Teodoro Maniaci

Infobox Person

image_size = 150px
name = Teodoro Maniaci
caption =
birth_name =
birth_date =
birth_place = New York
death_date =
residence = Brooklyn, New York
known_for = Documentary "One Nation Under God", cinematography for "Tao of Steve" and TV specials
education = Tufts University, Graduate Film School of New York University
employer = Self-employed
occupation = cinematographer, director
salary =
religion =
spouse =
partner = yes
children = none

Teodoro Maniaci is an award-winning American cinematographer and documentary director, with dozens of motion pictures and television shows to his credit. While his other films have gotten lots of reviews in "the business", he is best known to both the movie-going public and film-studies academics as the director of the ex-gay documentary, "One Nation Under God".

Personal life and education

Maniaci was born and raised in Long Island, New York. He attended Tufts University outside of Boston, Massachusetts and received a master's degree from New York University Film School in 1990. [ [http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/shaolinulysses/filmmakers.html PBS Biography] ] [ [http://www.cinematographers.nl/PaginasDoPh/maniaci.htm Cinematographers web site] ]

He is a member of the Directors of Photography Union, Local 600. [ [http://www.newyork411.com/Crew/Directors_of_Photography_Local_600_NY/Index.cfm?cid=2265&alphaID=M Local 600 listing] ]

Maniaci currently lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York with his partner. Fact|date=August 2007

Career as a cinematographer

Maniaci has filmed an extensive body of work as a cinematographer, including most notably, "Clean, Shaven" and "Tao of Steve". [ [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0542364/ IMdB web site] ] [ [http://www.channel4.com/film/reviews/person.jsp?id=35403 Chanell4 Film listings] ] He has also contributed to a large number of films that have not made a lot of notice outside the Hollywood "business". [For the most complete listing, better than IMdB, see [http://www.cinematographers.nl/PaginasDoPh/maniaci.htm Cinematographers web site] ] [ [http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/shaolinulysses/filmmakers.html PBS Bio] ] These include "Party Monster", [ [http://dir.salon.com/story/ent/movies/review/2003/09/05/party_monster/index.html Party Monster] ] "Outsourced", [http://www.psfilmfest.org/festival/film/detail.aspx?FID=29&id=12844 PS Films Fest on "Outsourced"] ] [ [http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117931647.html?categoryid=31&cs=1 Variety on "Outsourced"] ] and "Inside Deep Throat". [http://www.phase9.tv/movies/insidedeepthroat.shtml Phase 9 on "Inside Deep Throat"] ] Another of his recent films, "The Business of Strangers", has gotten good reviews. [David Mulholland, quoted at [http://www.filmfestivals.com/cgi-bin/fest_content/festivals.pl?debug=&channelbar=&lang=en&year=2002&fest=paris&page=films&partner=&film_id=2304 Paris Film Festival for "The Business of Strangers"] ] [James Berardinelli review at [http://www.reelviews.net/movies/b/business_strangers.html Reel Reviews"The Business of Strangers"] ] [Cynthia Fuchs, editor, review at [http://www.popmatters.com/pm/reviews/article/34606/business-of-strangers Pop Matters on "The Business of Strangers"] ]

Furthermore, he was the director of photography for at least five major television specials: "Saturday Night Live in the '90s: Pop Culture Nation, Saturday Night Live in the '80s: Lost & Found, Bette Midler Sings the Peggy Lee Songbook, Live from New York: The First 5 Years of Saturday Night Live," and "Sex and the City: A Farewell". [ [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0542364/ IMdB web site] ] [ [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb5143/is_200705/ai_n19218082 SNL 90's review] ] [ [http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/search/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001477878 SNL] ]

He was director of photography for "Shaolin Ulysses", which was shown on PBS. [http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/shaolinulysses/filmmakers.html PBS on "Shaolin Ulysses"] ] [ [http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/shaolinulysses/credits.html Credits for "Shaolin Ulysses"] ]

