Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris

Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
Born (1957-07-07) July 7, 1957
Alameda County, California, U.S. (Dayton)
(1958-10-20) October 20, 1958
Los Angeles County, California, U.S. (Faris)
Occupation Film directors, music video directors
Notable work Little Miss Sunshine

Jonathan Dayton (born July 7, 1957) and Valerie Faris (born October 20, 1958) are a team of American film directors and music video directors, also husband and wife, that received critical acclaim for their feature film directorial debut, Little Miss Sunshine. Later the couple went on to direct the 2012 romantic comedy-drama Ruby Sparks, which was also met with a positive critical consensus.

Life and career

Dayton was born in Alameda County, California and grew up in Grass Valley, California. After graduating from Ygnacio Valley High School in Concord, California, attended the UCLA Film School, studying film and television in the late-1970s; while there, he met Valerie Faris, a dance student and native of Los Angeles County, California, who became his wife and his partner.

As a pair, they have directed and produced music videos, documentaries, commercials and films. They have directed music videos for bands such as Oasis, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beastie Boys, and R.E.M.. Their 1996 video for "Tonight Tonight" by The Smashing Pumpkins won six MTV Video Music Awards. Another video of theirs that received significant success was for the 1990 Extreme song "More Than Words".[1]

They directed a number of sketches for the 1995-1998 HBO sketch comedy series Mr. Show.[1]

In 1998, they established a production company, "Bob Industries". Through this company the pair directed commercials for companies such as HP, Volkswagen, Sony, GAP, Target, Ikea, Apple Computer, and ESPN. Most famously, the two directed a 1999 commercial for the Volkswagen Cabrio, titled "Milky Way", whose soundtrack consisted entirely of the 1972 Nick Drake song "Pink Moon", and which is credited with single-handedly initiating a massive revival of interest in Nick Drake's music.[2]

They began to be offered feature films to direct at around this time; among projects that they turned down were The Mod Squad (1999) and Bad Boys II (2003).[1]

In 2001, they began to work on the film Little Miss Sunshine; it was released in 2006.[1] The film won the Audience Award at the 2006 Sydney Film festival and an ovation at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture.

In 2006, the pair were announced as the directors of a planned screen adaptation of Tom Perrotta's novel The Abstinence Teacher for Warner Independent Pictures.[3] In 2007 Perrotta wrote a screenplay with input from Dayton and Faris.[4] However, by 2012 they had left the project, and it was taken over by director Lisa Cholodenko.[5]

Their next film was Ruby Sparks in 2012.

As of 2013, the pair are slated to direct the film I'm Proud of You, based on the book of the same name by Tim Madigan about his friendship with Fred Rogers.[6]

In 2016, production began on Battle of the Sexes, directed by Dayton and Faris. In the film, about the infamous tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, Emma Stone will portray King, and Steve Carell will portray Riggs. The film will also star Elisabeth Shue, Alan Cumming, and Sarah Silverman, and is due for release in 2017.






Executive producers


Live action directors


Special Projects


  • Directors Guild of America Award nomination for Little Miss Sunshine (Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures)
  • BAFTA nomination for Little Miss Sunshine (David Lean Award for Direction)
  • Independent Spirit Award for Little Miss Sunshine (Director)
  • Best Director at Tokyo International Film Festival for Little Miss Sunshine
  • ANDY Award for Sony PlayStation "Gravity Bomb" (Advertising Club of New York)
  • Sony PlayStation "Gravity Bomb" (Clio Award)
  • Sony PlayStation campaign: "Gravity Bomb / Tractor Beam" (2004 Winner Advertising Club of New York)
  • Sony PlayStation campaign: "Gravity Boots, Gravity Bomb, Tractor Beam" (Clio Award)
  • Director of the Year (Billboard Music Award, 2000)
  • Best Direction, "Californication" (MTV Video Music Awards)
  • 9 Nominations for "Freak On A Leash" (MTV Video Music Awards)
  • 4 Nominations for The Smashing Pumpkins "The End Is The Beginning Is The End" (MTV Video Music Awards)
  • 5 Nominations for "Californication" (MTV Video Music Awards)
  • Best Short Form Video, "Freak On A Leash" (Grammy Awards)
  • Nomination for Oasis "All Around the World" (Grammy Awards)
  • Nomination for The Smashing Pumpkins "Tonight Tonight" (Grammy Awards)
  • 6 Awards for The Smashing Pumpkins "Tonight Tonight" (MTV Video Music Awards)
  • Best Alternative Video for The Smashing Pumpkins "1979" (MTV Video Music Awards)
  • 3 Nominations for Porno for Pyros "Pets" (MTV Video Music Awards)
  • Best Alternative Video for Jane's Addiction "Been Caught Stealing" (MTV Video Music Awards)
  • Best Longform Video for Janet Jackson "Rhythm Nation 1814" (Grammy Awards)


  1. 1 2 3 4 Evans, Bradford (July 19, 2012). "The Lost Projects of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris". Splitsider.
  2. Vaziri, Aidin (April 11, 2000). "Nick Drake's "Pink Moon" is Rising". Rolling Stone.
  3. LaPorte, Nicole, and Pamela McClintock. "'Sunshine' duo in talks for next feature: Dayton, Faris may adapt 'Abstinence Teacher'", Variety, 2006-12-06. Retrieved on 2007-07-07.
  4. Schwartz, Missy. "The Q&A: Tom Perrotta: His Novel Take on Suburban Life", Entertainment Weekly, 2007-10-15. Retrieved on 2007-10-20.
  5. Vineyard, Jen (May 11, 2012). "Exclusive: Lisa Cholodenko Confirms She'll Direct 'The Abstinence Teacher' & Heads Into The 'Wild' With Reese Witherspoon". IndieWire > The Playlist.
  6. Bishop, Bryan (September 28, 2013). "'Little Miss Sunshine' directors sign up for Mr. Rogers movie 'I'm Proud of You'". The Verge.
  7. Britney Spears, "When Your Eyes Say It",
  8. Champagne, Christine. "Arnold Worldwide, Dayton/Faris Give Volkswagen "The Check Up": Short Premieres At Sundance, Featured Attraction On Interactive DVD", Shoot, vol. 46 no. 4, 2005-02-11; mov.

External links

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