Gore Vidal - The United States of Amnesia

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Cast & Crew

Nicholas Wrathall

Producer, Director, Writer

Nicholas Wrathall is an award-winning director and producer who has been working in the documentary and commercial fields for more than fifteen years. Nicholas spent his childhood in Sydney, Australia and Canada, and made his first film while attending Sydney University.

At 22 he moved to New York where he began to make his way as an Assistant Director and Producer for music videos and commercials shot around the world, including Madonna’s “Frozen,” which won the 1998 MTV Award for Best Music Video. He has produced dozens of commercials for clients that include Sprint, Toyota, Fanta, and Sony Bravia.

He was first recognized for his direction of the documentary Abandoned: The Betrayal of America’s Immigrants, which was featured on PBS Independent Lens and won the 2000 Alfred I. duPont Columbia Award for Broadcast Journalism.

In addition to his feature work, Nicholas directs and produces short documentaries on a variety of social issues. Recent work includes Endless Caravan, Haitian Eksperyans and The Modern Gulag, which was picked-up by the New York Times as the basis for a feature on North Korean gulags operating in Far East Russia.

Currently Nicholas is based in Los Angeles and New York and has just completed the feature documentary Gore Vidal: The United States Of Amnesia, an independent documentary that he is directing and producing. Nicholas was fortunate to interview Gore many times over the last few years of his life, having sparked an idea for the documentary after the release of several of Gore’s political pamphlets post-911. Nicholas went on to travel with Gore to Italy, Cuba and many U.S. Cities, gaining further access to Gore’s insight on the current state of affairs in this country.

With a lifelong interest in politics and social issues, Nicholas strives to use filmmaking as a tool to inspire people to question media representation and reignite the art of critical thinking.

Theodore James


Theodore James began his career in 2004 when he moved to Los Angeles and started working in non-fiction productions. In 2005 he teamed up with Patrick Creadon and Christine O’Malley on the release of Wordplay, a documentary about The New York Times crossword editor and National Public Radio personality Will Shorts. Wordplay was a breakout hit at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival and went on to become the second-highest grossing documentary of the year.

He next served as a producer on I.O.U.S.A., an examination of America’s debt problem, which premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival and was later nominated for a Critics’ Choice Award for best Documentary Feature.

In 2009 he produced his first made-for-television documentary for Nickelodeon about the lovable cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants. Square Roots: The Story of SpongeBob SquarePants, which aired on VH1and Nickelodeon to stellar ratings.

As the economy continued to worsened, he re-teamed with his I.O.U.S.A. filmmakers and produced I.O.U.S.A.: Solutions, a two-hour follow-up, that gave possible solutions to our troubled national debt. It aired on CNN in April, 2010 to great acclaim.

Next he started his own production company (SuperFilms!) with fellow colleague Michael Barnett. Together they financed their first feature documentary film Superheroes. The film was a breakout hit at the 2011 Slamdance Film Festival where it won the first ever “Theatrical Release Award”. It was quickly bought by HBO Documentary Films and aired last August on the network. He and Michael are currently developing new projects at SuperFilms!.

Burr Steers


Burr Gore Steers is an American actor, screenwriter, and director. He is also the nephew of writer Gore Vidal. Born in Washington, D.C., he was the son of Republican Congressman Newton Ivan Steers, Jr. (1917–1993) and Nina Gore Auchincloss. Steers wrote and directed the film Igby Goes Down (2002) and was a writer for the film How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003). He has directed episodes of Weeds, The L Word, and Big Love. Steers also directed the teen films 17 Again (2009) and Charlie St. Cloud (2010). He has had minor roles in a few of Quentin Tarantino’s films, playing Roger (or “Flock of seagulls”) in Pulp Fiction (1994) and providing one of the radio voices in Reservoir Dogs (1992). He also appeared in The Last Days of Disco (1998) and Gore Vidal’s Billy the Kid (1989).

