Bryan Fogel is an American film director, producer, author, playwright, speaker and human rights activist, best known for the 2017 documentary Icarus, which won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 90th Academy Awards in 2018.

Bryan Fogel
Bryan Fogel Headshot.jpg
Denver, Colorado, United States
Alma materUniversity of Colorado Boulder
Notable work
The Dissident
AwardsAcademy Award for Best Documentary Feature
Edward R. Murrow Award for Outstanding Journalism
Sundance Grand Jury Award

The New York Times described Fogel's film Icarus as "Illuminating"[1] and Variety magazine called it "A Game Changing Documentary."[2] Icarus premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award "The Orwell Award" and the first ever "Audience Choice" Award of Sundance Film Festival London. The film was acquired in a historic $5 million sale by Netflix[3] and launched globally on August 4, 2017 and won its first Feature Documentary Oscar with Icarus.[4] The evidence brought forward in Icarus through Russian whistle-blower Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov was instrumental in the Olympic Committee's banning of Russia from the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

Fogel most recently has directed and produced the 2020 American documentary film The Dissident, which follows the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi and Saudi Arabia's efforts to control international dissent. It had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 24, 2020 and was released on December 18, 2020, by Briarcliff Entertainment. Fogel was listed in Fast Company: "The Most Creative People in Business 2021"[5] among 72 individuals for his film The Dissident. Fogel's screenplay for The Dissident, won the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Documentary Screenplay award at the 73rd Writers Guild of America Awards in 2020 and received a nomination for "Best Documentary" at the (BAFTA Awards) British Academy Film Awards in 2020.

He currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.

Early life and educationEdit

Fogel was born in Denver, Colorado. He attended the Denver Jewish Day School.[6] He graduated from East High School and the University of Colorado Boulder.[7]


Fogel began his career in Hollywood pursuing stand-up comedy and acting.[8] He had a small part in the 2009 Disney movie Race to Witch Mountain.[9]

Fogel has given keynote speeches to organizations around the world including the Oslo Freedom Forum in 2019 and 2020 - Human Rights Foundation and has appeared on ABC Nightline, Charlie Rose, Seth Meyers, Joe Rogan, CNN, ESPN, Meet The Press, The View, NPR, BBC and has been featured in publications around the globe including The Guardian [10] and Financial Times.[11]


Fogel developed, co-wrote, and initially starred in the play Jewtopia, an off-Broadway comedy about the dating lives of two young men seeking Jewish women, which was made into a feature film. The play opened in Los Angeles in 2003 and ran for 300 performances.[12] It moved on in 2004 to the off-Broadway Westside Theater in New York, where it ran for more than three years and over a thousand performances before closing in April 2007. It is one of the longest-running and fastest-recouping productions in Off-Broadway history.[13]

Fogel co-authored the book Jewtopia: The Chosen Guide for the Chosen People, with Sam Wolfson.[14] The book was published by Hachette Book Group and Fogel appeared on ABC's The View in support of the book.

Fogel directed, co-wrote and produced the feature film adaptation of Jewtopia which was released in 2012. The film had its U.S. premiere as the opening night gala of the 13th Newport Beach International Film Festival.[15][16] The film won the audience choice award of the 2012 Malibu Film Festival.


While investigating the furtive world of illegal doping in sports, Fogel connected with renegade Russian scientist, Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, a pillar of his country Russia's state-sponsored Olympic doping program. Fogel and Rodchenkov realized they held the power to reveal the major doping in sports through The New York Times on May 12, 2016.[17] Part of Fogel's motivation was his complex view of cyclist Lance Armstrong, whom he had long suspected of doping despite avoiding detection from 500 plus tests. When it was learned that Armstrong had in fact been using performance enhancing drugs, Fogel became fascinated with how the athlete was able to carry on without the slightest suspicion for so long.[18]

They alleged Russia had orchestrated state-sponsored fraud, conspiring to cheat the Olympics for decades, including the 2014 Sochi Olympics, where Rodchenkov, with the help of the Federal Security Service (FSB, formerly the KGB), changed steroid-tainted urine of the Russian national team to evade positive detection. This story, which Fogel had been documenting as a filmmaker for 3.5 years, working with producer Dan Cogan, is the foundation of his feature documentary film Icarus. Icarus premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival[19] where it won the first ever Special Jury "Orwell Award"[20] and the first ever Audience Choice Award[21] at Sundance Film Festival London. The film was acquired in a historic $5 million sale to Netflix[22] and released worldwide on Netflix on August 4, 2017.[23]

