Jay Holben is an independent producer and director in Los Angeles, California. His most recent work is the feature romantic drama Before the Dawn.
A former cinematographer, he is an author of two commercially-published books on cinematography, a contributing editor for American Cinematographer Magazine, faculty instructor for Global Cinematography Institute and international lecturer, an Associate member of the ASC and the co-chair of the ASC Motion Imaging Technology Council Lens Committee.
Making his start in the theater community in Phoenix, Arizona, Jay Holben directed several plays before transitioning into the filmmaking world. Moving to Los Angeles, he quickly made his way through the ranks from electrician to Director of Photography where he worked for nearly a decade on features, commercials, television and music videos.
Prior to his work as a Cinematographer, he worked as a Gaffer on many popular music videos for Korn, Brandy, Shaquille O'Neal and Ice Cube in addition to feature films such as Free Enterprise.
As a director, his short film, Paranoid, which was adapted from the poem by Stephen King, garnered overwhelming praise for its stylistic excellence as well as high praise and support from Mr. King. An even shorter effort, an amazingly terse 50 second horror project, Hunger was spotlighted as one of Director John Carpenter's favorites for a Halloween special he hosted on American Movie Classics and hailed by the New York Post critic Linda Stasi as her favorite of the show.
Holben followed up those shorts with, Descent, a thrilling tale of a woman trapped in an elevator with the man she witnessed brutally murder her best friend. Descent had an extremely successful run at the festival circuit playing all around the world and winning several top awards.
As a producer, Holben has helmed independent feature films, a television series, documentaries, short films and commercials. Additionally, he is a former Technical Editor and frequent contributing writer for American Cinematographer magazine, a former Technical Editor and columnist for Digital Video magazine and the current lighting columnist for TV Technology magazine in addition to contributing for several years to the prominent trade newspaper The Hollywood Reporter. He is also the author of the highly lauded independent lighting manual: A Shot in the Dark: A Creative DIY Guide to Digital Video Lighting on (Almost) No Budget and the compilation of a decade of cinematographic journalism in Behind the Lens: Dispatches from the Cinematographic Trenches.
As an educator, Holben is faculty for the Global Cinematography Institute and the head of the education program for Hollywood Shorts helming their monthly Cinematography Lab lecture series sponsored by Panavision. He is also an international lecturer on the art and science of cinematography.
In his more than 20 years in the motion picture business, Holben has, professionally, embodied every major role in production and post on a film set with the exceptions of makeup/hair, craft service, composer, stunt performer and production assistant.
"He learned at an early age that one of the keys to being a successful filmmaker was to understand the jobs of everyone on the set."
- Michael Edwards, writing on Jay Holben, Entertainment Showcase
In addition to directing, producing and cinematography, Holben has been an actor in theater and film (Screen Actor's Guild member), writer, electrician, best boy, gaffer, grip, dolly grip, key grip, rigger, master flyman, camera assistant, camera operator, carpenter, scenic painter, set designer, props builder, set decorator, costume designer, boom operator, sound mixer, special effects technician, visual effects artist, graphic designer, compositor, script supervisor, assistant director, stage manager, still photographer, unit production manager, line producer, foley artist, dialogue editor, assistant editor, editor, color timer, accountant, titles artist, publicist, web designer, DVD designer and engineer and more. His extraordinary, and vastly well-rounded, resume makes him uniquely qualified as both a director and producer who has, nearly literally, been 'in everyone's shoes.'
His ability to manage and troubleshoot with every department head is uncanny and provides for phenomenally efficient filmmaking.