Derek Wiesenhahn


Derek Wiesehahn is a New York based director of photography with over 20 years of experience in film and television. Recent cinematography credits have included the 2010 Academy Award winning documentary short film Music By Prudence, the 2013 Academy Award nominated documentary feature How To Survive A Plague, and the 2013 Sundance selected documentary feature God Loves Uganda. Derek also received a camera operating credit on the 2011 Sundance winner, and Academy Award nominated documentary, Restrepo.

Derek has shot over 100 music videos, as well as numerous commercials and promos for such clients as HBO, Showtime, McDonalds, Adidas, Fedex, Haagan-dazs, Columbia Records, AOL, MTV, and Nickelodeon. His work has won several New York Festivals Awards as well as Addy and headliner awards. Narrative credits also include several feature films, and shorts, which have been well received at Sundance, the Tribeca Film Festival and the New York Film Festival.

Joel Schwartzberg


Joel has worked in the industry as a Director of Photography for over two decades, specializing in documentary and broadcast projects around the globe. His credits include work on numerous documentary series and specials for networks that include CNN, ABC, and Discovery, as well as the prime time series “Houston Medical” (2002) and “Extreme Makeover” (2003-2006). Joel has received five regional Emmy Awards, a Bronze Telly, and a Cine Golden Eagle.

Armando De’ath


As a Cinematographer Armando’s passion for stylized images is clearly visible in the 200+ music videos he has been credited with.. His ouvre includes legendary acts such as Manic Street Preachers, Leftfield, Motörhead, DJ Sash, Skunk Anancie, Mercury Rev and Paul Weller to name but a few.

Fluent in six languages, Armando has worked extensively abroad making use of both 35mm film and the latest digital formats. Often taking his inspiration from 1940s black and white cinematic lighting, his work and subject matters are visually strong and well suited to realm of Fashion and Advertising, as is evident in the viral campaign he recently shot for Agent Provocateur.

Suresh Ayyar


Suresh Ayyar has been editing feature films and documentaries for over 30 years. He is based in Sydney, Australia. Recent credits include Iron Sky (2012), Dancing with Dictators: The Story of the Last Foreign Publisher in Burma (2011) and The Dragon Pearl (2011).

William Haugse


An Oscar- and Emmy-nominated editor, William Haugse has edited a dozen feature documentaries including “Hoop Dreams,” “Sunset Story,” “Stevie,” and “No Impact Man,” and in New York last year, “Magic Men.” This year’s work also includes “We Are Wisconsin” (Hot Docs) and “The Woman Who Wasn’t There” (Discovery). He has edited approximately 50 hours of network and cable documentaries. He was nominated for both an Oscar (“Hoop Dreams” Fineline) and an Emmy (“The Last Days of Kennedy and King” Turner), and received the American Cinema Editors Eddie Award among other prizes. He has worked with Orson Welles and John Cassavetes, among others. His own film, “Breakfast in Bed,” starring John Ritter, was “finely crafted” according to the Hollywood Reporter and received festival awards both here and in Europe. As a director of short documentaries he has won several national prizes including Chris Gold awards. He taught for 5 years in the USC Dept of Cinema and now after many travels is based in Los Angeles.

Rob Bralver


Rob’s first film was the acclaimed music documentary Cure for Pain: The Mark Sandman Story (2012), which won numerous best film and best editing awards at festivals worldwide. After editing Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia, he wrote and edited the upcoming Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton: This Stones Throw Records starring Common & Kanye West, due to premiere at the 2013 LA Film Festival. Rob is 26 years old and lives in Los Angeles.

Derek Boonstra

Consulting Editor

Derek grew up in Colorado and has been working on documentaries in various capacities since 2006. Among other projects, he produced, wrote and edited 2009′s BAKER BOYS, a 4-part documentary series about American soldiers stationed in Iraq, and edited the 2011 Slamdance award winning HBO Documentary SUPERHEROES, a humorous look into the strange world of real-life caped crusaders, as well as 2012′s THE INVISIBLE WAR, a sobering exposé of sexual assault in the US military which earned numerous accolades, including an Academy Award nomination for best documentary and Rotten Tomatoes’ top film of 2012. Outside of the edit room, he volunteers on the board of directors for The Bicycle Kitchen/La Bicicocina, a non-profit organization in Los Angeles dedicated to providing bicycle education.