Steven Ascher is an Academy-Award nominated director, writer, educator and media consultant. The Boston Globe calls his work "filmmaking at its finest."
Troublesome Creek: a Midwestern (co-directed with Jeanne Jordan) won the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at Sundance, was nominated for an Oscar and received many other awards. It was released theatrically and broadcast on PBS The American Experience, the BBC premier documentary strand Storyville, ZDF Germany and many others.
Ascher and Jordan's feature documentary, So Much So Fast premiered at Sundance, was released theatrically to critical acclaim, and has been broadcast on PBS FRONTLINE, BBC Storyville, ZDF Germany, and many other networks around the world.
Raising Renee, part III in the Families in Trouble trilogy, premiered at Full Frame, won the Audience Award at Independent Film Festival Boston and Best Documentary at the Syracuse Film Festival. It was broadcast on HBO, Knowledge Canada, SVT Sweden and AVRO Netherlands. The film was nominated for a 2013 Emmy (Outstanding Arts and Culture Programming).
Among his awards are the Prix Italia, an Emmy, a Peabody award and an International Documentary Association Distinguished Achievement Award. He was nominated for a Directors Guild of America Award and an Independent Spirit Award. He received the Michael DeBakey Journalism Award and an Insight Award from the National Association of Film and Digital Media Artists.
He is author of The Filmmaker's Handbook: a Comprehensive Guide for the Digital Age (with Ed Pincus) a bestselling text and a staple of universities and film schools internationally.The Independent calls it "the bible." The Boston Globe calls it the "gold-standard technical reference." The New York Times calls it "seminal." Ascher has written greatly expanded new editions; the fourth was released in 2013. Over 300,000 copies in print.
Ascher produced, wrote and directed the drama, Del & Alex, starring Thomas Derrah and Polly Corman (broadcast on A&E and many European networks). He and Ed Pincus directed the feature documentary, Life and Other Anxieties; a newly restored version screened at Lincoln Center in 2012. He has produced and directed several pieces for PBS Newshour, films for the PBS series Art Close Up, which won and were nominated for Emmys, and an episode of the Emmy-nominated Postcards From Buster.
He has directed TV spots and image, training and marketing pieces for major corporations, government agencies and nonprofits including Disney, Sheraton, Cisco Systems, Health Dialog, McGraw Hill, Biogen, FM Global, Deloitte & Touche, the Texas Rangers, and the IRS, and has served as a consultant for Web and video strategy for such clients as Harvard Business School Publishing. He has received numerous awards for his corporate work, including Telly Awards, the Brandon Hall Gold Medal, Gold and Silver Remis from Worldfest Houston, Gold Hermes Creative, Platinum Empixx, and Gold Health Sciences Communications Association Award.
He has produced and directed installations for museums and institutions around the world including the Australian National Maritime Museum, Science City, the House of Seven Gables, and traveling exhibits for the U.S. Information Agency. Awards include the Interactive Video Award of Excellence.
He graduated from Harvard University summa cum laude. He has taught filmmaking at Harvard and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has lectured and held master classes in many countries, including Tokyo University, VGIK national film school in Moscow, the CPB/PBS Producers Academy, the Full Frame Fellows Program, the Nieman Foundation for Journalism, the Aristoteles Workshop in Romania sponsored by the European network Arte, and at the University Film Study Center.
He has served as a juror at the Sundance Film Festival, the Emmys, the Full Frame Film Festival, the Independent Film Festival Boston, the National Student Film Festival, Woods Hole Film Festival and the McKnight Fellowship. He has been a guest critic for several film programs including Yale University, Duke University and Rhode Island School of Design.
Ascher has advised and contributed to a great many film productions. He and Jordan are currently Executive Producers of the ITVS-supported film, Deej.
He has received grants from the Artists Foundation, the LEF Foundation, the Paul Robeson Foundation, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and many state humanities and arts councils. His films have screened at numerous festivals internationally, including the Sydney Film Festival (Audience Award Winner), San Francisco Film Festival (Audience Award Winner) and they are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Library of Congress, Harvard Film Archive, UCLA and the Sundance Collection.
Ascher's writing on film has appeared in publications such as Documentary Magazine, the U.S. Department of State's eJournalUSA, and the book, The Film Industry: Opposing Viewpoints. He contributed to Honest Truths: Documentary Filmmakers on Ethical Challenges in Their Work.
Writing on Ascher's work has appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Boston Globe, Variety, Ecran Total and books including Documentary Storytelling by Sheila Curren Bernard.