Mitch Levine is a film and stage director, designer, actor and teacher and founder of The Film Festival Group. As the Executive Director and CEO of the Palm Springs International Film Festivals, he led its events to the most successful outings in the organization’s history. He produced the first International Emerging Talent Film Festival in Monaco and the first Bahamas International Film Festival. He was the first American Express/James Cameron Fellow in Directing at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles, where he directed several short films: Colette, based on the French writer, Stale Identity, an homage to Hitchcock and film noir, before embarking on Shadows, a multi-award winning exploration of love, family and the attraction of evil during the Holocaust. Most recently, he directed nine episodes of the new sit-com, Living and Learning, for C/W in New York and the documentary feature film, Hungry is the Tiger, which utilizes traditional performance and and foucses on the food crisis in India and Indonesia.
As founder of The Film Festival Group, Mitch offers consulting services and expertise to film festivals, film commissions, distribution companies and filmmakers around the world, specializing in startup strategies, administration, sponsorship and marketing, film programming, special events (tributes, galas, seminars, symposia, etc.), outreach, industry relations, juries, new media and technical production. Additionally, The Film Festival Group provides representation services for domestic and international film festivals to other festivals, government agencies, film distributors, exhibitors, studios and filmmakers.
Recent clients include the Toronto International Film Festival Group, American Film Institute, Film Independent, Los Angeles Film Festival, Reno Film Festival, Lake Tahoe Film Festival, Global Peace Film Festival, Florida Film Festival, Orlando Film Festival, Silver Lake Film Festival, Maui Film Festival, Puro Mexicano – Tucson Film Festival, Newport Beach Film Festival, Guanajuato Film Festival, Puerto Vallarta Film Festival, Sarajevo Film Festival, Sarasota Film Festival, Festival Internazionale di San Marino and numerous others.
Levine has participated on many film festival panels and juries, and continues to serve as Production Director of the Los Angeles Film Festival. He was the founding producer and host of Cinema’s Legacy: How Great Filmmakers Inspire Great Filmmakers for the AFI and has presented or directed tributes featuring George Clooney, Quincy Jones, Salvatore Ferragamo, Angelica Huston, Sharon Stone, Elton John, Kanye West, Versace, Guns n Roses, Charlize Theron. Leslie Caron, Rutger Hauer, Elmer Bernstein, Lynn Redgrave, Edward G. Robinson, Stephen Frears, Bruce Beresford, Christopher Nolan, Stephen Daldry, Edward Zwick, Roland Joffe, Franco Zeffirelli, Gregory Nava, Julie Taymor, Neil LaBute and many others. He directs the annual Spirit of Independence Award for Film Independent, which this year honored Clint Eastwood, presented by Tony Bennett and Dustin Hoffman. He was the host of the Producers Forum at the Cannes Film Festival, moderates the annual Festivals and Markets panel for NALIP and has chaired or participated on panels focusing on almost every aspect of the art and craft of cinema and the performing arts.
Levine regularly presents the workshop, Preparing Your Film for the Global Marketplace, to festivals, universities, conferences and institutes throughout the world and is currently writing a book based on its contents. The workshop deals with the many issues producers and filmmakers need to consider, from pre-production through production and post-production and everything thereafter, including markets and festivals, distribution and exhibition.
Prior to his AFI fellowship, Mitch served as artistic supervisor for the world tour of the Robert Wilson/Philip Glass opera, Einstein on the Beach, revived Cynthia Lee's A Dream Within a Dream for the Pacific Resident Theatre Ensemble, directed and designed the acclaimed revival of Arthur Kopit's Wings (Best Production, Direction and Lighting Design Awards -- 1991) in Los Angeles and staged Jean Anouilh's Antigone for the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts. He directed Timothy Mason's Sorry! at Circle Rep in New York and Glen Merzer's Amorphous George in Manhattan and New Haven for the MCC Company. His productions of Macbeth and Pippin re-opened the historic Opera House at the Geneva Performing Arts Festival. Other recent directing projects included the revival of Lyle Kessler's Orphans in New York and the national tour of Big River. Several years ago, his "New Wave" adaptation of the musical Godspell was awarded Best Production and Best Director honors at the La Jolla Stage Company in San Diego.
