Joe Gilford

Joe Gilford

JOE GILFORD has worked in film, TV and theater, as a producer, playwright, screenwriter and director for over 35 years. He has taught screenwriting at NYU’s Tisch Undergraduate Film department since 1999.

His plays have been produced or presented at Naked Angels Theater Co., Roundabout Theater Company, Circle Rep Lab, New York Stage & Film, The Westbank Downstairs Theater, Southampton Writers...
JOE GILFORD has worked in film, TV and theater, as a producer, playwright, screenwriter and director for over 35 years. He has taught screenwriting at NYU’s Tisch Undergraduate Film department since 1999.

His plays have been produced or presented at Naked Angels Theater Co., Roundabout Theater Company, Circle Rep Lab, New York Stage & Film, The Westbank Downstairs Theater, Southampton Writers Workshop and Todd Mountain Theater Project. He is a longtime member of Ensemble Studio Theatre and its Playwrights Unit. He worked as a stage director for many years before turning to writing.

Joe has recently received his second Alfred P. Sloan Foundation grant for his proposed full-length play, The Radio Boys, detailing the struggles of Edwin Armstrong and his invention of FM radio. Joe previously received a Sloan Foundation grant in 2011 for his newest play Danny’s Brain about brain injuries afflicting American football players.

His play, Finks, received its New York premiere at Ensemble Studio Theatre, winning high critical praise. Finks was nominated for two Drama Desk Awards, (Outstanding Play and Outstanding Leading Actress, Miriam Silverman). It also received the Best New Play nomination from the Off-Broadway Alliance. Finks is based on the experiences of Joe’s parents Jack & Madeline Gilford’s real-life struggles as blacklisted actors in the 1950s.

Finks was videotaped as part of the Lincoln Center Library of the Performing Arts “Theater on Film & Tape” archive. It is also an audio podcast from the Radio Drama Network and will debut on public radio stations around the country. It is published by Dramatists Play Service.
Finks had its world premiere in 2005 at New York Stage & Film’s Powerhouse Theater at Vassar.

Joe earned his BFA at NYU's Institute of Film & TV(now Tisch) where he wrote and directed Max, a short film starring his father, Jack Gilford, playing film festivals and television all over the world.
He has just completed the feature screenplay Apalachin for producers Brian Cange and Robert Ivker, the story of the famed 1957 Apalachin Meeting of mafia leaders in upstate New York and its repercussions in the history of organized crime.

Joe is the author of Why Does the Screenwriter Cross the Road?…and other secrets of screenwriting (Michael Wiese Books)

His feature screenplay, God’s Thumbprint, the story of an international gold-mining scandal in Indonesia in the 1990s, will be produced by Creative Differences Productions. Saul Rubinek is the director & producer (Jerry & Tom).

He was on the writing team of Gold Fever, the four-part mini-series about the 1849 California gold rush produced by Stephen David Entertainment for the Discovery Channel.
For director/producer, Fareed Al-Mashat, Joe wrote the screenplay Moonbounce, a noir science fiction thriller set in the world of HAM radio operators. It is currently in pre-production.
He is the screenwriter of the feature film adaptation of the French science fiction novel by Ivan Leveque Operation Pertica and its sequel Pertica II: The Awakening. He is also the author of the new English adaptation of the novel, Mission to Ernam, now out in paperback from Dorrance (also available at Amazon.com).

He is the creator and writer of Game, a new digital animation comedy series.

He has had a long career producing television documentaries, winning a New York Emmy Award for his work on WNET-NY’s (PBS) City Arts series. He has also been a writer and producer at Showtime, Bravo, Court TV, F/x, and New York's MSG MetroGuide channel.

For PBS’s Great Performances & Time Warner Home Video he wrote the original script for The Great American Songbook, a history of American popular song hosted by Michael Feinstein. Also for PBS, he wrote the documentary Beyond Wiseguys: Italian Americans and the Movies hosted by John Turturro and featuring Paul Sorvino, Marisa Tomei, and many others.

He is the writer of the A&E Biography, Tom Hanks: Hollywood's Golden Boy. He also served as a writer on the award-winning Lifetime series, “The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd.”
He is the author of the plays Knockdown, Not Tunisia, In Aisle 4, The End of Our Rope, The Love Museum, and No Fault.

He is a contributor to Brooklyn: A State of Mind (Workman Press), an anthology of essays and anecdotes about the NY borough of Brooklyn, where he has lived since 1992.
Since 1999 he has taught screenwriting at NYU’s Undergraduate Film & TV Dept., Tisch School of the Arts. He is also currently a Visiting Professional teaching screenwriting at Montclair State University’s Dept. of Film in New Jersey. He is also a regular visiting adjunct to Hollins University’s MFA screen and television writing program.

