Jonathan Kesselman is an award winning filmmaker and writer. He launched his career writing and directing ‘The Hebrew Hammer’ in 2003 to international acclaim with its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. It later played a number of international festivals before being picked up for theatrical distribution (Hanukkah 2003) by Strand Releasing in conjunction with Comedy Central and Paramount Home Video. Voted among the top holiday movies by Vanity Fair, Boston Globe and Time Magazine, the ‘Hebrew Hammer’ was aired on Comedy Central for five years after the television rights were sold to the major cable network. Moment Magazine included ‘Hebrew Hammer’ among its’ Top 100 Most Influential Films in the History of Jewish Cinema. Among others in the list were ‘The Graduate’, ‘Schindler’s List’ and ‘Annie Hall’.
Most recently, Jonathan is in post-production on the feature film 'Jimmy Vestvood: Amerikan Hero' starring Maz Jobrani and John Heard, is in pre-production on the feature film 'The Hebrew Hammer VS Hitler,' and is writing the sketch radio series and live show companion, ‘True Stories!” which he is co-creating with Kevin McDonald for Levity Entertainment.
Jonathan has been a screenwriter for: Fox, Paramount, Nickelodeon, Sony, Blue Sky Animation, MTV, Comedy Central studios, and WWE (yes, it’s fake). Jonathan also works as a commercial director with such clients as Nintendo, Red Mango, DDB RX, American Media Inc., and the 2012 Mr. Olympia. Ironically, Jonathan taught ‘Writing Comedy for Film and Television’ at Yale University while concurrently acting as the humor columnist for the alternative goth-porn site Suicide Girls.
His short film work includes 'Arts & Crafts', starring Josh Cooke and Rob Benedict which was an “exclusive” on Will Ferrell's ‘Funny Or Die’ website. Funny Or Die then commissioned two other “exclusives”, which Jon wrote and directed, entitled “Roasted: America Under the Influence” and “Sexy Daddy”. Starring Dave Foley and written by Dave and Kevin McDonald.
Born and raised in the mean streets of the San Fernando Valley, Kesselman received his Bachelors degree from the University of Colorado, graduating Magna Cum Laude in Psychology with an emphasis in Neuroscience. After college, Jon spent two years in the corporate world as an Information Systems Consultant before being accepted into graduate school at the University Of Southern California School of Cinema/Television, where he received his Masters Degree in Film Production in December of 2001.
Products by Jonathan Kesselman
How to Structure a Feature Comedy Film That Sells
by Jonathan Kesselman