Michael R. Lawrence
PRODUCER, DIRECTOR, WRITER
FOR TELEVISION AND MOTION PICTURES
While still a teenager, Michael Lawrence performed widely on the guitar and five-string banjo in the Midwest and on the East Coast - both as a folk instrumentalist and vocalist - including a summer as banjoist with The Stephen Foster Story in Bardstown, Kentucky. Mr. Lawrence studied classical guitar with Aaron Shearer, composition with Stephan Grové, and jazz with David Baker. A graduate of the first guitar class at The Peabody Conservatory of Music (The Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University). Mr. Lawrence performed widely on the classical guitar - in recitals as well as on radio and television.
Prior to producing films, Mr. Lawrence composed original music for over a dozen films, including Julian Krainin's Emmy Award winning documentary The Other Americans, which won more awards than any other television documentary in 1969 and was honored with a special screening at the White House.
An Emmy nominated filmmaker, Mr. Lawrence has written, produced, and directed over twenty documentaries, including productions for PBS, CNN and HBO. His films have been honored by awards from major film festivals around the world. He has initiated personal film projects that have received production grants from both local and national foundations, including the Ford Foundation. The National Endowment for the Humanities funded three of his productions. Among his most honored personal film essays are Aaron Shearer: A Life With The Guitar with Manuel Barrueco: A Gift and a Life, The Mind of Music with Yehudi Menuhin, and The Shared Experience with Dr. Lewis Thomas and John Kenneth Galbraith. Mr. Lawrence also serves as film editor on all his documentary productions.
In 1990, Julian Krainin and Michael Lawrence began working together to jointly produce documentaries, television movies, and theatrical motion pictures. Their first project was the multi-award winning documentary The Quiz Show Scandal that Mr. Lawrence directed for The American Experience.
After seeing the national broadcast of the PBS documentary, Robert Redford became interested in the story and eventually directed the Disney Oscar-nominated feature Quiz Show, starring Ralph Fiennes. Mr. Krainin produced while Mr. Lawrence assisted by writing an initial dramatic treatment.
Michael Lawrence initiated the 2004 Emmy and Peabody award winning HBO original movie Something the Lord Made, for which he wrote an original dramatic treatment and which Mr. Krainin produced. Michael Lawrence studied story structure with Robert McKee and screenwriting with Linda Seger and has written original screenplays and over a dozen feature film and television movie treatments. Other projects developed with Julian Krainin are currently in development at independent production companies and the major studios.
Mr. Lawrence wrote and directed the first film ever commissioned by the Library of Congress entitled Memory and Imagination: New Pathways to the Library of Congress with Isaac Stern, Henry Steele Commager, Francis Ford Coppola, Gore Vidal, Dr. James Watson, Sam Waterston, Michael Feinstein, Julia Child, Vartan Gregorian, Penn and Teller, Ted Koppel, Albert Gore, Jr., Stewart Brand, Richard Wurman and Steve Jobs.
Michael Lawrence's most recent production Bach & Friends combines his passion for both music and filmmaking. World-class musicians like Joshua Bell and Bobby McFerrin reflect on their personal connection to the power of Johann Sebastian Bach’s music and perform many of his greatest masterpieces. The variety of performances include Bach performed on the organ, piano, cello, violin, banjo, guitar, double bass, ukulele, mandolin, glass harp, and string quartet. The two-hour documentary had it's world premier at Symphony Space in New York City.
MANUEL BARRUECO: A Gift and A Life. An hour documentary on internationally acclaimed classical guitar concert and recording artist Manuel Barrueco.
AARON SHEARER: A Life With The Guitar. An hour documentary celebrating the life and work of Aaron Shearer "the most influential classic guitar author and teacher of the 20th Century."
THE JOHN GLENN STORY: A Return to Space and Return of the Hero. Two one-hour documentaries for CNN Productions with John Glenn and Walter Cronkite.
DEADLY MAIL. A chilling search for the most frightening and elusive serial bomber in American history - the Unabomber. HBO's America Undercover.
GETTING AWAY WITH MURDER. A provocative true story of terror in the small Vermont town of Essex. Mr. Lawrence's script was developed for ABC Television.
THE QUIZ SHOW SCANDAL. A look at one of the most bizarre and disillusioning chapters in the history of broadcasting. American Experience, PBS.
MEMORY & IMAGINATION: New Pathways to the Library of Congress. The memory bank of mankind. With ISAAC STERN, FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA, JULIA CHILD, PENN and TELLER, TED KOPPEL, STEWART BRAND, and STEVE JOBS.
PLUTONIUM. A 15-minute theatrical trailer. Key scenes from Mr. Lawrence's original screenplay for a low-budget thriller on nuclear terrorism. Screened at the Independent Feature Market.
THE MIND OF MUSIC. An exploration of the magical force of music in the lives of human beings. A personal film essay with YEHUDI MENUHIN, GUNTHER SCHULLER, GEORGE ROCHBERG and DR. LEWIS THOMAS.
THE 30-SECOND DREAM. The seductive power of television advertising. A penetrating look at the multi-billion-dollar fantasy world of television commercials.
THE SHARED EXPERIENCE. The evolution of human thought and culture. A broad look at information and the transmission of human experience across the ages with DR. LEWIS THOMAS, NOAM CHOMSKY, ALEXANDER MARSHACK, WILLIAM IRWIN THOMPSON and JOHN KENNETH GALBRAITH.
KOINONIA. Life in an alternative educational and spiritual community - a fascinating look at the daily life of a 40-member intentional community.
SPACECRAFT AMERICA. A satire on politics and media in America - focusing on Richard Nixon's second inauguration.