Shane Carruth

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Shane Carruth
Shane Carruth (8748841070).jpg
Carruth at South by Southwest 2013.
Born (1972-01-01) January 1, 1972 (age 48)
Alma mater Stephen F. Austin State University
  • Filmmaker
  • actor
  • composer
Years active2004–2020

Shane Carruth (born January 1, 1972) is an American former [1] filmmaker, screenwriter, composer, and actor. [2] [3] He is the writer, director, and co-star of the prize-winning science-fiction film Primer (2004), which was his debut feature. His second film, Upstream Color (2013), was an experimental science-fiction film which he wrote, directed, produced, edited, designed, and starred in. He also composed the scores for both films. In recognition of Carruth's idiosyncratic and, at times, bizarre filmmaking technique, director Steven Soderbergh told Entertainment Weekly, "I view Shane as the illegitimate offspring of David Lynch and James Cameron." [4]

Early life

Carruth was born in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on January 1, 1972. He attended Stephen F. Austin State University as a Mathematics major. [5] Before becoming a filmmaker, he worked as a developer of flight-simulation software. [4]



For his independent film Primer, Carruth wrote, directed, produced, and performed one of the two main roles; he also composed the score. The film was honored at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival with the Grand Jury Prize and the Alfred P. Sloan Award. Carruth, a former software engineer with an undergraduate degree in mathematics, [4] used his technical knowledge extensively on the project.

Upstream Color

On January 21, 2013, Carruth premiered his film Upstream Color at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. Dramatic Competition category. [6] Carruth, Johnny Marshall, and Pete Horner won the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Sound Design for the film. [7] Keith Kimbell wrote that it was the "most anticipated (and most difficult to describe) film in competition", and "most critics couldn't stop talking about it". [8] The film was released via VHX on April 5, 2013. [8] Some of Carruth's music from Upstream Color was featured in the 2016 documentary Tickled.

Unrealized or upcoming work

In 2009, David Sullivan, one of the leads in Primer, tweeted that "Shane Carruth's next project, A Topiary, is in the early stages of pre-production". [9] Filmmaker Rian Johnson tweeted that it would feature a "mind-blowing sci-fi script." [10] In 2010, several news sources reported that A Topiary was in the works and that the script had been written. There was already a website for the movie [11] which, according to Carruth in an interview to io9, "The website for now is just a place mark as financing has yet to be completed. I'm cautiously optimistic that this can happen soon and couldn't be happier with the filmmakers that have committed to the project so far." [12] However, the film (which Entertainment Weekly described as "a sci-fi epic about a group of kids who build a giant, animal-like creature") stalled, and in early 2013, Carruth told EW that it was "the thing I basically wasted my whole life on." [4] Carruth no longer pursues the project; some VFX test footage of the film is visible in Upstream Color in a scene when a character is examining the video for technical flaws. [13]

In 2014, Carruth announced a new film, The Modern Ocean, based on international shipping and the lives of those involved. [14] On August 12, 2015, it was reported that the film was in pre-production, [15] and its ensemble cast was announced in November 2015; it would include Anne Hathaway, Keanu Reeves, Tom Holland and Daniel Radcliffe. [16] In an interview in 2018, Carruth noted that the film is "not gonna happen anytime soon". [17] On June 17, 2020, Carruth posted the entire script for The Modern Ocean on Twitter, along with some of the original score. [18] [19]

In 2019, in an interview Carruth claimed he was working on "a massive thing" and would leave the film industry once that project concludes. [20]


Carruth was rumored to have consulted on time-travel sequences for filmmaker Rian Johnson's Looper, though it was later revealed that those sequences were deemed too expensive to shoot. [21] [22] In an "Ask Me Anything" session on the site Reddit, Johnson said "He gave some notes on the script but wasn't involved beyond that, sadly." [23]


In 2018 Carruth starred in the psychological thriller The Dead Center about a hospital psychiatrist whose own sanity is pushed to the edge when a frightened amnesiac patient insists that he has died and brought something terrible back from the other side.