Maniaci was a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Black Bear Film Festival in Milford, Pennsylvania, and has won several awards for his work. [ [http://www.cinematographers.nl/PaginasDoPh/maniaci.htm Cinematographers web site] ] He has filmed several music videos and short films. [ [http://www.cinematographers.nl/PaginasDoPh/maniaci.htm Cinematographers web site] ] One such short film was "Reality" in 2003, which was featured in the Woodstock Film Festival. [ [http://www.woodstockfilmfestival.com/archives/2004schedule/shorts.focusonmusic2004.php Reality (2003)] ]

When interviewed, Manianci found it difficult to describe his personal style to film-making:quote|"If you look at the films I’ve shot," Maniaci says, "you’d be hard-pressed to say there’s a single person behind them. They're all really different looking, different styles of filmmaking. Lodge Kerrigan’s "Claire Dolan", for instance, is an incredibly formal art film with very precise, almost geometric sort of chrome-and-glass photography. It’s very voyeuristic. Whereas in "The Opportunists" the camera is invisible. The shots are carefully chosen, but the film is not about the camerawork. It doesn't call attention to itself."
Pressed to characterize his approach, Maniaci explains, "My style is highly adaptive. I try to create a look that’s appropriate for each film. It’s not about me attaching myself [to a project] and it becoming about me. It’s about me becoming part of it – trying to figure out what that project wants to be. Lodge Kerrigan’s "Clean, Shaven", for instance, was very intense and gritty" – the polar opposite of "Claire Dolan". "Michael Benson’s "Predictions of Fire", on the other hand, is a highly stylized propaganda film for a political art movement, and Bette Gordon’s "Luminous Motion" is a strange psychodrama with surreal overtones."| [http://www.filmmakermagazine.com/spring2000/columns/backpage.php Filmmaker Magazine web site]

For future work, he claims, "I’d love to do a sci-fi rocker film. We need a good sci-fi rocker movie!" [ [http://www.filmmakermagazine.com/spring2000/columns/backpage.php Filmmaker Magazine web site] ]


"Filmmaker Magazine" screened two early films shot by Maniaci, and reviewed them favorably:quote|Jenniphr (sic) Goodman's "The Tao of Steve" and Myles Connell’s "The Opportunists" were two of the more striking- looking films at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Although they differ dramatically – one exploits the expansive landscape of Sante Fe, N.M., as backdrop for a philosophical romantic comedy; the other portrays the idiosyncrasies of an outer-borough auto mechanic (and reformed safecracker) with incisive neighborhood detail. They were both shot by the same cinematographer, Teodoro Maniaci.
Since graduating from N.Y.U. film school in 1990, Maniaci has built a DP reel distinguished as much by its high quality as by the eclectism of its styles.|(emphasis added) [http://www.filmmakermagazine.com/spring2000/columns/backpage.php Filmmaker Magazine web site]

He received the AMPAS Cinematography Award for "The Savage Sleep" and the Hamptons International Film Festival Cinematography Award for "Searching for Paradise". [ [http://www.cinematographers.nl/PaginasDoPh/maniaci.htm Cinematographers web site] ]

"Outsourced" was featured at the Seattle International Film Festival to acclaim. The official festival synopsis and review was:quote|After his entire Seattle call-center department is outsourced, Todd succeeds in hanging onto his job only by agreeing to go to India to train his own replacement. With such bemusing cross-cultural comedy at hand, can love be far behind? Culture-shocks and obvious stereotypes are wittily sidestepped in this warm and charming crowd-pleaser.| [http://www.seattlefilm.org/festival/film/detail.aspx?id=21231&fid=32 Seattle International Film Festival web site] [ [http://www.seattlefilm.org/festival/film/detail.aspx?id=21231&fid=32 Seattle International Film Festival web site] ]

"Clean, Shaven" was given "un certain regard" at the Cannes Film Festival, a runner's-up prize. [ [http://www.festival-cannes.com/index.php/en/archives/artist/14061 Cannes Film Festival Guide] ]

Maniaci's cinematography in the "Tao of Steve" was given special praise by one reviewer:

Lodge Kerrigan gave Maniaci thanks as a team player in an interview about the filming of "Claire Dolan":

That film's "sex scene" was given special kudos:

