︎ WORK / s
02. BIO
03. PRESS

Bio




Photo by Max Zerrahn for Suhrkamp Magazine

GRANDVIEW
Tracy Kopulsky, Manager


UTA
Ryan Lucas and Rachel Viola, Theater
Luke Murphy, TV
Amanda Smith, Film

SUHRKAMP
Anna-Katharina Müller, Editor

Sam Max (b. 1995, Western Pennsylvania) is a writer and director working in film and performance. They are known for centering queer characters in “poetic spaces where death and dreams converge, making otherworldly encounters possible” (Suhrkamp Verlag). Their “seductive and unnerving” work (Filmmaker Magazine) frequently references and perverts genre expectations in horror, thriller, and noir. They also draw visual inspiration from the Rust Belt, where they were raised. Recently, Sam is one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film,” a recipient of the 2021 Lotos Foundation Prize in the Arts and Sciences, the winner of the 2022 Horizon Award (24fps), a nominee for the 2022 Iris Prize in Filmmaking, a resident playwright of New Dramatists (2021-2029), and a recent acquisition of Suhrkamp Theater Verlag in Berlin, where their written work is published in translation. In 2018 they were named to the Young & Hungry List tracking Hollywood’s Top 100 New Writers.

Their first film, CHAPERONE (2021) premiered at Sundance Film Festival competing for the Short Film Grand Jury Prize. The film was named one of IndieWire’s “10 Must-See Shorts” of the festival, and was deemed a “formally assured and chillingly acted” highlight of the 2022 programming (Filmmaker Magazine). Additional highlights: Shortlist for the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes, Palm Springs (Jury Special Mention, Best U.S. Short), Turin Horror (Jury Special Mention, Best Short), Overlook, Fantasia, Brooklyn Horror (Best Cinematography), Philadelphia (Honorable Mention - Best Screenplay), NewFest, and Inside Out. Their second short film TICKS (2022) was commissioned by Hulu and stars Brigette Lundy-Paine, Massima Bell, and Erin Markey. Sam is  currently developing their first feature. 

As a playwright, stage director, and performance artist, Sam’s work includes PIDOR AND THE WOLF (Chesley Bumbalo Playwriting Award, Finalist/O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Honorable Mention/The Relentless Award), TWIN SIZE BEDS (Under the Radar Festival, Museum of Sex, Joe’s Pub), COOP (Paradise Factory Theater, Theatertreffen-Stückemarkt Berlin, Goethe-Institut Beijing, Upcoming: ETA Hoffmann Theater), and THIS IS MY FAVORITE SONG (Abrons Arts Center). In addition, Sam is a founding member of the performance collective I AM A SLOW TIDE. In various creative production roles they have contributed to the performance work of Erin Markey, Dane Terry, Esperanza Spalding, Grace McLean, Francesca D’Uva, Amy León, Ripe Time/Rachel Dickstein, Phantom Limb, and more. In development: (MEMOIR, workshop-Mercury Store), and a new untitled commission for Deutsches Theater Berlin’s ensemble, in 2024. 

Sam has developed their work as a member of the María Irene Fornés Institute Writers Workshop, The Public’s Devised Theater Working Group, and Pipeline Theatre Company’s PlayLab Writers Group. They have also received residencies and support from The Mercury Store, The Workshop, The Mastheads, National Sawdust, the Hermitage Artists Retreat, and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. 

Sam is a graduate of the University of Evansville’s Theatre program (2017), holding a degree in Theatre Performance and a minor in Social Ethics/Philosophy, summa cum laude



︎