The 11th Green

About the Filmmaker

Christopher Munch on location during Letters From the Big Man


Critic Graham Fuller summed up the work of writer-director-producer CHRISTOPHER MUNCH by stating that his films “meditate quietly on the perennial struggle people face in communicating with those they love, on mortality, on the role of memory in the mosaic of conscious­ness, and the evanescence that drives his restless protagonists to grasp futilely, and often nobly, at impossible dreams.” Critic and cinema historian Jonathan Rosenbaum called him “one of America’s most gifted independent filmmakers.” 

Munch’s most recently released feature, the wilder­ness drama Letters from the Big Man (2011), was a New York Times Critics’ Pick and featured a lauded central performance by Lily Rabe. Five of his features have played at Sundance, and his first, The Hours and Times (1992), a speculative biopic about Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein, won a special jury prize there. An impossible dream was the overarching theme of Munch’s sec­ond feature, the period landscape drama Color of a Brisk and Leaping Day (1996), based on the true story of a young trolley mechanic who tries to save a doomed short-line railroad to Yosemite National Park. Munch then undertook the sprawling, unconventional mother-daughter story The Sleepy Time Gal (2002), which Kevin Thomas in the Los Angeles Times wrote “has a depth, range and subtlety far greater than most American films” and which David Ansen of Newsweek upon its release stated was Jacqueline Bisset’s “finest performance.” Munch followed this with another unconventional family dissection, Harry and Max (2004), about two pop star brothers. 

He is a past Guggenheim fellow,
recipient of the Wolfgang Staudte Prize at Berlin, winner of two Independent Spirit Awards, including the “Someone To Watch” Award, and has been featured in two Whitney Biennial exhibitions. He has received competitive awards from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (for science in film), Creative Capital Foundation, The American Film Institute, The Merchant and Ivory Foundation, and others.

Writing in the magazine CinemaScope, critic Bérénice Reynaud described Munch’s cinema as “like an echo chamber, painstakingly recreating the most minute aspects of our exis­tences . . . moments of private longing that we cannot describe even to ourselves. . . . [H]is cinema explores the traces left by forgotten (or not-so-forgotten) lives, their often-secret impact on the lives of others and their intricate contradic­tions; he poetically recreates what made them unique rather than generic.” 



Filmography
2020 The 11th Green - writer, director, producer Trailer

2013 Return to Elektra Springs (short) – writer, director Trailer
2011 Letters from the Big Man – writer, director, producer Trailer
2004 Harry and Max – writer, director, producer Trailer
2001 The Sleepy Time Gal – writer, director, producer Trailer
1996 Color of a Brisk and Leaping Day – writer, director Trailer
1991 The Hours and Times – writer, director, producer, cinematographer Trailer

Select feature articles, interviews, and essays about Munch
Filling In the Blanks, Munch discussing speculative history in Talkhouse.com, Mar. 1, 2019
Munch interviewed by Damon Smith in Filmmaker Magazine, Nov. 9, 2011
”Sporting Big Feet and a Heart to Match,” Dennis Lim writing in the New York Times, Nov. 4, 2011
”Adventures of an Indie Gem on Its Way to the Screen,” B. Ruby Rich writing in the New York Times, Feb. 10, 2002
”Unanswered Questions: The Life and Times of Christopher Munch,” Bérénice Reynaud writing in CinémaScope Magazine, Spring 2001 issue
“Station to Station,” Munch interviewed by Paul Harrill and Chris Cagle in Filmmaker Magazine, Spring 1997

Select feature credits as film editor
2016 Search Engines (dir. Russell Brown) Trailer
2014 Redemption Trail (dir. Britta Sjogren) Trailer
2008 The Blue Tooth Virgin (dir. Russell Brown) Trailer
2002 La Presenza (dir. James Herbert, Italy)


Prizes, honors, and special exhibitions
2010 Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Sleepy Time Gal (special screenings as part of Creative Capital retrospective)
1999 The American Century (Group Exhibition), Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, The Hours and Times
1997 Biennial Exhibition, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Color of a Brisk and Leaping Day

1996 Someone to Watch Award, FIND/Independent Spirit Awards
1993 Biennial Exhibition, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, The Hours and Times
1993 Award of Special Distinction, FIND/Independent Spirit Awards, The Hours and Times
1992 Wolfgang Staudte Filmpreis, The Berlin International Film Festival, International Forum, The Hours and Times
1992 Special Jury Prize for Artistic Achievement, Sundance Film Festival, The Hours and Times