P. DAVID EBERSOLE
Writer/ Producer/ Director
P. DAVID EBERSOLE
Writer/ Producer/ Director
P David Ebersole is that rarest of animal — a native Angeleno. Born on March 16 1964 at the UCLA hospital, he went on to attend LeConte Junior High on Fountain Avenue, where his pre-teen singing and acting career culminated when he was cast as the lead in JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL (1977) in which his co-stars included the not-yet-famous Paula Abdul. Graduating Hollywood High School with honors, he alternated between the #1 position on the tennis team and Play Production, where, as a sophomore, he starred as Little Patrick in the musical MAME, and he eventually directed the senior play, SHADOW BOX — all of which no doubt contributed to his winning 1981’s Homecoming Prince and Prom King. With then-seedy Hollywood Boulevard as his stomping ground in the 1970s and 80s, he quite literally grew up under the Hollywood sign. The showbiz bug had without a doubt bitten young David, but to dream of a career in it seemed impossible.
David is the son of a psychologist and his stepfather was the editor of the Metro section of the Los Angeles Times who covered such cultural phenomenons as the Night Stalker, the Hillside Strangler and the McMartin Trials. It was a household that encouraged making connections between the personal and the newsworthy, so it came as no shock to his family that David parlayed his first two years of college studying the classics as an English major at UCLA into a Bachelor of Arts degree at NYU’s prestigious film school. His thesis film LOVER MAN (1986) did surprise though, as it swept their awards, taking Best Undergraduate Film, Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Actress, thus officially beginning what would become his trajectory towards becoming a working filmmaker.
New York’s East Village was a hotbed of creativity in the late 80s, and witnessing all around him the birth and boom of indie film — from Spike Lee to Jim Jarmusch and the Coen Brothers as well as the burgeoning New Queer Cinema — certainly shaped his ambitions, but, though David worked as an editor and wrote his first feature screenplay, he remained an industry outsider. By the time 1990 rolled around, he felt he was losing sight of his ultimate dream to make movies. His writing earned him a spot at the MacDowell Colony for emerging artists and while living there in the same cottages that inspired the likes of everyone from Thornton Wilder to Meredith Monk, he continued to apply for grants and other support, which ultimately scored him a chance to return to Los Angeles. Accepted as an MFA candidate at the American Film Institute’s conservatory, David recognized the “return to film school” as an opportunity to regain momentum as a director. Close to a decade after his NYU success, he was able to again achieve AFI’s Best Film/Best Director for his award-winning film DEATH IN VENICE, CA (1995), starring Academy Award nominee Shirley Knight in a supporting role; he was singled out by Filmmaker Magazine as one of the New Faces of Indie Film, and again, he found himself taking advantage of industry opportunities appearing on that ever elusive horizon.
It was during this time that David met underground filmmaker Todd Hughes, who would become his husband and creative partner for life. The two of them worked hard as writers and filmmakers, scoring early film festival hits with their first features and forging strong relationships with other up-and-coming talent. On the heels of his neo-noir boxing film STRAIGHT RIGHT (2000) which premiered on the Sundance Channel as an original movie, David co-wrote and co-produced Todd’s science fiction cult comedy THE NEW WOMEN (2001) and he co-produced his first Sundance Film Festival feature, which was seminal African American lesbian filmmaker Cheryl Dunye’s STRANGER INSIDE (2001), produced by Jim McKay, Micheal Stipe and Effie T Brown for HBO Films.
In the decades that have followed that turn of the century which likewise marked the turn of his career, David has directed over a hundred episodes of television, and he and Todd have become best known for their six award-winning feature documentary films. Their film work has been shown at every major film festival from Sundance to Cannes, and the duo has worked with such luminaries as Cher and Pierre Cardin. Under The Ebersole Hughes Company banner, they simultaneously produce features, music videos and shorts for colleagues, which aligns with their ethic not just to work, but to create and engender community.
What began as a young man’s dream to make movies morphed into a desire to lead a full creative life, with side projects often taking center stage. Returning to his roots as an English major, David’s first novel 99 MILES FROM L.A is a hard-boiled crime thriller that debuted as the #1 paperback at Book Soup in Los Angeles and reached the Top Ten of 2022’s Small Press Distribution Bestseller list. In the same year, Todd and David released their first album, TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY BOYS by The Ebersole Hughes Company Singers, and their first single, “Credit in the Straight World” debuted on KCRW.
Utilizing their business acumen and their sense of design, David and Todd have transformed three houses that have been published on the cover of the LA Times Home section, inside the pages of Dwell Magazine, and in multiple features in the magazine Palm Springs Life; and their current sense of adventure and real estate fever has found them deep in the Yucatán, living in and updating a Colonial moorish mansion in Mérida, Mexico, while they each write their second books and consider upcoming film projects.