Biography of Ira Wohl

Ira Wohl began his filmmaking career 40 years ago in Spain, working in the editing room as an apprentice to Orson Welles on his feature film Don Quixote. A native New Yorker, Wohl returned to Manhattan the following year, where he became an assistant editor and worked on hundreds of television commercials.

During this time, he got the rare opportunity to work with John Lennon, editing a 10-minute version of two of his songs, which was then featured on the British TV series Top of the Pops. Wohl also edited a film of The Band doing two of their songs in advance of the release of their very successful album "Cripple Creek.”

During Wohl's time as an editor, he began making his own short films. These included a narrative, Implosion, based on a real nightmare, and Co-Co Puffs, a documentary of a jazz drummer giving a lesson to one of his female students. Co-Co Puffs won First Prize at the prestigious Ann Arbor Film Festival and subsequently toured the country for over a year.

Wohl subsequently went to work for the international children's TV series Big Blue Marble, where he began as editor but soon expanded his role to producer/director as well, filming in countries such as Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Brazil. It was around then that Wohl began filming what eventually became the “Best Boy” trilogy of films.

Following the acclaimed 1979 release of Best Boy, Wohl left the film business for a time to pursue a second career as a psychotherapist. After earning a Master’s degree in social work from USC and becoming a practicing psychotherapist in Los Angeles, Wohl returned to film to make Best Man. A few years later, Wohl produced Best Sister, rounding out the trilogy.

In 2004, Wohl produced a film called People Say I'm Crazy, the story of artist John Cadigan, who had a psychotic break at age 21. This film portrays Cadigan's mostly successful battle with mental illness and shows what it is like, on a daily basis, to live with schizophrenia.

In his dual capacities as filmmaker and psychotherapist, Wohl has produced and directed a three-hour video set on the art and science of psychiatric diagnosis, Diagnosis According to the DSM-IV. This set of videos has been hugely successful in its field.

Wohl is currently looking forward to finishing the forthcoming documentary, Hold That Cloudburst!, which tells the story of the greatest-ever gathering and historic performance of the world's best known tap dancers—including the late Gregory Hines and Savion Glover as a young boy.

Wohl lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Jan Hatcher, and their daughter, Anastasia Wohl.