Steven Shainberg  

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Steven Shainberg (born 5 February 1963) is an American film director and producer.

Shainberg received his BA from Yale University in English Literature and East Asian studies. After graduation, he worked as a location manager, assistant director, production coordinator, and assistant editor on a number of films, commercials, and rock videos. He also worked as an independent producer developing adaptations of Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent and Henry JamesThe Americans. At the American Film Institute, he directed and wrote four short films including The Prom starring Jennifer Jason Leigh and J. T. Walsh. The Prom won the Grand Prize at the Houston International Film Festival, the Critics’ Award at the Breckenridge Film Festival, and the Silver Medal for Drama at the New York Film Festival.

In 1998, his short film series “Mr. Virgil” ran for almost six months on MTV as well as his video for Debbie Harry’s "Strike Me Pink".


In August 1998, Shainberg’s first feature film Hit Me based on the Jim Thompson novel, A Swell-Looking Babe, was released. However, Shainberg’s breakthrough didn’t come until 2002’s Secretary.

Secretary stars Maggie Gyllenhaal as a suicidal young woman who gets a job as a secretary to a lawyer played by James Spader. The story follows the two characters as they develop a sexual, masochistic relationship. The film was well received and honored with numerous awards including a Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, and a Golden Globe Award nomination for Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Shainberg’s latest project, Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus starring Nicole Kidman and Robert Downey Jr. is a fictionalized account of the life of renowned photographer Diane Arbus. The film, released in 2006, opened to mixed-to-negative reviews.

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