribution (Hanukkah 2003) by Strand Releasing in conjunction with Comedy Central and Paramount Home Video.  Voted among the top holiday movies by the New York Times, Vanity Fair, Boston Globe and Time Magazine, the ‘Hebrew Hammer’ was aired on Comedy Central for five years after the television rights were sold to the major cable network. Moment Magazine included ‘Hebrew Hammer’ among its’ Top 100 Most Influential Films in the History of Jewish Cinema. Among others in the list were ‘The Graduate’, ‘Schindler’s List’ and ‘Annie Hall’.

Jonathan’s newest feature film ‘Jimmy Vestvood: Amerikan Hero’ starring Maz Jobrani and John Heard, had its world premiere at the 2014 Austin Film Festival, where it won the Comedy Vanguard award as well as the Audience Award. Jimmy was released theatrically in the US on May 13, 2016, and ran for five months across the country. To date, Jimmy has been picked up for distribution around the world and can currently be see in: Africa, Poland, India, Latin America, the Middle East, Turkey, Germany, Italy, Benelux, Switzerland, China, Australia, New Zealand, Russia and the Ukraine, Indonesia, and Yugoslavia. Next year, Jimmy will have it’s cable release on Showtime.

Most recently, Jonathan wrote and directed second Unit for Oscar-winning director Ang Lee on the film, ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk,’ which opens nationwide on November 11, 2016.

Jonathan has been a screenwriter for: Fox, Paramount, Nickelodeon, Disney, Disney XD, Sony, Blue Sky Animation, MTV, Comedy Central studios, the Irish Film Board, and WWE (yes, it’s fake). Jonathan also works as a commercial director with such clients as Nintendo, Red Mango, Irish Rail, DDB RX, American Media Inc., and the Mr. Olympia contest. Ironically, Jonathan taught ‘Writing Comedy for Film and Television’ at Yale University while concurrently acting as the humor columnist for the alternative goth-porn site Suicide Girls.

His short film work includes ‘Arts & Crafts’, starring Josh Cooke and Rob Benedict which was an “exclusive” on Will Ferrell’s Funny Or Die website.  Funny Or Die then commissioned two other “exclusives”, which Jon wrote and directed, entitled ‘Roasted: America Under the Influence’ and ‘Sexy Daddy’, starring Dave Foley and written by Dave and Kevin McDonald of The Kids In The Hall.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Kesselman received his Bachelors degree from the University of Colorado, graduating Magna Cum Laude in Psychology with an emphasis in Neuroscience. He received his Masters Degree in Film Production from the University of Southern California School of Cinema/Television in 2001.

 

Here are a few clients Jonathan has worked with so far


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Jonathan is a comedic visionary with a keen understanding of visual language and a strong point of view

— Lisa Fragner (Head Of Development, Blue Sky Studios - 'Ice Age' 'Rio' 'Peanuts') —

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