Almereyda studied art history at Harvard but dropped out after three years to pursue filmmaking. He acquired a Hollywood agent on the strength of a spec script about Nicola Tesla. His first film as writer/director was a self-financed, black-and-white short featuring Dennis Hopper, A Hero of Our Time, based on Mikhail Lermontov’s novel of the same title. Shot in 1985, it was finished in 1987 and screened in the 1992 Sundance Film Festival.
Almereyda’s films range across many genres, styles, and formats. His first feature, Twister (1989), based on Mary Robison’s novel Oh, was a comedy about a dysfunctional mid-Western family. Another Girl Another Planet (1992) was a romantic chamber piece, a black-and-white, one-hour featurette shot with a Fisher-Price Pixelvision camera.
Hamlet (2000) was shot on Super 16mm and featured Ethan Hawke, Bill Murray, Kyle MacLachlan, Julia Stiles, Liev Schreiber and Sam Shepard. The adaptation layered a contemporary New York setting on Shakespeare’s text.
Almereyda directed features set in pre- and post-Katrina New Orleans: Happy Here and Now (2002) and New Orleans, Mon Amour (2008). In 2004, he directed an episode of the HBO series Deadwood, His most recent work has mainly involved documentaries and shorts.
William Eggleston in the Real World (2005) was nominated for a Gotham Award for Best Documentary from the Independent Filmmaker Project, as was the sketchbook film Paradise (2009). Marjorie Prime (2017) won the Sloan Feature Film Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.
Almereyda edited and contributed texts for Night Wraps the Sky: Writings by and About Mayakovsky, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2008, and William Eggleston: For Now, published by Twin Palms in 2010.
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- "'Brokeback,' 'Capote' Get Gotham Award Nods", Fox News Channel. Accessed 8 August 2014.
- "Sloan Science & Film". scienceandfilm.org. Retrieved 2017-02-03.
- "Creative Capital – Investing in Artists who Shape the Future". creative-capital.org. Retrieved 25 May 2017.