Michael Kortlander




Michael was raised all over Ohio, spending much of his time on farms. One side of Michael’s family sells car batteries, the other are abstract painters. His grandfather started his battery business in 1957, and it’s still operating out of the same small shop today. “He talks a lot about integrity, and integrity means everything to me as a person and as a filmmaker.”

As a visualist and a storyteller, Michael’s work distills authentic, human narratives from a diverse range of content. It is rooted in realism and visual explorations of everyday life. The spirit of collaboration is what drew him to filmmaking and it is central to his approach.

Michael graduated from Ohio University and has won national attention, including the Grand Jury Prize at the Ivy Film Festival and Best Student Film at Las Vegas International. In a review of his short comedy “Game Night”, the late Roger Ebert called Michael’s film ‘Altmanesque’. Michael recently finished a spot for Ronald McDonald House out of McGarry Bowen in Chicago and is currently working on a documentary about nomadic Tibetan tribes.

What has your worst school or work experience been?

During school, I worked at a production company where the owner threw fits for not having his carrots cut properly by an intern.

What are your favorite movies?

Stand By Me, Fargo, The Apartment

Video games?

Rollercoaster Tycoon.

Who do you most idolize?

Kurt Vonnegut.

High and Low moment?

The low point came one night on the floor when I was sixteen next to my dying basset hound in Columbia, Missouri. The high point is the moon – I will be saving up my director’s fees to take the first available flight on Virgin Galactic.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done, or most defiant?  

I cheat on my veganism.




@ebertchicago (Robert Ebert, Twitter)

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