Personal life

From 2011 to 2018, Carruth was in a relationship with Amy Seimetz, the couple becoming engaged in 2013. [24] [25] [26] Seimetz obtained temporary restraining orders against Carruth in 2018 and 2020 and a permanent restraining order in 2020, citing years of abuse. [27] [28] Carruth has denied these allegations. [29]


Year Film Director Producer Writer Composer Editor Notes
2004 Primer Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Also production designer, sound designer and casting director
2013 Upstream Color Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Also cinematographer and camera operator
2018 The Dead Center No Yes No No No
2020 The Wanting Mare No No No No No Carruth was removed as executive producer after allegations of domestic violence surfaced. [30]


Year Film Director Composer Notes
2016 The Girlfriend Experience No Yes 13 episodes
2017 Breakthrough Yes No Episode "Predicting the Future"

Acting roles

Year Film Role Notes
2004 Primer Aaron
2013 Upstream Color Jeff
2014 Everything & Everything & Everything Morgan Short film
2015 We'll Find Something Steve Short film
Memory Box The Man Short film
2016 The Girlfriend Experience Sam TV series (1 episode)
Swiss Army Man Coroner Cameo
2018 The Dead Center Daniel Forrester
2020 Tales from the Loop Cole TV series (2 episodes)

Other credits

Year Film Role
2016 The Divergent Series: Allegiant Consultant
2017 A Ghost Story Additional editor

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Film Result
2004 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize Primer Won
Alfred P. Sloan Prize Won
Nantucket Film Festival Best Writer/Director Won
Gotham Awards Best Feature Nominated
Sitges Film Festival Best Film Nominated
2005 London International Festival of Science Fiction and Fantastic Film Best Feature Won
Independent Spirit Awards Best Feature Nominated
Best Director Nominated
Best First Screenplay Nominated
Best Actor in a Debut Performance ( David Sullivan) Nominated
Fantasporto International Fantasy Film Award Nominated
2013 Sundance Film Festival U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Sound Design Upstream Color Won
Grand Jury Prize – Dramatic Nominated
Sitges Film Festival Best Directorial Revelation Won
Best Motion Picture Nominated
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Best Editing Second place
Independent Spirit Awards Best Director Nominated
Best Editing Nominated
Gotham Awards Best Film Nominated
Best Actress ( Amy Seimetz) Nominated
Camerimage Best Cinematography Debut Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association Best Editing Nominated
Dublin Film Critics' Circle Best Director Nominated
Village Voice Film Poll Best Film Nominated
Best Director Nominated
SXSW Film Festival Festival Favorites Nominated
2014 Australian Film Critics Association Best International Film (English Language) Nominated
Central Ohio Film Critics Association Best Picture Nominated
Best Cinematography Nominated
Chlotrudis Award Best Cinematography Nominated
Lost Weekend Best Visuals Nominated
Georgia Film Critics Association Breakthrough (Amy Seimetz) Nominated
Best Picture Nominated
Best Original Score Nominated
Best Director Nominated
Best Actress (Amy Seimetz) Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Nominated
Best Cinematography Nominated
London Film Critics' Circle Technical Achievement of the Year (Johnny Marshall) Nominated