He has been a teacher and lecturer of screenwriting at Columbia University’s Graduate MFA Film Program, New York’s Gotham Writers Workshop, Pratt Institute, and the Bushwick Film Festival. He has served on the judging panels of events such as the Fusion Film Festival (NY) and the Philadelphia Screenplay Festival.
Joe was born and raised in Greenwich Village, NY. He lives in Brooklyn

Plays

  • SUMMER WRITERS
    A married writing teacher, 40s, approaching mid-life crisis agrees to meet a female former student, 30s, from his summer writing program with whom he had had a thoughtless fling. The casual coffee reunion takes a serious turn as the woman recounts her experiences since their affair and makes certain her teacher will remember the details. One-act; appx. 25 minutes.
  • SETTLEMENT
    Divorce lawyer, REUBEN MANDEL, 50, extols his young client, 30, on the harsh realities that lay ahead in his divorce. His impassioned, almost-uninterrupted monologue is a paean to the fog-of-divorce-war. It is also the story of Reuben's own lessons and losses, which have confirmed his faith in only one thing--Reuben. 10 minute one-act.
  • IN AISLE 4
    In a local supermarket, MICKEY, late 40s runs into his recently former girlfriend, FLO, 30s. It's a tough moment for both of them as they struggle against the impossible--to get through this without discussing the reasons why they broke up. Short one-act: 10 minutes.
  • KNOCKDOWN
    Seven characters converge on a fatal traffic accident. Seven intersecting monologues create a collage of experiences about life, death, love, wealth, and fate. One-act, appx. 35 minutes.
  • NOT TUNISIA
    1954. In a basement in Guatemala City, on the eve of a CIA-backed operation, two low-level CIA radio operators wait for the signal that will topple the newly elected democratic government of Jacob Arbenz. The two men, one in his 20s the other in his 40s, spend the hour comparing life experiences and philosphies. But the younger of the two uses the time to make his political goals and ambitions very clear to his...
    1954. In a basement in Guatemala City, on the eve of a CIA-backed operation, two low-level CIA radio operators wait for the signal that will topple the newly elected democratic government of Jacob Arbenz. The two men, one in his 20s the other in his 40s, spend the hour comparing life experiences and philosphies. But the younger of the two uses the time to make his political goals and ambitions very clear to his older partner, culminating in an almost fatal confrontation. One-act; appx. 50 minutes.
  • DANNY'S BRAIN
    DANNY’S BRAIN is a full-length drama about the tragedy of traumatic brain injuries caused by concussions in high school football and the NFL.

    Set in 2004, before discoveries of brain injuries in various sports.

    In a remote town in southwestern Pennsylvania, we meet Karen Connelly, a single football mom who also works as a senior technician at a commercial pathology lab. Her son...
    DANNY’S BRAIN is a full-length drama about the tragedy of traumatic brain injuries caused by concussions in high school football and the NFL.

    Set in 2004, before discoveries of brain injuries in various sports.

    In a remote town in southwestern Pennsylvania, we meet Karen Connelly, a single football mom who also works as a senior technician at a commercial pathology lab. Her son Griffin is a senior varsity defensive linebacker and a local star now being scouted for the top football colleges—pipelines to the NFL. While her job is just a job, her son and his success are the core of her life. She will allow nothing to get in the way of his promising career.

    This present-day story is paralleled by events from the life of one of the NFL’s greatest defensive heroes—the “Iron Man” Danny Durwent, who has recently committed suicide at age 43—the victim of early dementia caused by traumatic brain injury.

    Karen’s new associate at the lab, Arthur is convinced they’re on to something when they receive the assignment to analyze the tissue of an anonymous human brain. The lab—a strictly commercial enterprise—is not like a university research lab. There are no bold discoveries; no possibilities of glory. But Arthur thinks otherwise and as he probes beyond the scope of his duties, he enters dangerous territory for both himself and Karen.

    After Griffin sustains a serious concussion in a game, the choice of whether he should return to the all-important playoffs remains the central question for Karen, the team’s coach, and the ever-eager Griffin—who wants nothing more than to achieve the stardom he’s worked so hard for. But he is also haunted by Danny Durwent’s ghost as he begins to experience the baffling, inexplicable symptoms of traumatic brain injury.

    Inspired by real events, DANNY’S BRAIN is the story of small-town America’s devotion to football from high school, through college and into the NFL—regardless of the dangers of traumatic brain injury. The play includes stylized recreations of slow-motion football action which dramatize the beauty, drama and violence of the game.

    Danny’s Brain was made possible by a grant from the ALFRED P. SLOAN FOUNDATION, to encourage theater artists to explore scientific themes, under the auspices of ENSEMBLE STUDIO THEATRE, NY.