AJ Schnack’s acclaimed non-fiction feature film debut, GIGANTIC (A TALE OF TWO JOHNS), the documentary about art-pop/post-punk veterans They Might Be Giants, was distributed nationally in 2003 by Cowboy Pictures and Plexifilm to more than 65 cities in the US and Canada, following a successful festival run. Plexifilm released the Special Edition DVD of GIGANTIC in November 2003, which was named by Amazon.com as #36 on their ranking of the Best 100 DVDs of 2003. GIGANTIC featured live performance, interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and appearances by a wide range of fans, friends and collaborators (including Janeane Garofalo, Conan O’Brien, Jon Stewart, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Frank Black, Mark Hoppus, Ira Glass, Sarah Vowell, Dave Eggers and Andy Richter, among others). The film was adapted for an episode of the ABC News program “Nightline UpClose,” in which AJ Schnack appeared with ABC News’ Ted Koppel and Robert Krulwich.
Currently, Schnack has directed and is in post-production on a new non-fiction film about Radical Teen Cheer. RTC is a group of high school students (primarily Latina) from urban Los Angeles who divide their time between typical high school activities - studying, prom, graduation, parties - and performing as an activist cheerleader squad at anti-war, anti-sweatshop and pro-gay rights rallies and marches. He is in
pre-production on his third feature, a new music documentary, scheduled for completion and release in 2005.
Prior to GIGANTIC, Schnack wrote and directed the short narrative film MIGHT AS WELL BE SWING, which debuted at the 2000 LA International Short Film Festival and was named as “one of the 10 best short films of 2000” by New York’s Anthology Film Archives/ New Filmmakers Series and reelroundtable.com.
AJ Schnack was raised in Edwardsville, Illinois, a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri. His parents were school teachers and summer camp directors. In the late 1980s, he authored and directed two stage plays, Pomp and Circumstance and The Nuclear Age. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism.
In 1995, Schnack co-founded Bonfire Films of America with partner Shirley Moyers, where he Executive Produced more than 80 projects for a number of different directors and record labels, including award-winning videos for Blink 182, Eels, Cake, Papa Roach, Incubus, and 311. He began directing his own projects in the late 1990s, and in 2000, he directed the 2000 National Emmy Award winner in for Best Public Service Announcement for “Lost,” a spot for the Boys Town National Hotline.