In December 2017, Russia was suspended from participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea under its flag, although it did send 169 athletes under the moniker "Olympic Athletes from Russia".[24] In August 2017, Fogel met with members of the US Congress and Senate to discuss the extent of Russian tampering in global affairs, specifically the 2016 US elections.[24]

Icarus won Best Documentary Feature at the 90th Academy Awards.[25] as well as the SummerDocs Audience Award at the 2017 Hamptons International Film Festival.[26]

The film was also nominated for the Best Documentary Feature at the 71st BAFTAs, and Fogel was also nominated for outstanding directorial achievement at the 70th Directors Guild of America Awards, and three 2018 Primetime Emmy Awards for writing, directing and best documentary special. Icarus also received the 2018 Edward R. Murrow Award for Outstanding Journalism.[27]

For his work on Icarus, Fogel was asked to speak for Play the Game, a Danish-led group dedicated to raising the ethical standards of sports worldwide.[28]

2017 Sundance Film Festival Documentary-Director Won [29][30]
2017 Sundance Film Festival: Grand Jury Prize The Orwell Award Won
2017 Sundance Film Festival: London Audience Award – U.S. Documentary Won [31]
2017 Hamptons International Film Festival SummerDocs Audience Award Won [32]
2017 International Documentary Association Video Source Award Nominated
2017 Academy Awards, the USA- Oscar Best Documentary Feature Won [33]
2018 National Edward R. Murrow Awards Best T.V. Network News Documentary Won [34]
2018 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Directing for a Documentary/Nonfiction Program,
Outstanding Writing for a Nonfiction Program,
Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special
Nominated [35]
2018 Cinema Eye Honors Awards, U.S. Hell Yeah Prize Won [36][37]
2018 Directors Guild of America, USA Best Direction for Documentary Nominated [38]
2018 BAFTA Awards Best Documentary Nominated [39]
2018 Faro Island Film Festival: Golden Carp Film Award Best Documentary Feature Nominated
2018 Edward R. Murrow Awards Best T.V. Network News Documentary-Director Won [40]
2018 Gold Derby Awards Documentary Feature Nominated [41]

The DissidentEdit

Fogel co-wrote, produced, and directed the documentary The Dissident (2020), investigating the murder of Saudi Arabian The Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul allegedly at the hands of his own government.[42] Fogel believed that after the assassination, Khashoggi's reputation was dragged through the mud as he was painted as a terrorist sympathizer. Fogel noted that, in truth, Khashoggi was an intended reformer for his nation, aspiring to promote transparency through his journalism.[43] Fogel has asserted that he is fighting for freedom of speech and freedom of press everywhere by bringing to light the heinous crime committed against Khashoggi. While a CIA report released by the Biden administration implicated Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman in the death of Khashoggi,[44] Fogel believes the prince will never face an Interpol arrest warrant or formal investigation considering the vast amount of wealth he owns.[45]

Despite excellent reviews, major film studios were reluctant to pick up the film, for fear of reprisals.[46][47][48] Eight months after its release, Briarcliff Entertainment picked up the film with intent to release it across theaters, coinciding with the second anniversary of Khashoggi's assassination.[49] Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter wrote "Fogel's investigation is vigorous, deep and comprehensive."[50] and Owen Gleiberman, reviewing the film in Variety, called it "an eye-opening thriller brew of corruption, cover-up, and real-world courage."[51] Peter Sobczynski, reviewing it for Roger Ebert, said, “The new documentary The Dissident lays out the story in as clear and concise a manner as possible, and does so with enough details to make even those who have followed the case intently gasp in shock over what filmmaker Bryan Fogel has to show them.”[52]

2020 CPH: DOX Award DOX: AWARD Nominated [53]
2020 Stockholm Film Festival Bronze Horse-Best Documentary Nominated [54][55]
2021 BAFTA Awards Best Documentary Nominated [56]
2021 Writers Guild of America, USA WGA Award-Documentary Screenplay Won [57]
2021 Cinema Eye Honors Awards, U.S. Outstanding Achievement in Production-Feature Nominated [58]
2021 Dublin International Film Festival Dublin Film Critics Special Jury Prize-writer, director Won [59]


Title Year Role
The Dissident [60][61] 2020 Writer, Director, Producer
Icarus 2017 Writer, Director, Producer
Jewtopia 2012 Writer, Director, Executive Producer


