After working over thirty thousand hours on film sets in Hollywood during the past eighteen years as a crew member, Giovanni Zelko has recently completed his first feature film, The Algerian, which he wrote, directed, edited, shot and executive produced. He is also the executive producer and second unit director and second unit cinematographer of H4, a Shakespeare film adaptation of Henry IV. Zelko is currently developing three of his screenplays to direct and produce, which are poised to begin pre-production: Caesar, The Interview and Saint Mary’s.
The son of European immigrants, Zelko was born and raised in New York while spending numerous summers in his parents’ native countries of Italy and Slovenia, giving him a unique mixture of European and American sensibilities that are pronounced in his various works as an artist. He was educated at Boston University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science for Film (see his book on film theory, Living the Dream, and his thirteen screenplays), as well as a Minor of Arts for English Literature (see his book of poetry, Body Of Poetry). During his four years at Boston University, he also pursued studies in history, where his field of concentration was European Medieval History (see his documentary script, The First Crusade & The Apocalypse). An accomplished photographer and painter, Zelko has created commercial work as well as fine-art gallery work (see his book, Body of Poetry, and online gallery with over 1,300 images, including large scale mixed medium paintings). A world traveler, Zelko has explored 49 countries around the globe, aiding his pursuit of experiencing far-reaching cultures, art and people.
His passion for filmmaking began to blossom at a very early age as a freshman in high school where he first started shooting 8mm stop-animation films and began editing. His enthusiasm for filmmaking produced two early films, Bloodline and My Shadow. At the age of 16, Zelko wrote, directed, produced, starred in, shot, stunt-coordinated, costumed, sound scored and edited the 45 minute Bloodline, a film about vampires that he shot on video. This early film helped earn him an academic scholarship to the prestigious Boston University Film School. Once there, Zelko wrote, directed, produced, shot and edited My Shadow, an 8 ½ minute long 16mm film. This second film helped him acquire his internship in Los Angeles at Roger Corman Studios, which began his film career in earnest. Zelko went on to write, direct, edit and executive produce two award winning short films, “Theogony,” and “The Interview,” both of which were shot on film. During the past eighteen years, Zelko has logged thirty thousand hours on sets as a lighting technician for films, television, commercials and music videos for some of the world’s greatest directors, actors and performers including James Cameron, Sam Raimi, Barry Levinson, Michael Mann, John Frankenheimer, Clint Eastwood, Kevin Costner, Peter Berg, Dennis Hopper, Bruce Willis, Will Smith, Billy Bob Thorton, Bill Murray, Michael Cain, Tim Robbins, Martin Sheen, Jack Black, Dan Aykroid, Randy Quaid, Alec Baldwin, Ben Stiller, Harry Lennix, Patrick Stewart, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, John Goodman, Elija Wood, Tom Selleck, Gary Sinise, Angelina Jolie, Faye Dunaway, Kate Blanchet, Susan Sarrandon, Glen Close, Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, Amanda Peet, Julia Stiles, Vin Diesel, Sam Worthington, Kevin Bacon, Michael Fassbender, Zoe Saldana, Jennifer Lawrence , Michelle Rodriguez, Christina Ricci, Lucy Liu and Madonna.