Chris Moukarbel

Chris Moukarbel is an American director and producer.[1] He is best known for his 2017 film Gaga: Five Foot Two, a critically acclaimed documentary about American singer-songwriter Lady Gaga.

His first feature documentary Me at the Zoo premiered in competition at Sundance Film Festival in 2012[2] and was acquired by HBO Documentaries as part of their summer series.[3] The film charts the rise of YouTube and tells the story of an early viral Internet celebrity, Chris Crocker of “Leave Britney Alone!” fame. Moukarbel was approached by Sheila Nevins to direct[4] the Emmy nominated documentary Banksy Does New York.

He is also the creator and director of the HBO series Sex On // which takes a look at sex and relationships in the Information age. It was conceived as a reboot of the classic show Real Sex.[5][6][7] His work often explores technology and identity.[8]

Moukarbel directed and produced the film Gaga: Five Foot Two.[9][10] It premiered at the 2017 Toronto Film Festival and was acquired by Netflix.

His documentary Wig explores the New York City drag queen scene and the drag festival Wigstock. It premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on May 4, 2019, and premiered on June 18 on HBO.[11]


Moukarbel made videos and contemporary art while living in New York.[1] His best known video art project World Trade Center was made as part of his graduate school thesis at Yale School of Art. Moukarbel acquired a bootleg script for a then upcoming Oliver Stone film World Trade Center and he shot his own version using student actors. The short film was released freely on the internet as a way to pre-empt the Stone film and caused a highly publicized lawsuit by Paramount Pictures.[12]

In a New York Times article about the art project Moukarbel said in the interview "My film was offered free on the Internet… It cost $1,000 to produce. We're at a place now where technology allows the democratization of storytelling."[13] After paramount blocked the distribution of the video it continued to be shown at Witte de With institute of Contemporary art who refused to comply with the court order.

His artwork has shown at Marianne Boesky Gallery,[14] Air de Paris, Witte de with[15] and Wallspace gallery among others.

Music videosEdit

Moukarbel co-directed the REM music video Everyday is Yours to Win,[16] The Drums, I Felt Stupid[17] and Joan as Police Woman's Start of my Heart.[18]


Award Year Category Nominee(s) Result
2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards[19] 2018 Best Music Documentary Gaga: Five Foot Two Won
2015 News & Documentary Emmy Awards 2015 Outstanding Arts and Cultural Programming Banksy Does New York Nominated

[20] [21] [22] [23][24] [25]

Personal lifeEdit

Moukarbel was born in New Haven, Connecticut to Lebanese parents and lives between Los Angeles and New York.[26] He was in a relationship with Jake Shears, singer of the band Scissor Sisters, from 2004 until 2015.

He attended Corcoran School of Art and Yale School of Art.[27]


  1. ^ a b "Introducing Chris Moukarbel" Interview Magazine, September 29, 2010
  2. ^ ""Meet the filmmaker: Me at the Zoo's Chris Moukarbel"". Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2015-09-05.
  3. ^ Peter Knegt, "HBO Buys Sundance Doc 'Me @the Zoo'" Indiewire, January 17, 2012
  4. ^ "Interview: "Banksy Does New York" Director Chris Moukarbel Talks Creating a Crowd-Sourced Film and the Allure of the Infamous Street Artist"}
  5. ^ "HBO Sex Now Gets inside the World of Cam Girls" Vice Magazine
  6. ^ "The Scintillating Details Behind HBO's New Docuseries 'SEX // NOW,' Debuting January 2014" Indiewire
  7. ^ "Interactive Gets a New Meaning"
  8. ^ "About: Chris Moukarbel" Archived August 2, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Toronto Film Review in "Variety"
  10. ^ Film Review in "Vanity Fair"
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Paramount sues over 9/11 Internet film" USA Today
  13. ^ "An Artist Releases a New Film After Paramount Blocks His First" New York Times
  14. ^ Marianne Boesky Gallery[permanent dead link], October 26 – November 25, 2006.
  15. ^ "Witte de With : Event : Don Quixote"
  16. ^ "R.E.M. Recruits James Franco, Albert Maysles to Helm 'Collapse Into Now' Videos"
  17. ^ "The Drums on Athletics, Their New Video" Interview Magazine
  18. ^ "Interrogation: Joan as Police Woman" Interview Magazine
  19. ^ Atkinson, Katie (18 June 2018). "MTV Movie & TV Awards 2018: Complete Winners List". Billboard. Retrieved 2 September 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  20. ^ "MTV Movie & TV Awards Winners List"
  21. ^ "MTV Movie & TV Awards Winners 2018"
  22. ^ "MTV Movie & TV Awards 2018 Winners complete list"
  23. ^ "MTV Movie & TV Awards winners full list"
  24. ^ "36th News & Documentary Emmy Nominees"
  25. ^ "News & Documentary Emmy Nominees"
  26. ^ Harris, Jeremy (2017). "How Lady Gaga Captured America's Queer Imagination". Vice.
  27. ^ "Introducing Chris Moukarbel" Interview Magazine

External linksEdit