The Director’s Chair
Great careers are built on solid foundations and Marty Callner’s is no exception. Starting out in television news, Callner became the director of the Boston Celtics for WBZ-TV, and subsequently the producer of the Wimbledon tennis tournament for the then upstart cable network Home Box Office. Callner stayed with HBO and became responsible for the onscreen look of the network, as well as going on to direct a series of ground breaking sports, comedy and music specials that helped increase their subscriber base to 20 million.
Not only was Callner a driving force at the network, he was a builder of careers: His series of “Young Comedians” specials discovered a flock of fresh new talents like Jerry Seinfeld, Andy Kaufman and Robin Williams. He also directed the first television events of great comics like George Carlin, Steve Martin, Billy Crystal, and an odd young performer Marty had gone to see at the Groundlings Theatre, Pee wee Herman. It was these experiences which garnered Callner his Cable ACE Awards and a Grammy nomination, and which led him to create his own company, Cream Cheese Films. Marty then proceeded to direct more than 200 music videos. The video director soon became tops in his field, with a reputation for pushing the creative envelope in such videos as Cher’s “If I Could Turn Back Time” (a scantily-clad Cher on a battleship), Sam Kinison’s “Wild Thing” (with Jessica Hahn), Aerosmith’s “Amazing” (set entirely in cyberspace) and the ultimate teen rebellion video Twisted Sister’s anthem “We’re Not Gonna Take It”.
During this period, his work became fused with a sexuality that appealed to adolescents of all ages. He also developed an edginess to his work that recalled a time when rock ‘n roll was dangerous. Callner’s videos helped define a generation of music television watchers, by both mirroring their values and appealing to their hidden desires. He became most noted for his work with Aerosmith, which rewarded Marty with five MTV video awards, including MTV’s “Video of the Year” award in 1994 for “Cryin’,” which was subsequently voted MTV’s “Best Video of All Time.” That same year, Marty earned his second Grammy Award nomination for the HBO production “Madonna-Live Down Under, The Girlie Show.” His talents also catapulted the careers of several young actors including Alicia Silverstone, Liv Tyler, Josh Holloway and Steven Dorff.
The career of director Callner has taken many diverse paths, each marked with the utmost in quality and a cutting edge style. Adding to his long list of credits, Callner has been at the forefront of the concert and comedy industries, producing and directing Justin Timberlake in his emmy winning “JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE: FUTURESEX/LOVESHOW” and George Lopez in “GEORGE LOPEZ: AMERICA’S MEXICAN,” as well as Dane Cook in “ DANE COOK: VICIOUS CIRCLE”. He directed the Emmy nominated “ROLLING STONES -LICKS WORLD TOUR Live From Madison Square Garden” as well as two other Rolling Stones European concerts in London and Paris and those in Rio De Janeiro and Buenos Aires, home to over a million concert goers. These came right on the heels of his producing and directing five time Emmy nominated “ROBIN WILLIAMS Live On Broadway” and John Leguizamo’s “Sexaholix: A Love Story”. The year prior found Marty producing and directing “BRITNEY SPEARS Live from Las Vegas” and producing ‘MADONNA LIVE: Drowned World Tour 2001” each of which received an Emmy Award in 2002. . In 2008, Callner partnered with Chris Rock to produce and direct his all new stand up comedy special, titled “Chris Rock: Kill The Messenger”, currently nominated for three emmy’s. In 2009 Callner followed that up, producing and directing Will Ferrell’s “YOU’RE WELCOME AMERICA” Live from Broadway, also nominated for three emmy’s including one for directing. This year also marks the fith season of the original HBO series that Callner created “HARD KNOCKS” which gave people a hereto-unseen look into the fascinating inner workings of the world of football training camp
Recognition of Callner’s accomplishments has never been in short supply. He’s earned five MTV Music Awards as well as six Cable Ace Awards. His television events have garnered an astounding thirty-seven Emmy nominations including back-to-back directorial nominations for “BETTE MIDLER: Diva Las Vegas” and “GARTH BROOKS: Garth Live From Central Park”. Prior to directing the hit Broadway show “SANDRA BERNHARD, I’m Still Here …Damn It!” Callner was at the helm of the HBO presentation, “JERRY SEINFELD, ‘I’m Telling You For The Last Time’ Live On Broadway”, for which he earned a prestigious third Directors Guild Of America Award nomination.