Ryan K. Fleck
September 20, 1976 (age 39) (
New York University's Tisch School of the Arts
Director, screenwriter, cinematographer, editor
Tisch School of the Arts, New York University
Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Feature Film
Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay
Mississippi Grind, Half Nelson, It's Kind of a Funny Story, Sugar, Gowanus - Brooklyn
Anna Boden, Ben Mendelsohn, Shareeka Epps, Keir Gilchrist, Ned Vizzini
Sugar exclusive anna boden and ryan fleck interview
Ryan K. Fleck (born September 20, 1976) is an American film director, cinematographer, editor, and screenwriter best known for directing and writing the 2006 film Half Nelson and the 2008 film Sugar. He is known for his collaborations with fellow filmmaker Anna Boden.
Life and career
Fleck was born in Berkeley, California and raised in Berkeley and Oakland, California. He attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts where he studied film. At this time he met Anna Boden on the set of a student film and, after he finished his thesis short film Struggle, they began dating and decided to collaborate. Together they made the short documentaries Have You Seen This Man? and Young Rebels before they wrote and he directed the short film Gowanus, Brooklyn, a sample feature aiming to attract potential financiers to their undeveloped script, Half Nelson. The short won a prize at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival and Fleck and Boden were subsequently invited to the Sundance Writer's Lab to receive professional feedback on the Half Nelson screenplay. The film did not receive adequate financing for years, and while trying to initiate the project, Fleck explains: "We were trying to get it off the ground so we had plenty of time to keep writing and rewriting. I think the time was valuable because I think we made it as good as we could." In spite of the effort in making the script "as good as we could" prior to filming, Fleck encouraged Half Nelson's actors to ad lib and improvise, although he and lead actor Ryan Gosling compromised many scenes in the rehearsal process as Fleck thought that Gosling's ideas were too different from the script in some cases. He also had several disagreements with Boden while writing; though he claims their "back and forth" system of rewriting each other's work has always worked well. Half Nelson was well received by critics and got nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for Ryan Gosling. Many other nominations went to Ryan Gosling for his role as Dan Dunne.
Fleck and Boden have since co-written and co-directed the 2008 film Sugar, which premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, about a 19-year-old Dominican who immigrates to the United States to play minor league baseball. The two wrote the screenplay after researching about many Dominican immigrants who arrive in America to play in minor league towns, saying: "The stories we heard were so fascinating that it became what we were writing before we'd even decided it was our next project". They also collaborated on a screen adaptation of Ned Vizzini's young adult novel It's Kind of a Funny Story, which was released on October 8, 2010.