  1. ^ Jaworowski, Ken (3 August 2017). "Review: In 'Icarus,' Unexpectedly Exploring the Russian Doping Scandal)". The New York Times. Retrieved August 3, 2017.
  2. ^ Debruge, Peter (20 January 2017). "Film Review: 'Icarus')". Variety Magazine. Retrieved January 20, 2017.
  3. ^ "Sundance: Netflix Lands Russian Doping Documentary 'Icarus' (EXCLUSIVE))". Variety Magazine. 24 January 2017. Retrieved January 24, 2017.
  4. ^ McNary, Dave. "Netflix Wins First Feature Documentary Oscar With 'Icarus')". Variety Magazine. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  5. ^ Zara, Christopher (2021-08-10). "The Most Creative People in Business 2021". Fast Company. Retrieved 2021-08-10.
  6. ^ "Oscar winner Bryan Fogel, alumnus of Denver Jewish Day School, returns to school to talk about his Oscar and "Jewtopia" | YourHub".
  7. ^ "A busload of local actors make it big". 10 May 2007.
  8. ^ Thompson, Anne (2017-08-04). "How 'Icarus' Turned a Standup Comic Into an Investigative Journalist With a Netflix Deal". IndieWire. Retrieved 2017-12-06.
  9. ^ "Disney Movie Club - Disney movies on Blu-ray + DVD".
  10. ^ Ingle, Sean (23 July 2017). "Icarus film finds more than Greek tragedy in Russia doping scandal)". The Guardian. Retrieved July 23, 2017.
  11. ^ Ahmed, Murad (23 July 2017). "Cycling, steroids and a Russian doping scandal)". The Guardian. Retrieved July 23, 2017.
  12. ^ "Jewish Journal, January 23, 2004 bruciate".
  13. ^ Playbill Archived June 5, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "Choice of a Jew generation — Jewish Journal". 26 October 2006.
  15. ^ "Newport Beach film fest: 'Jewtopia,' John Wayne and lots more". 25 April 2012.
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-02-25. Retrieved 2013-02-08.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ Ruiz, Rebecca R.; Schwirtz, Michael (12 May 2016). "Russian Insider Says State-Run Doping Fueled Olympic Gold". The New York Times.
  18. ^ Carozza, Dick; A doping dichotomy; Fraud Magazine;
  19. ^ "icarus".
  20. ^ "'17 Sundance Film Festival - Award Winners". Archived from the original on 2017-10-27. Retrieved 2017-09-17.
  21. ^ "'Icarus' wins first ever Sundance London audience award".
  22. ^ Setoodeh, Brent Lang,Ramin (24 January 2017). "Sundance: Netflix Lands Russian Doping Documentary 'Icarus' (EXCLUSIVE)".
  23. ^ "Icarus - Netflix Official Site".
  24. ^ a b Yuan, Jada. "How Icarus Director Bryan Fogel Documented the Russian Olympic Doping Scandal". Vulture. Retrieved 2017-12-07.
  25. ^ "The 90th Academy Awards | 2018". | Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 2021-07-22.
  26. ^ "SUMMERDOCS | 2017". | SUMMERDOCS.
  27. ^ "Edward R. Murrow Award | 2018 | Outstanding Journalism".
  28. ^ Oscar-winning director Bryan Fogel to address Play the Game 2019; Play The Game; [1]
  29. ^ "Icarus received 6 major nominations in 2018, winning 1 award". Los Angeles Times. 2 March 2018. Retrieved 2018-03-02 – via
  30. ^ Patrick Hipes, Dominic Patten (18 January 2017). "Sundance Film Festival Awards: 'I Don't Feel At Home In This World Anymore' & 'Dina' Take Grand Jury Prizes". Retrieved 2017-01-28.
  31. ^ Parfitt, Orlando (5 June 2017). "'Icarus' wins first ever Sundance London audience award". Retrieved 2017-06-05 – via
  32. ^ "'Icarus' wins first ever Sundance London audience award". 26 August 2017. Retrieved 2017-08-26 – via
  33. ^ McNary, Dave (4 March 2018). "Netflix Wins First Feature Documentary Oscar With 'Icarus'". Variety. Retrieved 2018-03-04 – via
  34. ^ Pedersen, Erik (19 June 2018). "Edward R. Murrow Awards: CBS News Wins Overall Excellence For Second Straight Year". Variety. Retrieved 2018-06-19 – via
