His most recent film, An Immortal Man, is a short documentary commissioned by ESPN for their 30 for 30 series. An Immortal Man seeks to unravel the mystery surrounding Ted Williams’ end of life. When the record setting hitter passed on July 5th, 2002, his body was cryonically preserved at Alcor International and the unconventional decision shocked the nation. From contradicting facts and multiple wills, to family disputes, the line between fact and fiction was blurred in the media hysteria that followed the icon's death. The 15 minute short documentary was completed this past August and had its World Premiere at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival in the International Short Competition.
In 2013, Koury again partnered with Kane to co-direct the project. We Will Live Again is a 12-minute documentary short about the Cryonics Institute in Clinton Township, MI. The film follows a small group of people who run the cryonics facility, freezing bodies post-mortem with the hope that future science will advance to allow for the frozen patients’ revival. The film had its World Premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival and had a full festival run thereafter. We Will Live Again was released online and selected as a Short of the Week and Vimeo Staff Pick receiving over 100,000 views in the first week of its launch.
In 2010, Koury and Kane to co-directed a feature documentary film about Troy Berniernand Eric Swain, two scientists turned amateur filmmakers creating a homemade sci-fi inspired movie called Planet X. While their crash-course style of filmmaking can be humorous, the results are surprisingly beautiful and reflective of their passion for science fiction. Bernier and Swain’s struggle to execute their vision speaks to the challenges of the independent filmmaking process. Journey to Planet X premiered at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival and went on to screen at 18 film festivals worldwide, picking up a grand jury award at the Flyway Film Festival and audience award for best documentary at the Fort Lauderdale Film Festival. Later that year, the film was picked up by EPIX and in 2013 had its broadcast premiere as an EPIX Original documentary. Kent Jones from The Rachel Maddow Blog called the film "Hilarious and moving" and Matt Singer from the Sundance channel declared the film "a love letter to friendship and a testament to the power the movies hold over our collective imaginations." The film went on to receive praise from The Hollywood Reporter, Indiewire, Screen International, and a number of other publications.
Koury's 2nd feature length documentary, We Are Wizards, began production in 2006. The documentary wove together stories of young fans and artists involved in the Harry Potter community that had developed around the book series. The film follows a collection of remarkable fans who used the books as a catalyst for artist expression, personal growth, and to overcome obstacles in their lives. Song Hia from the online film and music magazine Tiny Mix Tapes wrote, “We Are Wizards isn't so much about Harry Potter as it is about the power of stories to inspire creativity, act as a springboard for careers, and cope with tragedy." The film had its world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival in 2008 and traveled to 17 film festivals worldwide before opening theatrically in NYC. Laremy Legal from Film.com declared the film “one of the best 10 films from 2008”, and Aaron Hillis from IFC said the film was “Heartfelt and hugely entertaining.” The film went on to receive praise from Entertainment Weekly, Salon.com, Time Out New York, and Filmmaker Magazine.
Standing by Yourself, Koury's first feature-length documentary, is told through the eyes of his teenage brother, Adam and his childhood friend, Siegfried, as they struggle with the dichotomy of growing up in a working class household amidst a privileged environment. The intimacy of the relationship between the director and his subjects allowed for a complicated and nuanced portrait, tracking the teenage boys as they walked the suburban landscape creating havoc wherever they went, all in the pursuit of getting high. In a NYTimes review, David Kehr wrote, "Mr. Koury leaves us with the sense that while Adam will probably shape up into a responsible member of society, Siegfried has nowhere to go but further down and farther out. With the last shot of Siegfried, standing, as the title says, by himself, Mr. Koury strikes a muffled note of pathos that is quietly devastating.” In Variety, Scott Foundas wrote that “these two teenage boys, desperate to harness identities for themselves, amid a flood of raging hormones and the pressure to “become men” (whatever that means), are representatives of an entire generation.” Standing by Yourself premiered at the Slamdance Film Festival in 2002 and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize. It opened theatrically in NYC and was critically acclaimed for its unconventional fly-on-the-wall realism.
Koury co-founded the Brooklyn Underground Film Festival (BUFF) in 2001 in collaborated with Myles Kane and Cris Moris. The five-day event focused on showcasing daring and innovative low-budget films. As the festival’s Programming Director, Koury programmed 120 films annually, personally securing titles and filmmakers. The audience was cultivated from the growing Brooklyn-based arts community and the film fest was seen as an underground counterpart to some of the larger festivals in NYC. Darren D’addario from Time Out New York wrote, “Festival co-founder and Programmer Josh Koury has kept his commitment to showcase personal filmmaking that’s often experimental and controversial, in a unique environment.”
In 2004, Koury joined the programming team at the Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF). Working under the guidance of Programming Director, Rajendra Roy, he was mentored in the art of programming films for the affluent and art savvy Hamptons audience. In 2005, he was promoted to Programming Manager and took over curating the short film and later, the feature competition sections of the festival. Koury personally championed Martin McDonough’s live action short, Six Shooter, and secured its US premiere at HIFF. This qualified the short film for an Oscar.
Download Josh Koury's current CV here