Jana Sue Memel
Executive Director, School of Motion Pictures & Television and School of Writing for Film, Television, & Digital Media
Jana Sue Memel is an Academy Award-winning producer and writer. She has produced over 25 movies. In addition, she has produced over 65 half-hour, live action shorts that have played as television series in more than 30 countries, been nominated for 11 Oscars, and won three.
Jana began her career as an agent for emerging writers, representing Dean Pitchford (Footloose), Tom Hedley (Flashdance) and Evan Katz (24). Shifting into production Jana was the head of both Michael and Kirk Douglas's Production Companies. Her debut film as a producer was Tough Guys, starring, Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, Eli Wallach and Dana Carvey. Among her other feature credits is So I Married An Axe Murderer, starring Mike Meyers.
Jana founded Chanticleer Films which produced the Academy Award winning Discovery Program and Directed By series for Showtime. These series also won Emmys, Director and Writer Guild Awards and were nominated three years in a row for Best Series on Cable.
Discovery and Directed by Films launched the directing careers of Danny Glover, Margaret Cho, Jessie Nelson, Laura Dern, Griffin Dunne, Rob Lowe, and Helen Mirren along with over 60 other directors. These films have starred the likes of Brad Pitt, Tobey Maguire, LL Cool J, Robert Downey Junior, Kiefer Sutherland, Bill Macy and Shia LaBeouf.
Outside of these series, Eric McCormick tapped Jana to produce his first directing effort, Pirates. Tobey Maguire asked Jana to partner as a producer on Kevin Connolly's (Entourage) directing debut, Whatever We Do starring Robert Downey Jr. and Amanda Peet.
At Chanticleer, Jana produced 18 television films, including: Gold Coast (starring David Caruso and Marg Helgenberger, from the best-selling Elmore Leonard novel) for Showtime; Everything That Rises (starring Mare Winningham and Dennis Quaid, which also marked Quaid's directing debut) for Turner; The Emmy Award winning Lush Life (starring Jeff Goldblum, Forrest Whitaker and Kathy Baker), and Down Came a Blackbird (starring Vanessa Redgrave, Raoul Julia and Laura Dern) for Showtime; Tru Confessions (starring Shia LaBeouf) for the Disney Channel, and Going to the Mat (starring Andrew Lawrence) for the Disney Channel which was the recipient of the 2004 DGA Award for Best Television Family Film and nominated for the 2004 Humanitas Prize.
In addition to producing, Jana wrote and directed Champion, a feature length documentary based on the life of Evander Holyfield and his quest to unify the three major Heavyweight belts. She has also directed "wrap around" sequences for Showtime's On The Edge and the Oscar De Lay Hoya episode of Fox Sport's Beyond the Glory. For SET Pay Per View, Memel created, Ask Sylvia Browne, a record setting special interest pay-per-view event. As a public service, Memel recently produced over 20 alerts, announcements and commercials (as well as a 3D Music Video and motion control ride) for the Los Angeles Metro Transit System.
As a script consultant Jana, has worked with Patricia Resnick, (9 to 5), Gina Wendkos, (Princess Diaries), Jon Gordon (American Hustle), Chris Moore (American Pie), Clare Kilner (The Wedding Date) and a long list of other writers and directors.
As a writer, Jana has adapted Faultline for ABC Family based on the YA novel and Ruby Fruit Jungle for PRN Productions, In The Middle for director Chris Moore and Alona for producer Craig Franklin. She has done extensive rewrites on Life and Death at 17 for Hoggswood. She also has worked as an additional writer on a pilot for Fox and features at New Line, Warners, Disney, Universal, and Revolution Studios.
Jana received B.A.s from Pitzer College in Sociology and History and graduated with honors from USC Law School. She began her career as a literary agent first at the Gersh Agency and then at ICM. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Writer's Guild.