Right before he got on a plane that would take him to film school in Germany, Mark had the fortuitous experience of getting on a phone call with Director David Fincher (Fincher’s Dad would annually trim holly from the Hoffman’s holly tree at Christmas time and Mark’s mother Sabra set up the call as exchange for years of holly trimming). The call was short but illuminated the one trait Mark without a doubt possessed.
‘Basically Fincher said “Are you sure you wanna direct? You better be prepared because directing is hard and a lot of work and not always fun.” He was right. I loved film, but more than anything I loved the process of film making and I wouldn’t have been able to keep directing if I didn’t love the hard work and the pain that comes with making something great.’
I love both the problem-solving, techy aspect of filmmaking, finding clever solutions, which when combined with expressing the human experience makes film special.’
Fittingly, the first eyes to be caught by Mark’s experimental films (shot and edited while in Germany), were those of legendary designer Kyle Cooper who at the time was a frequent collaborator of Fincher’s. Since that time Mark has gone on to win numerous awards as an editor, documentarian and director. His sleek, agile and intuitive storytelling ability as an editor is the anchor from which his conceptual, human, resourceful and wry sensibilities as a director flourish to create work that is infectious and powerful, especially when it is funny. Also purely evident in Mark’s work are his love for the tactile elements of nature and for sport, both a direct result of growing up fly-fishing and soccer addicted in Ashland, Oregon, raised by parents who love art, and the art of telling a good story.
‘Growing up in Oregon, surrounded by the emotive quality of nature, it makes you look inwards. Contemplation and an appreciation for natural patterns and beauty deeply affect my work and approach to things. My mother is an amazing artist, and her mother my grandmother was a life-long artist. On my father’s side, he’s a wonderful story-teller. He comes from Ohio and a part of the Midwest known for clever, sometimes surrealist dry humor and story-telling. My mother’s side of artistry and father’s side of story-telling – that’s essentially what goes into good filmmaking.’
When Mark is not directing you will find him worrying about the Portland Trail Blazers or building handmade cabinets for his wife Jutta and children Kai & Deryn.