A.M. Lukas
writer-director
New York / Los Angeles / London / Rome / Prague
no social media
amlukasfilm@gmail.com
***

WATCH:
One Cambodian Family Please for My Pleasure 
(12 minutes)

WATCH:
Hollidaysburg
(86 minutes)

***

A.M. Lukas (they/she) is an award-winning writer-director best known for the feature film Hollidaysburg and the Oscar-qualifying, Sundance-opening short film One Cambodian Family Please for My Pleasure, starring the British actor Emily Mortimer.  With VICE Studios, Lukas further developed the world of the short film into a series--Grand Forks--which sold to Showtime with Lukas set to write and direct.

One Cambodian... premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, played opening night of Sundance 2019, and has been viewed online and around the world over a million times.  The film aired on American television as part of TNT’s Shatterbox series.  RogerEbert.com called it “a must for fans of Wes Anderson, Alexander Payne, and anyone who has had an idealistic mother, particularly in the Midwest.”  The film has been embraced internationally, recognized and awarded for excellence by top film festivals as well as human rights organizations, including the UN Refugee Agency.

Lukas’s directorial debut, Hollidaysburg, was unanimously praised by top film critics.  The Village Voice wrote: “Darn good. A coming-of-age comedy that compresses the whole transition from adolescence to adulthood in one Thanksgiving weekend.”  The Los Angeles Times called it “Smart, warm, and authentic, one of the better youth comedies of the last few years.”

Lukas’s creative process in making Hollidaysburg was the subject of a 10-hour documentary: Starz’s critically acclaimed limited series The Chair (created by Good Will Hunting and Manchester by the Sea producer Chris Moore).  The Chair was for the most part a thorough day-in-the-life documentary depicting what it’s like to make a low-budget independent film, but it included a controversial “competition” element involving a now-disgraced former YouTube star.  Years after it first aired, the show (and its surrounding real-life events) inspired viral video after viral video during a lively internet discourse, much of which called out The Chair’s treatment of Lukas, as well the show’s (inadvertent) depiction of gender discrimination, misogyny, bigotry, and sexism.

A first-generation American, Lukas is the child of a political refugee (who escaped communist Czechoslovakia) and an immigrant from Rome, Italy.  Lukas’ grandfather is the late artist Jan Lukas, a revered figure in early Czech photography and filmmaking whose work is represented in MoMA’s permanent collection.

Lukas began their career in New York, first as a script reader for Focus Features and then as an intern for Wes Anderson, working closely under the filmmaker throughout the writing and production of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.  Lukas then worked for years in independent film in New York and Los Angeles as a writer/producer/actor, collaborating mostly with production company Anonymous Content and distributor Oscilloscope Films.

Lukas is frequently asked to speak at universities about filmmaking, writing, and the creative process, and has served on panels at the Sundance Film Festival and the SCAD Savannah Film Festival as well as writing about film for Filmmaker Magazine and Talkhouse, respectively.

Years after its (unconventional) release, Hollidaysburg was named #10 on Rotten Tomatoes’ list of the 20 Best Thanksgiving Movies Ever.  The film continues to land on “best of” lists, notably in Harper’s Bazaar and Yardbarker, as well as here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Selected Press:
Videos:  Sundance InstituteTNTDeadlineArise Entertainment 360
AudioTake Note: WPSUNPRRugged Angel Podcast
InterviewsThe Human FamilySolzy at the Movies,  L’Info Tout Court,  Cultural LearningsConnect SavannahReality Blurred
ArticlesFilmbunkerThe Onion AV ClubThe WrapEntertainment WeeklyRefinery 29The Boston GlobeThe Altoona MirrorThe WrapFilmmaker Magazine, Indiewire
ReviewsThe Hollywood ReporterThe LA TimesNYC Movie GuruThe Village VoiceRoger Ebert