Joe Berlinger

Joe Berlinger Headshot

Producer • Director

Birth Date: October 30, 1961

Age: 62 years old

Birth Place: Boca Raton, Florida

Advertising executive-turned-documentarian Joe Berlinger has created some of the most riveting nonfiction films of the 1990s with his partner Bruce Sinofsky. Beginning his career in advertising at McCann-Erickson in 1983, he moved to Ogilvy & Mather's Frankfurt office to produce TV commercials the following year. By he had joined Maysles Films, where he worked his way up to executive producer. At Maysles, Berlinger learned about documentary filmmaking and also met his future collaborator. Berlinger did publicity for Maysles' "Christo in Paris" (1990), among other projects."

Outrageous Taxi Stories" (1989) was Berlinger's debut as a producer and director (the film was edited by Sinofsky). This independent short, a humorous look at New York cabbies, became a festival hit and encouraged the two to go into partnership in Creative Thinking International, a company, formed by Berlinger in 1988. (It eventually spawned the commercial offshoot Gray Matter Productions, which has created both public service announcements and for-profit TV commercials.) The first feature from Creative Thinking was "Brother's Keeper" (1992), which--after a slow start--became the most successful self-distributed documentary to date. The eerily heartwarming story of a rural eccentric accused of his brother's mercy killing, it was produced, directed, written and edited by both Berlinger and Sinofsky. Debuting at the Sundance Film Festival, it went on to win numerous awards including citations from the New York Film Critics Circle and the Directors Guild of America. "Brother's Keeper" was later shown on PBS's "American Playhouse" in 1994. Their official small screen debut, however, was "The Begging Game," a 1995 installment of the PBS series "Frontline," which followed the fortunes and misfortunes of several New York panhandlers. In 1996, the team had another success with the grisly and unsettling documentary feature "Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills." What began as the story of three uneducated teens accused of a triple child-murder developed into an uncertain look at mob stereotyping, local (Arkansas) mentality and the flaws of the legal system. Again, their film was screened at 52 festivals (including Sundance), won several awards and aired on HBO in June before its theatrical release. The style of Berlinger and Sinofsky is cinema-verite: no narration, scant subtitles and no artsy cinematic effects. The filmmakers gain the trust of the participants, who tell their own stories their own way, edited down from hours of tape.

Credits

Matriarch of Murder?

Executive Producer
Show
2023

Madoff: The Monster of Wall StreetStream

Executive Producer
Docuseries
2023
90%

The New Americans: Gaming a Revolution

Executive Producer
Movie
2023

Crime Scene: The Texas Killing FieldsStream

Executive Producer
Docuseries
2022

Ghislaine Maxwell: Filthy RichStream

Executive Producer
Movie
2022

Conversations With a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer TapesStream

Executive Producer
Docuseries
2022

ShadowlandStream

Executive Producer
Docuseries
2022

Conversations With a Killer: The John Wayne Gacy TapesStream

Director
Docuseries
2022

Crime Scene: The Times Square KillerStream

Director
Series
2021

Crime Scene: The Times Square KillerStream

Executive Producer
Series
2021

Doctor's Orders

Executive Producer
Show
2021

Confronting a Serial KillerStream

Director
Docuseries
2021
83%

Confronting a Serial KillerStream

Executive Producer
Docuseries
2021
83%

Murder Among the MormonsStream

Executive Producer
Series
2021
89%

Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil HotelStream

Director
Series
2021

Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil HotelStream

Executive Producer
Series
2021

Truth to Power

Executive Producer
Movie
2020

Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy TapesStream

Creator
Docuseries
2019

Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy TapesStream

Director
Docuseries
2019

Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy TapesStream

Executive Producer
Docuseries
2019

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile

Director
Movie
2019

The Longest Wave

Director
Movie
2019

The Longest Wave

Producer
Movie
2019

The Longest Wave

Writer
Movie
2019

Unspeakable Crime: The Killing of Jessica Chambers

Executive Producer
Show
2018

Wrong ManStream

Actor
Docuseries
2018

Wrong ManStream

Director
Docuseries
2018

Wrong ManStream

Executive Producer
Docuseries
2018

Wrong Man: Extras

Executive Producer
Show
2018

Cold Blooded: The Clutter Family MurdersStream

Director
Docuseries
2017

Cold Blooded: The Clutter Family MurdersStream

Executive Producer
Docuseries
2017

Gone: The Forgotten Women of Ohio: Extras

Actor
Show
2017

Gone: The Forgotten Women of Ohio: Extras

Director
Show
2017

Gone: The Forgotten Women of Ohio

Actor
Show
2017

Gone: The Forgotten Women of Ohio

Director
Show
2017

Gone: The Forgotten Women of Ohio

Executive Producer
Show
2017

Killing Richard GlossipStream

Director
Miniseries
2017

Killing Richard GlossipStream

Executive Producer
Miniseries
2017

Killing Richard GlossipStream

Writer
Miniseries
2017

From the Ashes

Executive Producer
Movie
2017

Intent to Destroy

Director
Movie
2017

Intent to Destroy

Producer
Movie
2017

Intent to Destroy

Screenwriter
Movie
2017

Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your GuruStream

Director
Movie
2016
45%

Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your GuruStream

Producer
Movie
2016
45%

Metallica: This Monster Lives

Director
Show
2014

Metallica: This Monster Lives

Self
Show
2014

Whitey : United States Of America Vs James J. Bulger

Director
Show
2014

Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger

Director
Movie
2014

Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger

Producer
Movie
2014

Hank: 5 Years From the Brink

Director
Movie
2013

Hank: 5 Years From the Brink

Producer
Movie
2013

Hank: 5 Years From the Brink

Screenwriter
Movie
2013

Under African Skies

Director
Movie
2012

Under African Skies

Producer
Movie
2012

Pretty Old

Executive Producer
Movie
2012

Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory

Director
Movie
2011

Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory

Producer
Movie
2011

Black Tide: Voices From the Gulf

Director
Movie
2011

Captive Beauty

Executive Producer
Movie
2011

George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight

Guest
Show
2010

Crude

Cinematography
Movie
2009

Crude

Director
Movie
2009

Crude

Producer
Movie
2009

The Music Lesson

Executive Producer
Movie
2009

Au nom de la science

Director
Show
2007

Addiction

Director
Show
2007

Iconoclasts

Co-Executive Producer
Show
2005

Metallica: Some Kind of MonsterStream

Director
Movie
2004
88%

Metallica: Some Kind of MonsterStream

Executive Producer
Movie
2004
88%

Metallica: Some Kind of MonsterStream

Producer
Movie
2004
88%

Last Call With Carson Daly

Guest
Talk
2002

Paradise Lost 2: Revelations

Director
Show
2000

Paradise Lost 2: Revelations

Producer
Show
2000

Revelations: Paradise Lost 2

Director
Movie
2000

Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2

Director
Movie
2000

Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2

Writer
Movie
2000

Where It's At: The Rolling Stone State of the Union

Director
Show
1998

Paradise Lost

Director
Show
1996

Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills

Actor
Movie
1996

Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills

Director
Movie
1996

Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills

Film Editing
Movie
1996

Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills

Producer
Movie
1996

Brother's Keeper

Director
Movie
1992

Good Morning America

Guest
News
1975

News aboutJoe Berlinger