Julien Christian Lutz (born October 31, 1975), known professionally as Director X, is a Canadian music video director. A protégé of fellow director Hype Williams, Lutz has been credited for directing over a hundred music videos for numerous high-profile artists spanning various genres since 1998, including Jay-Z, Drake, Future, John Mayer, Kanye West, DJ Khaled, Usher, Ice Cube, Fabolous, Mystikal and Akon, among others. In film, he directed the crime thriller Superfly in 2018, which saw mixed reception. In television, he created the short-lived action drama Robyn Hood in 2023.

Director X
Director X in October 2005
Julien Christian Lutz

(1975-10-31) October 31, 1975 (age 48)
Other names
  • X
  • Little X
  • Mr. X
  • Music video director
  • film director
  • producer
Years active1998–present

Early life edit

Lutz was born and raised in the Greater Toronto Area, mostly in and around Brampton, and is of mixed Trinidadian and Swiss descent.[1]

Career edit

Early work edit

Lutz began his career working on several productions; he was a visual consultant on Hype Williams' 1998 film Belly.[2] Lutz was slated to direct Disney's horror feature Razorwire, though the film never moved into production.[3]

Music videos edit

After working on several of his projects, Lutz became a protégé of Hype Williams.[4] Since the late 1990s, Lutz has directed dozens of music videos for popular artists and been noted for his high-budget, visually distinctive music videos for popular hit singles, including videos for The Wanted, R. Kelly, Usher, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Korn, David Guetta, Nelly Furtado, Sean Paul, Justin Bieber, Drake, Nicki Minaj, T.I., Little Mix, Rihanna, Union J, Fifth Harmony, Miguel, One Direction, Zayn Malik and Iggy Azalea. In 2004, Lutz appeared in Mya Baker's documentary film Silence: In Search of Black Female Sexuality in America.[5]

In 2015, Lutz founded his own production company, Popp Rok, in Toronto.[6] In 2017, he appeared on episode 7 of Cycle 23 of America's Next Top Model ("X Marks The Spot") as the director for a Gypsy Sports-themed music video.[7]

Feature films edit

Across the Line edit

In addition to music video directing, Lutz has directed three feature films and a television film; he made his feature directorial debut in 2015 with Across the Line. The film starred Stephan James and the storyline was inspired by the 1989 Cole Harbour District High School race riots.[8]

Across the Line was set and shot in Nova Scotia. The first screening of Across the Line was 19 September 2015 at the Atlantic Film Festival where it won the award for "Best Atlantic Feature".[9][8] The film opened for limited release in British Columbia and Ontario on 8 April 2016, with screenings in various Canadian cities throughout that month.[10] The National Post assessed the film at 2.5/4 stars, noting the story's unwavering focus on racial themes was "to the detriment of the film's depth and realism" but noted that video producer Director X "makes the transition to feature film-making look easy". In 2017, the film was the subject of an episode of The Filmmakers, the CBC's web talk series on Canadian film.[11]

Center Stage: On Pointe edit

In 2016, he directed the teen drama television film Center Stage: On Pointe. The film stars Nicole Muñoz, Barton Cowperthwaite, Maude Green, Chloe Lukasiak,[12] Kenny Wormald and Peter Gallagher. It premiered on Lifetime on June 25, 2016.[13][14] The official DVD was released in September 6, 2016.[15]

The film is the third installment in the Center Stage film series, following the 2000 film Center Stage and its sequel, Center Stage: Turn It Up. Variety critic Sonia Saraiya found Center Stage: On Pointe wholly inferior to the original Center Stage, though she complimented Lutz's direction, noting "...though it is frustrating that the film feels like 15-odd low-budget music videos strung together, the dance in those segments, and the way it's filmed, are some of the best parts of the movie."[16]

Superfly edit

In 2018, Lutz directed Superfly, a remake of the 1972 blaxploitation film of the same name.[17] Superfly was released in the United States on June 13, 2018 and received mixed reviews from critics. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 51% based on 73 reviews, and an average rating of 5.4/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Superfly updates the blaxploitation original with a stylish remake that's short on social subtext, but still exciting and visually arresting enough to offer its own slickly staged action rewards."[18] Variety's Owen Gleiberman wrote: "Shot in a functional, slammed-together manner that's less sensually stylish than you'd expect from a music-video auteur, the film is a competent yet glossy and hermetic street-hustle drug thriller, less a new urban myth than a lavishly concocted episode. It holds your attention yet leaves you with nothing."[19]

Filmography edit

Television series edit

Feature films edit

Music videos edit


























Commercials edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Director X". www.directorxfilms.com. Retrieved 2018-06-28.
  2. ^ "Director X." IMDb.
  3. ^ "The Little X. Picture Pages". Celebrity Profiles. Retrieved 19 January 2013.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Official Little X website "About" Archived 2005-06-16 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "African American Film Marketplace - Film Showcase Lets Talk about Sex TOO". www.bherc.org. Black Hollywood Education & Resource Center. Archived from the original on 5 October 2012. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  6. ^ "Director X - Popp Rok". Popp Rok. Archived from the original on 2018-06-28. Retrieved 2018-06-28.
  7. ^ "The Models Film a Video Vixen Shoot w/ Director X - America's Next Top Model". YouTube. Retrieved 2023-09-28.
  8. ^ a b Barnard, Elissa (18 September 2015). "Atlantic filmfest: Undone finds hope amid racial tension". Chronicle Herald. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  9. ^ Nemetz, Andrea (20 September 2015). "Undone wins best Atlantic feature at Atlantic Film Festival Awards". Chronicle Herald. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  10. ^ The Canadian Press (6 April 2016). "Director X makes film debut with drama inspired by N.S. racial tensions in 1989". Chronicle Herald. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  11. ^ "Racism, sports and the East Coast: Director X's film exposes something 'dangerous and problematic'". CBC Arts, October 2, 2017.
  12. ^ Petski, Denise (November 2, 2015). "'Dance Moms' Alum Chloe Lukasiak Joins 'Center Stage' Threequel On Lifetime". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 22, 2016.
  13. ^ Connolly, Kelly (June 21, 2016). "Center Stage: On Pointe hits the dance floor in exclusive clip". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on June 24, 2016. Retrieved June 25, 2016. Center Stage: On Pointe premieres June 25 at 8 p.m. ET on Lifetime.
  14. ^ "Center Stage: On Pointe: First Look". Lifetime. May 4, 2016. Archived from the original on 2021-12-13. Retrieved May 22, 2016 – via YouTube.
  15. ^ Briones, Isis (July 18, 2016). "Watch 'Center Stage: On Pointe's Most Intense Trailer Yet". Retrieved July 18, 2016.
  16. ^ Saraiya, Sonia (June 25, 2016). "TV Review: 'Center Stage: On Pointe'". Variety. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  17. ^ Howell, Peter (12 June 2018). "Opinion - Superfly gets a 21st century update from Director X". BramptonGuardian.com.
  18. ^ "Superfly (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  19. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (June 12, 2018). "Film Review: 'Superfly'". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved June 12, 2018.


External links edit