  1. ^ Pape, Stefan (October 10, 2019). "EXCLUSIVE - Shane Carruth on The Dead Center and why he's quitting film for good". The Hot Corn. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  2. ^ Murray, Rebecca (October 22, 2004). "Interview with Shane Carruth". New York Times. Retrieved May 16, 2008.
  3. ^ Moring, Mark (October 22, 2004). "A Primer on Filmmaking". Christianity Today. Retrieved November 6, 2009.
  4. ^ a b c d Maerz, Melissa (April 5, 2013). "A Mysterious Director Returns, in Living Color". Entertainment Weekly (1253): 50. Retrieved June 19, 2014.
  5. ^ "New Math: A Conversation with Shane Carruth". Archived from the original on October 5, 2017.
  6. ^ "Upstream Color - Movie Trailers - iTunes".
  7. ^ "2013 Sundance Film Festival Announces Feature Film Awards". January 26, 2013. Retrieved January 31, 2013.
  8. ^ a b Kimbell, Keith (January 28, 2013). "2013 Sundance Film Festival Recap". Metacritic. Retrieved January 31, 2013.
  9. ^ Sullivan, David (May 11, 2009). "Shane Carruth's next project, A Topiary, is in the early stages of pre-production. Let's hope that I can be a part of that one too!". @davidsullivan. Retrieved November 14, 2017.
  10. ^ "Twitter / Rian Johnson: to all who asked". Retrieved September 16, 2009.
  11. ^ "A Topiary". March 11, 2010. Archived from the original on March 11, 2010.
  12. ^ "More details about Shane Carruth's next mind-bending film!". Retrieved May 23, 2013.
  13. ^ "UPSTREAM COLOR w/ Shane Carruth of PRIMER (B-Movies Interview)".
  14. ^ Wise, Damon (January 5, 2014). "Shane Carruth Interview: Upstream Color". Empire Magazine. Retrieved June 19, 2014.
  15. ^ Nguyen, Clinton (August 12, 2015). "We Talked to Shane Carruth About the Human Drama Behind 'The Modern Ocean'". Motherboard. Vice Media. Archived from the original on January 2, 2017. Retrieved January 2, 2016.
  16. ^ Borys Kit, Pamela (November 3, 2015). "Anne Hathaway, Keanu Reeves, Daniel Radcliffe to Star in 'The Modern Ocean'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 3, 2015.
  17. ^ Nordine, Michael (October 1, 2018). "Shane Carruth on Why He Won't Direct a Superhero Movie and Acting in 'The Dead Center'".
  18. ^ Raup, Jordan (June 17, 2020). "Shane Carruth Shares Full Script & Concept Trailer for The Modern Ocean".
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Shane Carruth on The Dead Center - and why he's quitting film for good". The HotCorn. October 10, 2019.
  21. ^ Bettinger, Brendan (January 18, 2011). "PRIMER Director Shane Carruth Working on the Time Travel Effects in Rian Johnson's LOOPER".
  22. ^ Raftery, Brian (April 17, 2013). "Buckle Your Brainpan: The Primer Director Is Back With a New Film". Retrieved May 23, 2013.
  23. ^ "Forceduse comments on IAm Rian Johnson, filmmaker". September 24, 2012. Retrieved May 23, 2013.
  24. ^ "Amy Seimetz Accuses Ex Shane Carruth of Strangling, Threatening Her". July 28, 2020.
  25. ^ Erbland, Kate (January 26, 2016). "Sundance: Amy Seimetz Explains the Most Feminist Decision She Made When Crafting 'The Girlfriend Experience'". Retrieved August 23, 2016.
  26. ^ Kohn, Eric (April 13, 2019). "Amy Seimetz Conquers Hollywood By Saying No to Marvel and Yes to 'Pet Sematary'". Retrieved September 17, 2019.
  27. ^ Maddaus, Gene (July 27, 2020). "'Upstream Color' Director Shane Carruth Accused of Abusing Ex-Girlfriend". Variety. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  28. ^ "Alien: Covenant and Pet Sematary's Amy Seimetz Accuses Director Ex of Mental, Physical Abuse".
  29. ^ Brody, Richard. ""She Dies Tomorrow," Reviewed: An Apocalyptic Drama of Emotional Crises". The New Yorker. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  30. ^ Feldberg, Isaac. "Nine Film Festival Favorites That Deserve a Home | Festivals & Awards | Roger Ebert". External link in |website= ( help)

External links