David Mulholland wrote for The Paris Film Festival that "The Business of Strangers" has a unique feel. In his words:

Another reviewer wrote about the camera work in that film in this way:


While Maniaci has scored a number of hits, some have not received public acclaim. Rotten Tomatoes gave him only a 69% on their "Tomatometer". [ [http://www.rottentomatoes.com/celebrity/teodoro_maniaci/ Rotten Tomatoes web site] ]

"Tao of Steve"

Maniaci's most critically acclaimed early work was the "Tao of Steve", which he co-directed with Jennifr Goodman, and was a hit at the Sundance Film Festival. [ [http://www.deconstructingsundance.com/FESTIVAL2000_DRAMATICCOMPETITION_The%20Tao%20of%20Steve Sundance note on the Tao of Steve] ]

It had generally favorable reviews. [ [http://www.prairienet.org/ejahiel/tao_of_steve.htm Prairie net review of "Tao of Steve"] ] [ [http://www.sick-boy.com/taoofsteve.htm Sick Boy review of "Tao of Steve"] ] [ [http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/movies/taoq.shtml Seattle paper review of "Tao of Steve"] ] [ [http://worldfilm.about.com/library/weekly/aa092200a.htm Tao of Steve] ] [ [http://www.metroactive.com/papers/metro/08.10.00/taoofsteve-0032.html review of "Tao of Steve"] ] [ [http://www.dvdjournal.com/quickreviews/t/taoofsteve.q.shtml review of "Tao of Steve"] ] However, it received a 6.6 from "Rotten Tomatoes". [ [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0234853/ "Tao of Steve" on IMdB] ] .

"One Nation Under God"

Of all the films he has worked on, the one most identified with Maniaci is "One Nation Under God", about the Ex-gay movement, in particular the Exodus movement. He was both co-producer and co-director for this 1993 documentary.


This film is about how lesbians and gay men try to become "ex-gay". The film focuses on one ex-ex-gay male couple, but also shows how through such techniques as the women wearing make-up and the men doing butch or macho mannerisms. It also includes black and white archival footage. [ [http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/one_nation_under_god/about.php Rotten Tomatoes synopsis of "One Nation Under God"] ] It also goes in some historical background, for context. [Walter Goodman, "Review/Television; Disputing the View That Homosexuality Is an Illness" "New York Times", June 20, 1994, found at [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0CEED6123DF933A15755C0A962958260 "New York Times" review] ]

Yahoo describes it as "A documentary about the contemporary struggle for gay and lesbian civil rights, focusing on the religious, right-wing proliferation of curative therapies for homosexuality." [ [http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/1809394367/info Yahoo Movies synopsis] ]

"Judge" Patrick Bromley at DVD Verdict gives a fuller synposis:

Critical response

In 1993, Maniaci shared the "Audience Award" at the San Francisco Lesbian & Gay Film Festival for "One Nation Under God". [ [http://www.cinematographers.nl/PaginasDoPh/maniaci.htm Cinematographers web site] ] [ [International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival San Francisco, California www.frameline.org] ] [ [http://www.planetout.com/popcornq/db/getfilm.html?415 PopcornQ - Planet Out web site] ]

The documentary was shown on the PBS television show, "P.O.V." in 1994. The New York Times reviewed that showing on Channel 13 for the New York City market, giving a mixed blessing. The reviewer liked many parts, but demurred, "Unfortunately, "One Nation Under God" has a patchy, jumpy, overdone quality. The producers can't bear to leave bad enough alone: suddenly you find yourself watching homosexuals being rounded up by German Nazis. Nor can the producers resist some mushy proselytizing." [Walter Goodman, "Review/Television; Disputing the View That Homosexuality Is an Illness" "New York Times", June 20, 1994, found at [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0CEED6123DF933A15755C0A962958260 "New York Times" review] ] In concluding, he wrote, "A significant argument is advanced here that opinions about homosexuality have less to do with science than with religion, morals and politics. If the producers had been able to contain themselves, develop that argument in a more coherent way and make their case without decoration, "One Nation Under God" might have been a considerably more consequential work." [Walter Goodman, "Review/Television; Disputing the View That Homosexuality Is an Illness" "New York Times", June 20, 1994, found at [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0CEED6123DF933A15755C0A962958260 "New York Times" review] ]

