Joe Pichirallo, film producer and veteran studio executive, has been appointed as the chair of the Undergraduate Film & Television program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts (TSOA) Kanbar Institute of Film and Television. He will be replacing Lamar Sanders this fall. TSOA Dean Mary Schmidt Campbell says Pichirallo’s “extensive entertainment industry experience coupled with his many years of teaching young filmmakers is the perfect combination to lead the department into the future.” Details on Pichirallo’s varied career — from HBO and Fox Searchlight to UCLA and The Washington Post — are below.
Pichirallo is a veteran studio executive, film producer, and a former reporter for The Washington Post. He began his film career with HBO Pictures and was one of the original executives hired by Fox to set up Searchlight Pictures, where he worked for nearly eight years rising to senior vice president. Later, he was an executive vice president at Universal’s Focus Features.
Most recently, Pichirallo worked as a producer, including serving as the head of feature film production for The Gold Company, a management/production firm led by Eric Gold. He also was head of the feature film unit at Overbrook Entertainment, Will Smith’s company, where he produced The Secret Life of Bees with Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys, Dakota Fanning, and Jennifer Hudson, and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood; as well as executive produced Lakeview Terrace, directed by Neil LaBute and starring Samuel L. Jackson, Kerry Washington, and Patrick Wilson. While at Focus Features, he executive produced Hollywoodland, starring Adrien Brody, Ben Affleck, and Diane Lane, and directed by Allen Coulter; and Something New, with Sanaa Lathan, Simon Baker, and Alfre Woodard.
At Searchlight, Pichirallo’s films included: Antwone Fisher, which was the directorial debut of Denzel Washington; One Hour Photo, starring Robin Williams, and directed by Mark Romanek; The Banger Sisters, with Goldie Hawn and Susan Sarandon; Quills, which was nominated for three Academy Awards and starred Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet, and Michael Caine, and directed by Philip Kaufman; The Slums of Beverly Hills, with Alan Arkin and Marisa Tomei, and directed by Tamara Jenkins; Girl Six, directed by Spike Lee; and The Brothers McMullen, a grand jury prize winner at the Sundance Film Festival.
He has taught at the American Film Institute for the last 14 years and also at Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts and UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television. Prior to his career in the entertainment business, he was on the staff of The Washington Post, where he covered national security, the criminal justice system, and politics. He made the transition into the film business by spending a year as a screenwriting fellow in the AFI’s graduate film program. He has an A.B. in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where he was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, The Daily Californian.