Jeffrey Schwarz is an Emmy Award-winning producer and director known for an extensive body of non-fiction work. His latest feature documentary is Boulevard! A Hollywood Story, about Gloria Swanson's attempt to make Sunset Boulevard into a musical and the resulting threesome with her songwriters. It premiered at Los Angeles Outfest in 2021.
His previous feature documentary feature, The Fabulous Allan Carr, about the flamboyant producer of Grease and La Cage Aux Folles, had its premiere at the 2017 Seattle International Film Festival. Tab Hunter Confidential, a biographical portrait of the 1950s screen heartthrob, debuted at the 2015 SXSW Film Festival and made its Netflix premiere the following year. I Am Divine, about the international drag superstar and John Waters’ leading lady, premiered at SXSW 2013, and premiered on Showtime followed by Netflix. Schwarz's 2011 documentary feature, the Emmy-winning HBO Documentary Films’ Vito, is about the beloved gay activist and author of The Celluloid Closet, Vito Russo. It premiered at the 2011 New York Film Festival, and made its television debut on HBO in July, 2012. Vito was nominated for two 2013 News and Documentary Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Historical Programming, as well as a 2013 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Documentary. Previous documentaries include Wrangler: Anatomy of an Icon (2008), the award-winning portrait of adult film star Jack Wrangler, which enjoyed a theatrical release and played regularly on the LOGO network. Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story, about the legendary Hollywood showman, won the 2007 AFI Fest Documentary Audience Award among many other festival honors, was released in 2009 by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, and aired on Turner Classic Movies.
Schwarz has served as producer, co-producer, and executive producer on Ron Nyswaner's She's the Best Thing In It (2015), Mike Stabile's Seed Money: The Chuck Holmes Story (2015), Elijah Drenner's That Guy Dick Miller (2014), and Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman's And the Oscar Goes To. He was also consulting producer on Lisa Dapolito and CNN Films' Love Gilda, which premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, as well as Jennifer Kroot's The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin.
Automat Pictures, Schwarz's production comapany, began in 1998, when he was hired by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment to co-produce, shoot and edit a documentary about Gus Van Sant's controversial remake of Psycho. Psycho Path was Schwarz's first foray into the burgeoning world of DVD bonus features, also known as value added material (VAM).
Schwarz soon became one of the leading producers in the field of studio EPKs (electronic presskit), Blu-ray and DVD bonus features, creating content for over 100 major DVD and Blu-ray studio releases. Schwarz collaborated with a range of notable filmmakers including Martin Scorsese, David Lynch, Jonathan Demme, John Waters, Ron Howard, Wes Craven, Michael Bay, Albert & Allen Hughes, Rob Reiner, Craig Zadan & Neil Meron, Joe Dante, Jon Favreau, Barry Sonnenfeld, Adam Shankman, Paul Verhoeven, John Carpenter, Chris Columbus, F. Gary Gray, Roger Corman, Roland Emmerich, Nora Ephron, Wim Wenders, Sidney Lumet, and the Coen Brothers.
Schwarz’s television productions include Starz's Sex and the Cinema, a look at sexuality on film; In the Gutter, a history of the gross-out movie; Hitchcocked!, a tribute to the artistry of Alfred Hitchcock; and Shooting the Police: Cops on Film. For IFC he produced Reservoir Dogs Revisited, a celebration of Quentin Tarantino's classic, and Still Swingin', a tribute to the indie classic Swingers. Schwarz also produced several episodes of HBO First Look. In 2010, Automat Pictures provided exclusive backstage content for the Academy Awards produced by Adam Shankman and Bill Mechanic.
Schwarz appeared in The Advocate's "Out 100 in 2013, and in 2015 was presented with the Frameline Award, by San Francisco’s Frameline Film Festival. The award is designed to honor those who have made a major contribution to LGBT representation in film, television, or the media arts. Vito Russo was the first recipient in 1986, and other honorees include Divine, Rob Epstein, Christine Vachon, Fenton Bailey & Randy Barbato, Gregg Araki, Francois Ozon, Margaret Cho, George Takei, and Alan Cumming.
A New York native, Schwarz is a graduate of the SUNY Purchase Film Department. His senior thesis documentary was Al Lewis in the Flesh, a short film profiling Al Lewis, famous for playing Grandpa on the television series The Munsters. The documentary, which observed the American pastime of celebrity adulation, led to Schwarz's on-going interest in producing films about popular culture and Americana. His first job in the film industry was as an apprentice editor on The Celluloid Closet, Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman's film adaptation of Vito Russo's seminal book. Schwarz’s work on this project would later bridge into the development of his own documentary about Russo.