A director of film and theater, Sean’s first feature Tumbledown, starring Rebecca Hall, Jason Sudeikis, Blythe Danner, Griffin Dunne and Joe Manganiello, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, won the Best Feature and Best Director awards at the Savannah Film Festival, as well as Best Screenplay at Napa Valley Film Festival, and was released in theaters across the US and internationally before its streaming distribution by Starz.
Via his own production shingle in LA, Sean directed, shot, and edited commercials, shorts, music videos, and behind-the-scenes features for clients as varied as Think Film, IBM, the United Nations, and Indian Motorcycles, while creating comedic short films for various troupes at the Upright Citizens Brigade. He has also worked on films such as Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York, Something’s Gotta Give, Hart’s War, and Remember the Titans.
Now based in Portland, Maine, Sean grew up as the son of a novelist in Rome, Italy, and Charlottesville, Virginia. An English Lit & Theater major at Princeton University, Sean acted in, directed, and set-designed dozens of plays, then trained in classical performance at the New York Shakespeare Festival Lab.
He spent a decade in Los Angeles working in feature film production, where he was lucky to learn the craft from some of his filmmaking heroes. On Remember the Titans Sean produced and shot 16mm footage for DP Philippe Rousselot which became a documentary-style montage at the heart of the movie. As an Assistant Director on Gangs of New York (shot in Rome), Sean translated direction to the Italian cast for Scorsese himself. Sean met DP Michael Ballhaus on Gangs, then worked as his apprentice on Something’s Gotta Give, documenting his techniques for a cinematography textbook. On that well-lit set, Sean met Frances McDormand and shared with her James Salter’s short story “Last Night.”
Sean directed McDormand in the short film version, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival, then screened at the Hamptons, London, and Boston Film Festivals. Last Night was reviewed in Britain as “a standout – measured, beautifully shot, [with] a P.T.Anderson-esque quality to it.”
On stage in LA, Sean assistant-directed the Mark Taper Forum premiere of “iWitness,” a play for which he also edited video sequences that won the LA Drama Critics award for Projection Design.
Sean lives with his wife Desi and their two children in Portland, where Sean is developing feature and serialized narrative projects, continues to produce and direct video content for advertisers, and creates critically-acclaimed site-specific theater productions such as Sam Shepard’s “True West,” Nick Payne’s “Constellations,” Rajiv Joseph’s “Gruesome Playground Injuries,” Tracy Letts’ “Killer Joe,” and Stephen Karam’s “Speech&Debate.”
Sample the critical reception for Tumbledown:
“If you’re looking for romance at the movies, try Tumbledown. […] First-time director Sean Mewshaw and screenwriter Desi Van Til — they’re married — have decided, intriguingly, to craft a movie about loss and letting go. And they’ve done so with uncommon humor and heart.” – Rolling Stone
“[Tumbledown is] a feature that’s comedic and romantic but adds up to something more than a straight-up rom-com.” – Elle
“From this quiet premise spins out a tale of passion, wry humor, love, loss, and intelligence, more moving and memorable than movies are these days. […] The dialogue sparks and shines; the laughs come when you need them; the surprises are small and comforting; and the aim is true.” – Huffington Post