Nanette Burstein studied film at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
In 1997 she collaborated on her first film with Brett Morgen, producing and directing On the Ropes, a low-budget documentary that follows the fates of three young boxers and their trainer. The film, shot mainly on BetaSP, was nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary (feature length), won Special Jury Prize for Documentary at Sundance, won the Directors Guild of America’s award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary. The film also won the International Documentary Association’s Feature Documentary award, a Silver Spire at the San Francisco International Film Festival, the Urbanworld Film Festival Best Documentary, and the Land Grant Award at the Taos Talking Picture Festival. The film was also nominated for an Independent Spirit Award (“Truer than Fiction” award).
In 1998 with Nancy Tong she co-wrote the script for Tong’s matter-of-fact documentary In the Name of the Emperor of the massacre of over 300,000 Chinese civilians by the Japanese in the so-called Rape of Nanjing in 1937.
In 2002 she and Morgen teamed up again for the Robert Evans biography The Kid Stays in the Picture. The film was very positively reviewed and won the International Press Academy, Boston Society of Film Critics, and Seattle Film Critics award for Best Documentary. It was also nominated for Best Documentary by the Chicago, Online, Phoenix and Broadcast Film Critics.
In 2004, she produced a documentary television show Film School for IFC with Jordan Roberts, following four film students at their alma mater, Tisch. In 2007 Burstein was executive producer and writer on the VH1 Rock Doc NY77: The Coolest Year In Hell which showcases the rise of hip hop, punk, disco, and graffiti in New York City in 1977. She also executive produced the doc American Shopper.
Her documentary American Teen was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. For the project, she lived in the small town of Warsaw, Indiana for 10 months, filming daily. She ended up with 1000 hours of footage, which took a year to edit.
Nanette’s other commercial work has garnered much attention form the media with high-profile spots for clients likeVerizon, Marshalls, HomeGoods, Avon, Coke, and Walmart. In 2013, she was one of four directors nominated for a commercial Emmy for her poignant Google Chrome spot Jess Time.
Nanette is currently traveling the world directing commercial projects as well as various episodes of tv shows including New Girl and The Carrie Diaries.
When not traveling, she lives in New York and co-owns a Manhattan bar The Half-King, with Scott Anderson and Sebastian Junger. Nanette is married and the mother of one daughter.
Winning Project: American Teen