Who is Duane Byrge?
Duane Byrge has written for The Hollywood Reporter since his graduate school days at the University of Southern California in the 1980s. At the media industry paper, he served in an array of capacities: news editor, senior film critic, box-office analyst, reporter, and feature writer.
He has written more than 2,500 reviews for the trade paper/website and is widely respected among the motion-picture community. Byrge has covered virtually all the top film festivals and awards shows (Oscars Grammys, Emmys, Golden Globes) in the entertainment industry. From the vantage of a newspaper that the entertainment industry reads with obsessive regularity, Byrge has been an “insiders-insider,” privy to the inner-workings and behind-the-scenes realities of the entertainment business.
His novel, The Red Carpet at Cannes, is the first in a mystery series based on a film critic turned detective. It is available on Amazon. He has three previous non-fiction books on film published, most recently, Behind the Scenes with Hollywood Producers. It features interviews with 14 top movie producers, including nine who have won Oscars for Best Picture. Byrge has also completed a novel set at the Cannes Film Festival, On The Red Carpet at Cannes. A murder-mystery centered on a film critic, it is currently being excerpted on the leading movie website, hollywooddementia.com.
Byrge has also served as program director for the American Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival, interviewing such celebrities as Tim Robbins and securing the participation of Francis Ford Coppola, among numerous stars and studio chieftains. He was the first national journalist to cover the Sundance Film Festival, beginning in 1984 while still a grad student at USC.
Among his many movie-related endeavors, Byrge organized and wrote/hosted career tributes to Halle Berry, Sigourney Weaver, Clint Eastwood, Ron Howard, Shirley MacLaine and Robin Williams at the Chicago International Film Festival, where he has also served as a jury member. He has traveled to Berlin and Cannes to help program the Chicago festival.
A Wisconsin native, Byrge holds a Ph.D. in communications, with an emphasis in Cinema, from the University of Southern California where he has served as a lecturer. His Ph.D. dissertation was the basis for the book The Screwball Comedy Films, which he co-authored. The book was issued as a hardcover in 1991 and re-released in paperback as part of the McFarland Classics series.
For the American Film Institute, Byrge edited and compiled a series of star interviews. Turner Publishing released Private Screenings in 1995. Eighty motion picture stars – performers, directors, producers, composers, etc -- participated in the book, including: Jimmy Stewart, George Lucas, Clint Eastwood, Jodie Foster, Steven Spielberg, Angela Lansbury, Martin Scorsese, Robert Redford, Gene Kelly, among the list of luminaries.
In addition for the AFI, Byrge has been an adjunct faculty, where he programmed and moderated the Directors on Directing course, interviewing on-stage more than 100 directors.
Byrge has also written for primetime network television, including network programs for Aaron Spelling Prods. He has also served on other film festival juries, from Montreux to Tokyo, and has appeared a guest panelist and featured speaker at a wide range of festivals and events. Byrge hosted and interviewed Jodie Foster before an audience of nearly 1,700 at the Santa Barbara Film Festival.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has frequently called on him to serve as interviewer-host of the Academy’s salute to “In the Heat of the Night,” where Byrge introduced a restored print of the Oscar-winning film to virtually the entire membership. Following a screening, he conducted an on-stage interview with the principals: Norman Jewison, Sidney Poitier, Walter Mirisch, Rod Steiger, Quincy Jones, Haskell Wexler and Lee Grant.
An 18-year member of the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn., Byrge has appeared as a guest on numerous TV shows, including: “E!,” “NBC Nightly News With Tom Brokaw” and Fox TV.