A native of New Jersey, Don was a born artist. While earning a BFA in graphic arts and design, he also studied drawing, painting, photography. At design studios in New Jersey and New York, his clients included Lipton Tea and Random House Publishing. A solitary college class, however, kindled a dream to make films. To tempt fate, he applied to the NYU Graduate Film Institute. One of 23 applicants accepted of 3000, he left his design job to earn an MFA in film production. After establishing himself as a cinematographer in Phoenix, he crossed paths with Native people. It was there at PBS, he shot the award-winning 9-segment series, “American Indian Artists.” Though he later went to Hollywood, where he shot feature films, award winning documentaries, tv specials and music videos for songs such as “That’s What Friends Are For,” Native American projects kept finding him. Turning his attention to writing, he wrote 10 feature film scripts. Then, Hanna-Barbera recruited him as Director of Special Projects to develop live action projects, such as the CBS special “The Last Halloween,” an Emmy winner. Longing for a more rural life, in 1993, he relocated to Ojai, and launched Don Cirillo Productions. Centering on his writing, his productions included tv and radio spots, and Telly Award winning corporate videos. In 1997, after his own visionquest in the Sespe Wilderness, he added poetry and fiction to his repertoire. He has since finished 2 novels, and is completing 2 books of poetry. Contributing to “Bridgewalkers” is the most recent expression of Don’s closeness to Native people.
Don Cirillo | Writer/Narrator