David L. Cunningham
An international filmmaker, David L. Cunningham was born February 24, 1971, in Lausanne, Switzerland and raised on the Big Island of Hawai'i. Cunningham traveled extensively throughout his childhood with his parents, Loren and Darlene Cunningham, founders of Youth With A Mission - an interdenominational Christian organization serving in over 100 countries. The experiences of these travels- visiting refugee camps, slums, bustling cities, and exotic cultures, would become an important inspiration for... more
An international filmmaker, David L. Cunningham was born February 24, 1971, in Lausanne, Switzerland and raised on the Big Island of Hawai'i. Cunningham traveled extensively throughout his childhood with his parents, Loren and Darlene Cunningham, founders of Youth With A Mission - an interdenominational Christian organization serving in over 100 countries. The experiences of these travels- visiting refugee camps, slums, bustling cities, and exotic cultures, would become an important inspiration for Cunningham as a filmmaker.To date, Cunningham has visited every continent and 140 countries in total, earning him membership in the prestigious Traveler's Century Club (for travelers who've visited more than 100 countries).Cunningham studied film and graduated with Bachelors Degrees from the University of the Nations and the University of Southern California (USC). He began directing, writing, and producing documentaries in film school, starting a production company out of his dorm closet.Next, the filmmaker made a series of international documentaries- crossing the outback of Australia twice, capturing the stories of teen prostitutes in the underbelly of Los Angeles, filming from camel back in the deserts of Egypt, and leading the first American crew to the most remote country in the world: Pitcairn Island.Cunningham's first feature, Beyond Paradise (1998), revealed a modern-day Hawaiian culture clash rarely seen by visitors. After a successful festival run, the film opened theatrically in Hawai'i and the Pacific region with box office success, playing for months and holding off the likes of The Matrix (1999). The film was later picked up for domestic and international distribution.His second feature, To End All Wars (2001), set during WWII and starring Kiefer Sutherland and Robert Carlyle, is the true story of allied prisoners who started a secret university in a Japanese POW camp. A critical and global success, it was picked up by Goldcrest and 20th Century Fox, caught the attention of Hollywood and launched the filmmaker's career to a new level.Cunningham then directed two mini series for ABC: the $15 million "Little House on the Prairie" (2005) for ABC's Wonderful World of Disney, and the controversial $40 million epic mini-series, The Path to 9/11 (2006) (TV) which deals with the events leading up to the terror attacks of 9/11. The film stars Harvey Keitel and is based in part upon "The 9/11 Commission Report". Over the two nights it aired, twenty-six million Americans tuned in, and the mini series received 7 Prime time Emmy nominations and 1 win.Next, Cunningham independently produced and directed the experimental and innovative feature, After... (2006), a psychological thriller filmed under the cities of Bratislava, Prague, and Moscow. The film premiered at the AFI Film Fest and was sold to First Look Entertainment.Cunningham went on to direct the $45 million youth fantasy feature, The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007) (20th Century Fox and Walden Media) written by John Hodge (Trainspotting (1996)) and filmed on location in Romania.Soon after "The Seeker", Cunningham directed, perhaps, his most dynamic project to date: "Hakani". Filmed on location in the Brazilian Amazon and cast entirely from members of 8 Amazonian tribes, the docu-drama deals with modern day infanticide and an 8-year-old brother's heroic rescue of his condemned sister. "Hakani" is at the center of a controversial Brazilian campaign dealing with indigenous peoples' rights issues.Cunningham is the founder and director of The Film Institute- a non-profit association geared toward educating filmmakers from the developing world, linking like-minded filmmakers, and focusing resources and talent for social change.Cunningham lives on the Big Island of Hawai'i with his wife and three children. He is represented by the United Talent Agency and is a member of The Director's Guild of America.