Morris, Errol: Profile

“Standard Operating Procedure” is Errol Morriss eighth feature-length documentary film. His preceding film, “The Fog of War,” a profile of former Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, received the 2003 Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.

His films have won many awards, including the Oscar, the Edgar from the Mystery Writers of America, the Golden Horse (Taiwan International Film Festival), the Grand Jury Prize (Sundance Film Festival) and have appeared on many ten best lists. They have been honored by the National Society of Film Critics, the National Board of Review, the New York, Chicago, Boston and Los Angeles film critics.

In 1988, the Washington Post surveyed 100 film critics around the country and picked The Thin Blue Line as the best film of the year. In 2000 and 2001, Morris directed two seasons of a television series, First Person, for Bravo and the Independent Film Channel. The series uses his unique interviewing machine, the Interrotron. A system of modified Teleprompters, the Interrotron allows interviewees to address Morriss image on the monitor while looking directly into the lens of camera, which lets Morris and the audience achieve eye contact with his subjects. “Its the difference between a faux first person and the true first person,” says Morris. “The Interrotron inaugurates the birth of first-person cinema.” The Interrotron was used for the interview with Robert S. McNamara in The Fog of War and for all the interviews in Standard Operating Procedure.

Morris has made numerous television commercials, including campaigns for Apple, Citibank, Cisco Systems, Intel, American Express, Nike, and, in what he considers his most impressive achievement, over 100 commercials for Miller Hi-Life. In 2001, he won an Emmy for directing the commercial “Photobooth” for PBS.

Morris has received five fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a MacArthur Fellowship. In 2007 he was inducted into the American Academyof Arts and Sciences. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was a graduate student at Princeton University and the University of California-Berkeley.

In 1999, Morris' work received a full retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New
York. In 2001, he received a special tribute at the Sundance Film Festival.

In addition to his current feature documentary, Errol Morris has co-authored, with Philip Gourevitch, a book on Abu Ghraib, also titled Standard Operating Procedure. The book, which is based on Morriss interviews and extensive investigation for the film elaborates on the material in the film, and marks a unique collaboration in the history of film and literature. It is no more the book of the movie than the film is the movie of the book. The two works are each unique narratives, by two masters of nonfiction in response to one of the defining events of our time. Gourevitch is the Editor of the Paris Review, a long time staff writer at The New Yorker, and the prize-winning author of We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With our Families: Stories from Rwanda and A Cold Case. Penguin Press will publish the book in 2008 to concur with the release of the film.

Recently, Morris has also been a regular contributor to the opinion pages of The New York Times with his blog, Zoom, a series of essays on truth and photography. A book of essays based on Zoom (Which Came First, The Chicken or the Egg) will also be published by Penguin in 2008.

Morris lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with his wife, Julia Sheehan, an art historian, and their son, Hamilton.

Errol Morris Filmography

Feature Films:

Standard Operating Procedure (2008)
The Fog of War (2003)
Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. (1999)
Fast, Cheap & Out of Control (1997)
A Brief History of Time (1991)
A Thin Blue Line (1988)
Vernon, Florida (1981)
Gates of Heaven (1978)


First Person (2000-2002)