David Donnelly is an American filmmaker, writer and artist. Donnelly graduated with honors from the prestigious International Baccalaureate program at the age of seventeen. Early ambitions of becoming a doctor inspired Donnelly to leave northern Kentucky and continue his education at Washington University in St. Louis, where he developed a passion for film. The very day after graduating college Donnelly moved to Los Angeles to pursue his dream.
In his mid-twenties Donnelly began directing commercials and educational films, selling his first short film series, Think About It, in 2008. In 2010, the Miami based Consequences Foundation commissioned Donnelly to write and direct a short film that tackles South Florida’s juvenile crime epidemic. The film, which features an inspirational message from the rapper Ludacris and convicted felons, is now screened to Miami area juveniles after their arrest, in hopes of inspiring them to stay out of jail.
In late 2015, Donnelly released his first feature length documentary Maestro. The crew followed several Grammy award-winning musicians across the globe. Four years in the making, many consider it to be the most comprehensive portrait of contemporary classical music ever captured on film. Donnelly made the documentary with the intention of exposing a broader audience to the classical genre. Maestro has been translated into ten languages and is airing on international networks spanning five continents. Most importantly it is utilized as a much needed resource for music educators. Donnelly is also the author of the viral Huffington Post essay “Why Failing Orchestras are the Problem of Every American.”
While filming Maestro, Donnelly founded CultureMonster.org, a multi-media company dedicated to making the arts more competitive in a free market economy. Since then, Donnelly has collaborated with some of the world’s most accomplished musicians. He directed the first music video (“High Done No Why To”) for the Grammy and Pulitzer Prize winning ensemble Roomful of Teeth. His music video “Vitali Variations,” featuring renowned violinist Tatiana Berman, was aired in twenty-six countries. Donnelly is the creator of the groundbreaking concert series Not So Classical, which revolutionizes the genre through a hybrid film/concert experience. He is currently working with an array of renowned artists and orchestras from around the globe on a variety of film projects.
As well as writing and directing, the thirty-five year-old Renaissance man spends time pursuing his passions of painting and public speaking, always focusing on projects with social and cultural significance. His conceptual art has been regularly featured at the Constella Festival of Music and Fine Art and has been acquired by collectors across the world. As a guest speaker, Donnelly visits some of America’s finest institutions including the Curtis Institute of Music and Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. Additionally, he is currently completing his first play as well as a book of vignettes and poetry.
Donnelly is preparing the release of the documentary Gabe (2017), which he executive produced. Gabe tells the inspirational story of a young man battling muscular dystrophy. Donnelly is also in pre-production on his next documentary feature film, A Call to Minds, which makes a case for an American minister of culture and examines the relationship between mass culture and our survival as a species. Donnelly’s work is available all over the globe on a variety of platforms. His work has been featured in dozens of publications.
For more information about David’s film projects, please visit CultureMonster.org.