David Burton Morris began his career by directing his first feature film, “Loose Ends”, while he was an MFA graduate student at UCLA. The film went on to play at over twenty international film festivals including the Sundance Film Festival. Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times discovered the film at its world premiere at the Chicago International Film Festival. Vincent Canby of The New York Times called it “one of the most interesting independent films I’ve seen in years”. It was also screened in 2011 as a part of a series entitled “Melancholy Masterpieces of the 70’s” at the Pacific Film Archives in Berkeley, California. The screenings included early films by Martin Scorsese, Terrence Malick, Hal Ashby and Elaine May.
In partnership with his wife, Victoria Wozniak, David directed “Purple Haze”, which won the Grand Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and has since turned into a ‘cult’ classic with fans still reaching out to the director from around the world to express their praise.
His follow up was the critically acclaimed “Patti Rocks” which won the Coup de Coeur (Grand Prize) at the Deauville International Film Festival in France. Upon release, the film played for eleven straight months in one Parisian cinema! The film was also nominated for five IFP Independent Spirit Awards, the independent film community’s equivalent of the Oscar. It played in competition at the prestigious Critics Week at the Venice International Film Festival where David received a standing ovation at the conclusion of the screening. “Patti Rocks” was the first motion picture in cinema history to be rated ‘X’ for its language. The rating was appealed twice and subsequently released with an ‘R’ rating. The New York Post called it “A sexual hand grenade of a film! Gut funny” and Newsday proclaimed the film was “A work of genius!”.
David began working at HBO for producer Francis Ford Coppola on his critically acclaimed series, “Vietnam War Story”. Each of his episodes were nominated for an ACE Award, and he won the award for Best Director for the episode “Dirty Work”. He continued to work for HBO where he co-wrote “Laguna Heat”, in which Rip Torn won an ACE Award for Best Actor. His next project was writing and directing the “Tales From The Crypt” episode, “Three’s A Crowd”, for producer Joel Silver. That episode received another Ace Award nomination for Best Director.
He continued his partnership with HBO Head of Programming Chris Albrecht, developing and directing the feature film, “Hometown Boy Makes Good.” He next went on to develop and direct the feature film “Jersey Girl” for producer David Madden and Interscope Films. The feature starred Dylan McDermott, Jamie Gertz and Aida Turturro and continues to be an audience favorite on streaming and cable television.
Following “Jersey Girl”, David returned to HBO and directed “A Body to Die For”, for which he and lead actor Ben Affleck each received Emmy nominations. David also received a Directors Guild of America nomination for Best Director. Still working in premium cable television he developed several projects at Showtime including “Under Color of Law” and “Parable of the Sower”, adapting the much-acclaimed novel from the ‘genius grant’ recipient, writer Octavia Butler.
Turning to network television for the first time, his Fox Movie of the Week, “The Price of Love”, received stellar reviews. The Los Angeles Times wrote: “A sensitive, deeply moving film,” and People Magazine proclaimed, “This is the TV movie format at its best.” USA TODAY added: “It’s a near perfect vehicle.” The telefilm also won The Prism Award for Socially Conscious Cinema. He then directed “The Almost Perfect Bank Robbery” for CBS starring Brooke Shields, Dylan Walsh and Rip Torn. The Los Angeles Times called the film “an engaging caper, a refreshing bit of Preston Sturges like daftness…sweet and poignant…where we find Brooke Shields finding her footing as a comic actress.”
His critically acclaimed Lifetime Network telefilm “Any Mother’s Son” received the prestigious GLAAD AWARD for Best Film and lead actress Bonnie Bedelia received a Best Actress Emmy nomination for her lead performance. His ABC Movie of the Week biopic about Sonny and Cher, “And The Beat Goes On”, was one of the Top Ten highest viewed movies of the year and was nominated for three Emmy Awards.
He then directed the CBS mini-series, “Jackie, A Life”, which was nominated for three Emmys and won the Golden Reel Award for Best Editing. That same year he and his wife developed “Wiggers” for MTV Films, a high school drama about suburban white kids emulating African Americans in dress and music.
After taking spending a number of years away from the business to focus on his family he returned and directed Roadside Attractions’ “Immigration Tango” and Lifetime’s “The Governor’s Wife”. He then partnered with Hallmark to deliver “Ice Dreams”, “Miles from Nowhere” starring Treat Williams and “Accidentally In Love” starring Jennie Garth. “Accidentally in Love” aired on the Hallmark Channel and was one of the highest rated cable films of the year with 3.3 million initial viewers.
In 2017 he partnered with Avenue Pictures and adapted the novel, “I Thought You Were Dead” (aka “Love for Morons”) and co-wrote “The Solace of Leaving Early”. He also started shooting “A Man of Wealth and Taste”, a documentary on a little known figure in the Rolling Stones’ inner circle, Prince Stash.
Currently he is out to cast on “Full Cleveland” a screenplay he co-wrote, scheduled to shoot in the Fall of 2022 with David Hillary producing for Ransom Films. He also has two mini-series’ in development. “Blood & Treasure” is a futuristic retelling of the War of 1848 with Mexico, reset in 2048. “The Commandments”, is an American version of the Polish mini-series, “The Decalogue.”
David is a founding member of the IFP/WEST. In 1989, he was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Director’s Branch.
To date, his directing work has garnered 25 award nominations, including seven Emmy Awards.