The movie was rated by PlanetOut's PopcornQ with 4 Stars, and described as a "riveting documentary (that) offers the most dynamic historical overview of gays and lesbians in modern American society since "Before Stonewall"." [ [http://www.planetout.com/popcornq/db/getfilm.html?415 PopcornQ review] ]

It receives a A-minus at Yahoo films. [ [http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/1809394367/info Yahoo Movies review] ] Amazon.com customers have given it a 3.5 stars out of 5. [ [http://www.amazon.com/dp/customer-reviews/B0001WTVRU Amazon.com Cusotmer reviews of "One Nation Under God"] ] "One Nation Under God" garned a measely 6.8 out of 10 on IMdB. [ [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107748/ "One Nation Under God" on IMdB] ]

DVD Verdict gave it a 79, stating, in part:quote|The documentary itself is not even particularly well made; it only captivates the way that it does because of its subject matter, aspects of which, thanks to some recent legal battles, seem more relevant today than ever before. Yet it's directly because of the controversial nature of the topic that I almost wish the filmmakers had explored it with more depth—the finished product is a bit simplistic in its approach, with the "reformers" coming off a bit too clownish.... The film clearly sides with the homosexual community ....
Though "One Nation Under God" comes close to succeeding, it falls short as both a film and a documentary in the end. It has its merits — not only does it provide a compelling look into a little-known movement, but also traces some of the roots of American homophobia and exclusion. At the same time, however, it does little more than reinforce what you might already believe; the opposing views are so polarized that there can be no in-between. While there's certainly no film that's going to convince me that homosexuality is wrong or needs "correcting," I wouldn't mind seeing a film that's a bit smarter, or raises better questions, or presents an opposing side that's less fanatical or more widely identifiable. After all, a much larger population is going to need their views challenged before we can come around as a society and make some significant changes.| [http://www.dvdverdict.com/reviews/onenationundergod.php DVD review]

DVD Talk rated it well, Francis Rizzo III writing:

Rotten Tomatoes has not rated the film. [ [http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/one_nation_under_god/ Rotten Tomatoes about "One Nation Under God"] ]

Cultural impact

Rare amongst indie documentaries with significant gay content, "One Nation Under God" has become fodder for academia in film studies. [http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p65177_index.html all academic web site] ] [ [http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/pwh/lgbcathbib14.html Fordham U syllabus] --Homosexuality and Catholicism Bibliography: Section XIV Lesbian and Gay Christian Movies and TV by Paul Halsall] [ [http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC/VideoLibrarian3.html Berkeley library] ]

In an article entitled "Bullets, Ballots and Bibles: Documenting the History of the Gay and Lesbian Struggle in America", the film "to a certain extent also embodies a traditional 'coming out' narrative." [Bruce R. Brasell, "Bullets, Ballots and Bibles: Documenting the History of the Gay and Lesbian Struggle in America" Cineaste v21, n4 (Fall, 1995):17 at [http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC/ComingOut.html Berkeley web site] ] In that article, scholar Bruce R. Brasell notes that the movie

The Brotherhood

In August 2007, Maniaci finished filming a new series for the Showtime television network. Fact|date=August 2007 The "Providence Journal" editorialized on the production of "Brotherhood (2006 TV series)" thusly:


ee also

* Beyond Ex-Gay

External links

* [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0542364/ IMdB page]
* [http://firstrunfeatures.com/title_o.html First Run Features web site]
* [http://www.outsourcedthemovie.com/ Outsourced the Movie official web site]
* [http://www.hopedance.org/new/videos.html Hope Dance official web site]
* [http://www.docurama.com/b2b/images/restricted/NVG9610.pdf KungFu Monks official web site]
* [http://law.usc.edu/library/publications/films.cfm USC law library film reserves]
* [http://thecareercookbook.com/article.php?article_id=10 The Career Cookbook profile]

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