Writer/ Producer/ Director
Writer/ Producer/ Director
Writer/Director/Producer Todd Hughes is best known as an American independent filmmaker, working in both narrative and documentary. Born in Salt Lake City and raised in Southern California, Todd is a graduate of Columbia University in New York. Obsessed with Hollywood from a young age, after being rejected from three film schools Todd officially moved to Los Angeles in 1986, armed with a Super 8 movie camera and naive ambition to make films.
His earliest films DRACULA GOES TO THE ORTHADONTIST (1974) and THE DAY TOILET PAPER RULED THE WORLD (1973) paved the way for his Feminette Productions where he made the short films INCENSE AND PEPPERMINTS (1981), FEMINETTE (1982), HIT WOMEN OF THE SWEDISH MAFIA (1983), MOTES AND BONERS OF 1985 (1984), THE BIG PILE (1985), DEEP SIX (1986) and THE HORROR AND MYSTERY OF THE SUCCUBUS (1986). The films showcased Columbia and Barnard students including writer/performer Nora Burns, production designer Kristen Vallow, Pulitzer Prize winner Hilton Als, Getty Research Institute director Andrew Perchuk, gallerists Shaun Caley Regan and Thomas Yanni, Family Guy producer Kara Vallow and Todd’s early muse, the late Barbie Levy. With Feminette Productions, Todd began a long running collaboration with composer/musician Cary Berger who would do the music for most of his films including DEAR MOM, LOVE CHER (2013).
In Hollywood, Feminette Productions continued with WANTON SINNER (1988), KAKA FERSKUR (FRESH ROLLS) OR THE NEW ADVENTURES OF PIPPI LONGSTOCKING (1988), L.A. ON $5 A DAY (1989), REFLECTION OF EVIL (1989) and THE CHICK’S A DICK (1991). Lisa Kudrow, Jenny Shimizu and Mary Scheer made their screen debuts. Other Feminette stars were stalwarts Walter Barnett, Tina Lyons and Kai Mortensen, actors from Justin Tanner’s Cast Theater, fellow students studying at The Groundlings and fellow waiters at Border Grill on Melrose Avenue.
Todd wrote the script for THE ESPERANTO FAMILY (1990), an animated series for MTV Europe by animator Joe Horne featuring the voices of Russell Johnson (the professor from Gilligan’s Island) and Johnny Lydon of the Sex Pisols. In 1995, Todd had his first festival hits DING DONG and BUTTHOLE BONANZA.
Partnering with future husband P David Ebersole, the duo penned many spec scripts while being represented by The Gersh Agency and Handprint Entertainment. John Waters called their script “The Devil Made Her Do It” one of the best he’d read.
THE NEW WOMEN (2001) was Todd’s first independent feature film as director. Written with Ebersole, the film starred Mary Woronov, Jamie Tolbert, Sandra Kinder, Jane Ray, Roma Maffia, Amy Hill, Tracy Reiner, Jenny Shimizu, Cheryl Dunye, Mary Scheer and Teresa Hill. It was released theatrically in Canada by Vagrant Films and on home video by Ariztical Entertainment. Filmmaker Magazine picked Todd as one of the 25 New Faces of Independent Film featuring his picture on the cover.
Ebersole Hughes wrote the screenplay for the Showtime film VIOLATION (2003) starring Malik Yoba and Cynda Williams and directed by Darrin Henson and well as the art film SOY MI MADRE (2008) for acclaimed artist Phil Collins and starring Patricia Reyes Spindola and Tenoch Huerta. Todd was a staff writer on the primetime serial drama WICKED, WICKED GAMES (2006/7) starring Tatum O’Neal and directed by P. David Ebersole. The team wrote NIGEL BARKER’S BEAUTY EQUATION which was published by Abrams in 2010. As The Ebersole Hughes Company, Todd made three more shorts: HUBBY/WIFEY (2005) starring Dominique Dibbell of the 5 Lesbian Brothers, WOUNDED CHILDREN (2006) which was part of the feature omnibus HOT CHICKS that premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival, and SWIMMING (2010), a musical starring Gretchen Phillips and Phranc.
Serving in the executive position of creative director, Todd spent over a decade designing websites and online endeavors at The American Film Institute (AFI) including the extensive AFI Catalog of American Feature Films as a searchable database. His work was noted by film critics Roger Ebert and Leonard Maltin.
Ebersole Hughes began their run as documentarians with HIT SO HARD: THE LIFE AND NEAR DEATH STORY OF PATTY SCHEMEL (2011) premiered at SXSW and was released theatrically by Well Go USA. The film nominated as Outstanding Documentary by the GLAAD Media Awards and for Best Music Film by the NME Awards.
Ebersole Hughes were the executive producers of the acclaimed ROOM 237 (2012) by Rodney Ascher and Tim Kirk which premiered at Sundance and Cannes Film Festivals. It was released theatrically by IFC Midnight and won the IDA Award for best editing.
DEAR MOM, LOVE CHER (2013) premiered on Lifetime as their Mother’s Day special with two million viewers. It won a Women’s Image Network Award where it was nominated for Outstanding Documentary. It also appeared on the Time-Life release THE BEST OF CHER.
MANSFIELD 66/67 (2017) was completed at Leeds Beckett University in Yorkshire as part of an artists’ residency. Co-produced by long time colleague Larra Anderson, the film’s stellar cast included pop icons Kenneth Anger, John Waters, Tippi Hedren, Mamie Van Doren, Marilyn, Peaches Christ, AJ Benza, Susan Bernard, Dolly Read, Yolonda Ross and Mary Woronov. It marked the beginning of a relationship with composer James Peter Moffatt and producer Alison Martino with whom Ebersole Hughes would launch Vintage Los Angeles TV.
When Ebersole Hughes met their design icon Pierre Cardin in Paris, it was kismet. HOUSE OF CARDIN (2019) marked the first time the legendary designer and futurist allowed a film to be done about him. Teaming with producer Cori Coppola, the production followed Cardin for a year. Interviews were shot in France, Italy, China, Japan and the US featuring Jean-Paul Gaultier, Phillipe Starck, Naomi Campbell, Sharon Stone, Dionne Warwick, Alice Cooper and many luminaries who were part of the Cardin story. It premiered at the Venice Film Festival with M. Cardin in attendance. Sweeping the CinéFashion Film Awards, it took home the trophies for best directors, best cinematography and best documentary. Released theatrically worldwide. Pierre Cardin passed in December of 2020 at 98 years old.
The trailblazing Trini Lopez was the subject of MY NAME IS LOPEZ (2021). Winner of Best US Documentary at the American Documentary Festival.
With James Peter Moffatt and Michel Silverman, Ebersole Hughes formed The Ebersole Hughes Company Singers, a punk-pop “boy” band in 2022 and released their debut album “Twenty-First Century Boys” on The Ebersole Hughes Company Records and Tapes.
Todd’s first book, Lunch with Lizabeth, was released by Pelekinesis Press on the 100th birthday of actress and noir queen Lizabeth Scott, with whom Todd had an obsession and subsequent 20-year friendship.