American Masters (2010 Season) – When You’re Strange: A Film About The Doors

Production Biographies

Air date: 05/12/2010

American Masters When You’re Strange, a film about The Doors


Production Biographies


Tom DiCillo

Director and Writer


Tom DiCillo received his MA in Directing from NYU’s Graduate Film School in 1979.  In 1984 DiCillo shot (and acted in) Stranger Than Paradise for classmate Jim Jarmusch.


In 1987 DiCillo wrote and performed a show in NYC called Johnny Suede.  This lead to his first feature, starring Brad Pitt and Catherine Keener.  Johnny Suede won Best Picture at the 1991 Locarno Film Festival and was distributed domestically by Miramax.


DiCillo’s Living In Oblivion starred Steve Buscemi, Catherine Keener and Dermot Mulroney and won Best Screenplay at the 1995 Sundance Film Festival.  Other awards include Best Picture at the Deauville Film Festival.


In 1996 DiCillo wrote and directed Box of Moonlight, starring John Turturro, Sam Rockwell and Catherine Keener.  The film premiered at Sundance and was in the Main Competition at the Venice Film Festival.


DiCillo made The Real Blonde in 1998, starring Matthew Modine, Catherine Keener, Darryl Hannah and Christopher Lloyd.  The film opened the Deauville Film Festival and was released in the US by Paramount.  In 2000 DiCillo wrote and directed Double Whammy, starring Denis Leary, Elizabeth Hurley, Steve Buscemi and Chris Noth.


DiCillo’s Delirious, released in 2007, starred Steve Buscemi, Michael Pitt, Alison Lohman, Gina Gershon and Elvis Costello.  Delirious won Best Director and Best Screenplay at the 2006 San Sebastian Film Festival as well as Special Jury Prize at the Istanbul Film Festival and Best Director at the HBO Comedy Arts Festival.


When You’re Strange is DiCillo’s first full-length documentary.


Peter Jankowski



Peter Jankowski is president and Chief Operating Officer of Wolf Films Inc., headquartered in Universal City, California.  He serves as Executive Producer on the television series Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.  His responsibilities include both the creative and administrative operation of the company.


In 2003, he produced the World Trade Center tribute Twin Towers which won the Academy Award for best documentary short.  He also produced When You’re Strange, a documentary about Jim Morrison and The Doors, which premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and made its international debut a month later at the 2009 Berlinale Festival in Berlin, Germany.


Before joining Wolf Films in 1997, Peter served as Senior Vice President of Universal Television where he was responsible for all series produced under that banner which included Northern Exposure, Quantum Leap and Coach.  He produced 12 films with the Hispanic Film Project (President 1990-1993) and currently serves on the board of the Hollywood Radio & Television Society.


Peter was raised in Weston, Connecticut.  He attended The College of the Holy Cross, receiving his bachelor of arts in 1986.  He and his wife, Linda Caruso (‘86), live in Los Angeles, where they are raising their two sons, Sam and Luke.


Dick Wolf



Two-time Emmy Award-winning producer Dick Wolf is the architect of one of the most successful brands in the history of television – Law & Order.  Wolf serves as creator and executive producer of the three Law & Order drama series from Wolf Films and Universal Media Studios – Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.


Wolf’s company also produced Twin Towers, the 2003 Academy Award winning Short Documentary about two brothers, one a policeman and the other a fireman, who lost their lives in the line of duty on September 11th.  Wolf also produced When You’re Strange, a critically-acclaimed documentary about The Doors which has been accepted into the prestigious Berlin Film Festival.


In 2007, Wolf executive produced the HBO original movie Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, which won six Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Made for Television Movie.  The film tells the tragic and powerful story of the subjugation and cultural extermination of the Native American, and garnered a record 17 Emmy nominations, the most of the 2006-2007 television season.  The film also received the prestigious Broadcast Film Critics Association’s Critic’s Choice Award for Best Picture Made for Television.


Wolf’s Law & Order series continues to rewrite the annals of television history.  With over 400 episodes produced, Law & Order – now in its 20th season on NBC – has tied Gunsmoke as the longest-running scripted series in the history of television.  It has earned eleven consecutive Outstanding Drama Series Emmy nominations – the record for most consecutive series Emmy nominations in the history of television (tied with Cheers and M*A*S*H) – and won the coveted Emmy in that category in 1997.  Law & Order’s other accolades include: the highly-coveted Peabody Award; multiple Emmys; the Crystal Apple Award from the New York City’s Mayor’s office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting; the Writer’s Guild Award for Television and numerous other high ranking tributes.


Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, in its 11th year on NBC, has been one of the network’s top performers, and star Mariska Hargitay (who plays Detective Olivia Benson) has received three Emmy nominations for Lead Actress in a Drama Series, winning in 2006.  Co-Star Christopher Meloni (who plays Detective Eliott Stabler) has also earned an Emmy nomination in the Lead Actor in a Drama Series category.  In addition, Leslie Caron, Cynthia Nixon and Amanda Plummer have earned Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series Emmys for their work on the show.


Law & Order: Criminal Intent, is consistently one of the top scripted series on cable television, and is entering its ninth season.  New cast members Saffron Burrows and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio join star Jeff Goldblum on the USA Network series.

Wolf has been a creative force in television for more than 25 years, with an illustrious career as a top advertising executive and continuing as one of television’s most prolific producer/writers with such series as  Conviction, L.A. Dragnet, Hill Street Blues, Miami Vice, New York Undercover, Arrest & Trial, South Beach, Feds and Players.  Among his feature film credits are the screenplay for the hit Paramount release School Ties, writer and executive producer of Masquerade and writer and producer of No Man’s Land.

His personal honors include such awards as: the Award of Excellence from the Banff Television Festival; the 2002 Creative Achievement Award from NATPE and the 2007 Brandon Tartikoff Award; the Producer’s Guild of America’s Norman Lear Showmanship Award, the Anti-Defamation League’s Distinguished Entertainment Industry Award; the DGA Honors; the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Lifetime Achievement Award; the Governor’s Award by the New York Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences; the 1997 achievement award from the Caucus for Producers, Writers, and Directors, the 1998 Television Showman of the Year Award from the Publicist’s Guild of America and the 2002 Tribute from the Museum of Television and Radio.  On March 29, 2007, Wolf received a star on Hollywood’s world-famous Walk of Fame.


Wolf is also an Honorary Consul of Monaco and is its primary liaison with the entertainment community.  He is actively involved in the principality’s prestigious annual television Festival.


Susan Lacy

Series Creator/Executive Producer, American Masters


Susan Lacy has been an award-winning originator of primetime public television programs since 1979.  As the creator and executive producer of American Masters, she has been responsible for the production and national broadcast of more than 160 documentary films about our country’s artistic and cultural giants, those who have made an indelible impact on the American landscape.  Now celebrating its 24th season on PBS, American Masters has garnered unprecedented awards and is consistently recognized by television critics as “the best biographical series ever to appear on American television.”

In addition to her executive producing role, Lacy is an award-winning filmmaker.  Her 2004 Judy Garland: By Myself earned her an Emmy award for writing and an Emmy nomination for directing.  She wrote, directed and produced Joni Mitchell: Woman of Heart and Mind (IDA nomination for Outstanding Documentary) and Leonard Bernstein: Reaching for the Note (Emmy award and DGA nomination).  She produced the Peabody award-winning Paul Simon: Born at the Right Time, directed and produced Rod Serling: Submitted for Your Approval, and directed and produced Lena Horne: In Her Own Voice – all for American Masters.


Under her leadership, American Masters received the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2009 as well as 12 other Primetime Emmy awards – four for Outstanding Nonfiction Specials and the other eight in various craft categories.  In addition to nine Peabody awards for John Hammond: From Bessie Smith to Bruce Springsteen, Unknown Chaplin, Buster Keaton: A Hard Act to Follow, Paul Simon: Born at the Right Time, Alexander Calder, F.

Scott Fitzgerald: Winter Dreams, No Direction Home: Bob Dylan, Andy

Warhol: A Documentary Film, and Jerome Robbins: Something to Dance About,  she received Grammy awards for Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart and No Direction Home: Bob Dylan, 25 additional Emmy nominations, an Academy Award and three nominations.

Lacy’s career in public television began in 1979, as deputy director of performance programs at Thirteen/WNET New York.  She was senior program executive for Great Performances and worked as director of program development with The American Playhouse, where she was a founding member.  Lacy then ran the East Coast office of Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute from 1984 to 1987.  She was a consulting producer at Time-Life Video during the launch of Time-Warner’s new initiatives in long-form documentary production.  Lacy also led programs at both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Lacy was one of the select 2005 honorees at the Museum of Television & Radio’s “She Made It” event, which recognized 50 exceptional women who have created and informed the genre, and a 2008 Washington, DC Women of Vision Awards recipient, honoring those in film and video who inspire and mentor. She serves on the board of governors of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, on the board of the Film Forum and is a trustee of the Independent Documentary Association.  Lacy is a member of the Directors Guild of America, the Writers Guild of America, the Independent Features Project and New York Women in Film & Television.


Lacy has a BA in American Studies from the University of Virginia, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and an MA in American Studies from George Washington University.  She was a Graduate Teaching Fellow, a Smithsonian Fellow and completed a residency at the American Academy in Rome.  In 1994, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from Long Island University and in 1996, she was named Distinguished Alumnus of the Year at Mary Washington College, the women’s college of the University of Virginia.