  35. ^ "Icarus received 6 major nominations in 2018, winning 1 award". Los Angeles Times. 2 March 2018. Retrieved 2018-03-02 – via
  36. ^ "2018 Cinema Eye Honors". Los Angeles Times. 2 March 2018. Retrieved 2018-03-02 – via {{cite web}}: Check |url= value (help)
  37. ^ Patrick Hipes, Dominic Patten (11 January 2018). "Sundance Film Festival Awards: 'I Don't Feel At Home In This World Anymore' & 'Dina' Take Grand Jury Prizes". Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  38. ^ "Icarus received 6 major nominations in 2018, winning 1 award". Los Angeles Times. 2 March 2018. Retrieved 2018-03-02 – via
  39. ^ "Icarus received 6 major nominations in 2018, winning 1 award". Los Angeles Times. 2 March 2018. Retrieved 2018-03-02 – via
  40. ^ "Edward R. Murrow Awards: CBS News Wins Overall Excellence For Second Straight Year". Variety. 22 October 2020. Retrieved 2020-10-22 – via
  41. ^ Dixon, Marcus James (7 February 2018). "Best Documentary Feature Oscar predictions: Could 'Icarus' get an Olympics-sized boost?". Variety. Retrieved 2018-02-17 – via
  42. ^ Bryan Fogel's 'The Dissident' wins Aspen Filmfest Audience Award; Aspen Times; [2]
  43. ^ Aguilar, Carlos; How Bryan Fogel Made Jamal Khashoggi Doc 'The Dissident' a Non-Fiction Thriller; Indiewire; [3]
  44. ^ "Jamal Khashoggi: US says Saudi prince approved Khashoggi killing". BBC News. Retrieved 26 February 2020.
  45. ^ "The Dissident: Jamal Khashoggi documentary points finger at Saudi Arabia's crown prince". BBC News. Retrieved 26 February 2020.
  46. ^ Carroll, Tobias; Acclaimed Documentary Filmmakers Face Distribution Issues For Hot-Button Subjects; Inside Hook; [4]
  47. ^ 'Minari,' 'The Dissident' win Middleburg Film Festival Audience Awards; Loudoun Times; [5]
  48. ^ Thompson, Anne; How Award-Winning Filmmakers Make Dangerous Documentaries That No Major Distributor Will Touch; IndieWire; [6]
  49. ^ Coyle, Jake; Director Bryan Fogel's documentary "The Dissident" finds distribution; Shoot Online; [7]
  50. ^ McCarthy, Todd. "'The Dissident': Film Review Sundance 2020". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
  51. ^ Gleiberman, Owen. "'The Dissident': Film Review". Variety Magazine. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  52. ^ Sobczynski, Peter. "'The Dissident': Movie Review 2020". Retrieved December 24, 2020.
  53. ^ PARFITT, ORLANDO (21 February 2021). "CPH:DOX unveils 2020 competition line-up with 50/50 gender split (exclusive)". Screendaily. Retrieved 2021-02-21 – via
  54. ^ Fahim, Joseph (16 November 2020). "Jamal Khashoggi films: Trying to separate the man and the martyr". Screendaily. Retrieved 2020-11-16 – via
  55. ^ "Stockholm Documentary - New ways to view the world". MiddleEastEye. 11 October 2020. Retrieved 2020-10-11 – via
  56. ^ Staff, CNN (12 April 2021). "BAFTA Awards 2021: See the full list of winners". CNN. Retrieved 2021-04-12 – via
  57. ^ "2021 Writers Guild Awards Winners – 'The Dissident' Wins for Documentary Screenplay". Vimooz. 22 March 2021. Retrieved 2021-03-22 – via
  58. ^ Morgan, Jillian (11 December 2020). ""Time", "Collective", "Gunda" receive noms for 14th Cinema Eye Honors". RealScreen. Retrieved 2020-12-11 – via
  59. ^ Clark, Donald (15 March 2021). "Pandemic movie wins top award at Dublin International Film Festival". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2021-03-15 – via
  60. ^ Thorpe, Vanessa (22 February 2020). "Powerful new Khashoggi film hits its mark … but will audiences get to see it?". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 2020-02-22 – via
  61. ^ Zeitchik, Steven (23 January 2020). "A Jamal Khashoggi documentary could take the film world — and U.S.-Saudi relations — by storm". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2020-02-22.

External linksEdit