Mitch served as the production director and designer for the hit mixed-media work, Baseball, in New York, designed lighting for the new Los Angeles productions of Le Nozze de Figaro and The Dybbuck and collaborated on the creation of Klezmania with Tony Kushner, Naomi Goldberg and Brian Kulick. He directed productions of David Mamet's Vint and Maria Irene Fornes' Drowning, which opened the new Raven Playhouse in North Hollywood and designed the world premiere of Love and Death at the John Anson Ford Theatre. He also recently directed Peter Mellencamp's new adaptation of Bertolt Brecht's Baal for the Goethe Institute’s Brecht Centennial Festival and tributes to Jessica Lange, Donald Sutherland, Elmer Bernstein, Phillip Kaufman and Ang Lee for the AFI International Film Festival and to Janet Leigh and Tab Hunter for the Lake Tahoe International Film Festival. He also directed Sony CineAlta Awards at the NAB in Las Vegas.
Mitch has worked in theatres throughout Europe, Asia, Oceania and the Americas. He designed the world premiers of Paura di Volare at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan and of Peter Gabriel and Moses Pendleton's Passion in London and New York. His work has also been seen at the Sydney Opera House, Manhattan's Lincoln Center, Sadler's Wells in London, the Ronacher Theatre in Vienna, Artsphere in Tokyo, the Teatro Liceu in Barcelona, the Teatro Olimpico in Rome, the Metropolitan Theatre in Rio and the Maisón dès Arts in Paris and Lyon. Mitch worked with the Bolshoi Ballet above the Temple of Apollo at Delphi's ancient Olympic Stadium and with Alessandra Ferri, Robert LaFosse, Ann Reinking and Marge Champion at the Piazza di Miracoli in Pisa. He designed the Rigoletto segment of the worldwide broadcast of Festa a Corte from Montova and has directed adaptations of Guys and Dolls, Promises, Promises and Man of La Mancha on the high seas. His American Opera Center stagings of Le Nozze di Figaro and Opera Kaleidoscope were seen throughout the New York area and his work on the Robert Ward/Arthur Miller opera, The Crucible, was presented at the Opera Ensemble of New York.
Mitch served on the staff of the Juilliard School in New York and has stage managed and provided lighting for ABC Television, Lincoln Center, and numerous opera, theatre, music and dance companies throughout the world. He was the resident lighting designer of MOMIX Dance Theatre and of Naomi Goldberg's Los Angeles Modern Dance and Ballet, and has lit the work of many other choreographers, including Paul Taylor, Anna Sokolow, Anthony Tudor, David Parsons and Tommy Tune. He designed the premier of a dance theatre work commissioned by the San Francisco Giants and the Colorado Rockies, entitled Bat Habits, and the television premier of Lisa Giobbi's Motion Pictures Company.
Mitch's lighting design work has been seen in museums and installations throughout the world. He created the Beneath the Ice exhibition for the American Folk Art Museum in New York and the telecommunications extravaganza for the Museo Contemporario in Milan. His concert lighting has been viewed at performances by Shadowfax, Donny Osmond, Rhythm Tribe, Debbie Gibson, Warrant, the Paul Winter Consort and several symphony orchestras. He has created lighting for the performance art works of Robert Faust and Tim Latta, of the Russian Cirque du Soleil aerialist Vladimir and for renowned Austrian acrobat Karl Baumann. He also designed the acclaimed Amnesty International benefit, No Holds Barred, produced by Carly Simon.
As an actor, Mitch starred in the New York revival of Jesus Christ Superstar, in Stuart Culpepper's film, The Origin of Man and in The American Clock by Arthur Miller. Mitch was seen as the composer Verdi and the painter Romano on television specials in Europe. He appeared with Kelly McGillis in Eve Shapiro's production of Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author, in John Stix's revival of The Petrified Forest and in the highly forgettable Lincoln Center production of The Emperor of My Baby's Heart. His voice could once be heard on commercials for Anhauser-Busch, on numerous dance and music videos, and as the Head Announcer of the National Public Radio station WEOS-FM in New York
Mitch served as the executive director of the Los Angeles Directors Project (the professional stage directors association of Los Angeles) and is on the visiting faculties of Lee College, UCLA, and the Dortort Institute of the University of Judaism, teaching classes in Cinema History, Art and Culture, the United Nations, Public Speaking and Acting, and conducting seminars in Twentieth Century Theatre, Opera and Dance. He has offered master classes in Performance and Lighting Design at institutions throughout the country and taught private acting workshops and scene studies in Los Angeles and New York. His education includes a degree in Political Science from Hobart College, a professional fellowship at the Juilliard School in New York and a Master of Fine Arts from the American Film Institute.
Mitch could once be found trodding the corridors of the United Nations in New York as a Special Representative to the U.N. Disarmament Programs and chairman of the World Conference on Disarmament. He is a former member of the National and World Councils of the YMCA and has served on the boards of directors of ISO Dance Theatre, Los Angeles Modern Dance and Ballet and the MCC Company in New York.