Sam Jones is a film and television director, television host, musician and photographer. He most recently directed Jason Isbell: Running With Our Eyes Closed for HBO, Tony Hawk: Until The Wheels Fall Off, for HBO, and an episode of Ted Lasso. He has two documentaries in post production: Smartless - On The Road, is a six part documentary series on HBO/Discovery that follows Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Sean Hayes around the country as they room together while presenting their Smartless podcast to live audences. His Untitled Ricky Carmichael Documentary focuses on the greatest motorcycle racer of all time, and is being co-produced by the Duplass Brothers and Jones. Additionally, Jones directed an upcoming episode of the new Apple TV+ series Bad Monkey.
Jones is the creator and host of the documentary series Off Camera with Sam Jones, which had a 220 episode run on DirecTV’s Audience Network from 2013-2020. Off Camera is an hour-long show born of Jones’ passion for long-form documentary conversational interviews. Jones shares the show with the artists, actors, and musicians who fascinate and inspire him most. Jessica Chastain, Robert Downey Jr., Ron Howard, Freida Pinto, Matt Damon, Jeff Bridges, Kristen Bell, Edward Norton, Rosamund Pike, Carey Mulligan, Tony Hawk, Elisabeth Moss, Richard Linklater, Zach Galifianakis and Don Cheadle have all appeared on the show.
Jones is also an acclaimed film, TV, documentary, music video and commercial director, and he recently wrote and directed a series of commercials for OnePlus featuring Robert Downey Jr. He directed the Showtime series Roadies, created by Cameron Crowe, and also directed and produced the feature length Showtime documentary Lost Songs: The Basement Tapes Continued, a film that reexamines Bob Dylan’s The Basement Tapes and documents new recordings of lost Dylan lyrics by Elvis Costello, Marcus Mumford and others in Capitol Records Studios. He won MTV’s music video of the year for Foo Fighters Walk. He has directed videos for Mumford and Sons, Tom Petty, John Mayer, Cold War Kids, and many others. He’s created numerous national commercials for brands including OnePlus, Omega, Nespresso, Skype, Sonos, Canon, Target, and Dove, and won the IAA Responsibility Award for his AD Council Everyone Knows PSA. He has also directed the ABC TV series Cougar Town.
His candid, intimate style and innate ability to capture the essence of his subjects makes the documentary a natural medium for Jones. In 2002, Jones started his documentary career with I Am Trying To Break Your Heart, which chronicles beloved indie-rock band Wilco’s tumultuous recording of their acclaimed fourth album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. The film was hailed as “beautifully photographed” and “engrossing” and Jones’s ability to create intimacy with his subjects was compared to that of Jean Luc Goddard’s work with The Rolling Stones in Sympathy for the Devil. Variety called Jones “one of the few intelligent filmmakers destined for serious artistic success,” and Rolling Stone named I Am Trying To Break Your Heart the fifth one of the best rock films of all time.
Jones began his career as a photographer and quickly gained acclaim for his seminal portraits of President Obama, George Clooney, Bob Dylan, Kristin Stewart, Robert Downey Jr., Amy Adams, Jack Nicholson, and many others, which have appeared on the covers of Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Esquire, GQ, Time, Entertainment Weekly and Men’s Journal.
His photos have received numerous awards from American Photography, Communication Arts, as well as Life magazine’s respected Eisie award. His image for the cover of Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was published in “The Greatest Album Covers of All Time.” His collection of candid celebrity portraiture, The Here And Now: The Photographs of Sam Jones, was published by Harper Collins. Other published works include Off Camera, The Portraits, Non-Fiction, a collection of cinematic portraiture, and Some Where Else, a photographic and musical collaboration with musician Blake Mills.