Jay Boekelheide came to film relatively late in life; even in college he was more interested in literature, photography, and painting. He graduated with a liberal arts degree at the height of the Vietnam war. A few months later he went to Chad, Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer. There, he was able to see most of the films playing locally: on the one hand, international popular entertainments such as Egyptian or Indian romances or American action films (he remembers seeing For a Fistfull of Dollars projected as a series of ten- to fifty-foot pieces played in no particular order), and on the other hand, the French government’s Alliance Francaise-sponsored series of great films from world cinema. With two friends, he wrote and created an instructional film about the construction of inexpensive closed wells (in order to eliminate the most important source of contamination responsible for drinking water-borne disease). USAID sponsored the project and sent a three-man film crew. The resulting film appears to have been an effective instructional tool--Boekelheide heard a few years ago that it was still part of the actively distributed USAID film library. During the process Boekelheide fell in love with film and filmmaking.
To make a living, he left central Africa for Buffalo, NY, where he entered a doctoral program in literature, but within a few months he was teaching film classes instead. He switched from the English Department to Comparative Literature, where he worked in Film, and when he had finished his orals he applied for the first of a series of traveling fellowships that allowed him to move to Paris, where he studied, taught, and did some film work. When northern European winters got under the professor's skin and the Vietnam war limped to a halt, he grew tired of abject poverty and returned to the United States to work at American Zoetrope in the era of The Godfather II, The Conversation, and Apocalypse Now. Professor Boekelheide is an Avid-, Media 100-, and Final Cut Pro-qualified picture editor and an Academy Award-winning sound designer, a supervising sound editor, and a just plain sound editor. Some of his credits include:
As Sound Designer and/or Supervising Sound Editor
- Academy Award 1984 for Sound Effects Editing: The Right Stuff. Warners/The Ladd Co. (Philip Kaufman, dir.)
- Valley of the Heart's Delight (Tim Boxell, dir.)
- Xiu Xiu, The Sent-Down Girl (Joan Chen, dir.)
- Carried Away, Fine Line/New Line (Bruno Barrreto, dir.)
- Species MGM (Roger Donaldson, dir., Frank Mancuso, Jr., prod.)
- The Getaway, Largo (Roger Donaldson, dir., Larry Gordon, prod.)
- Red Rock West, Propaganda Films (John Dahl, dir.)
- Out on a Limb, Universal (Francis Veber, dir.)
- Cadillac Man, Orion Pictures (Roger Donaldson, dir.)
- The Blood of Heroes, Kings Road (David Peoples, dir.)
- The Legend of Billie Jean, Tri-Star (Matthew Robbins, dir.)
- River's Edge, Island Pictures (Tim Hunter, dir.)
- That Was Then, This Is Now, Paramount (Chris Cain, dir.)
- Runaway, Tri-Star (Michael Crichton, dir.)
- Serpent and the Rainbow. Universal (Wes Craven, dir.) --a few among many.
As Picture Editor
- The Dead Sleep (Vicki de May, dir.) Theatrical Feature.
- Generic Thriller, produced through SJSU, (Scott Sublett, dir.). Theatrical feature, Barnaby Dallas, prod.
- Valley of the Heart's Delight, (Tim Boxell, dir.) Theatrical feature, Scott Rosenfelt, prod.
- Making the Elixir of Love, (Eugene Finley, dir.) Documentary feature following the creation of a production of the comedic opera from the inside. Currently out to film festivals and being sold in Europe.
- Do You Know the Way to Johannisberg? (Connie Fields, dir.) Several years of work on a thirteen hour project which became a nine hour project and then a four hour project which has just been released.
- Sing Faster: The Stagehand's Ring Cycle, PBS (Jon Else, dir.)
- Dances with a Witch (Megan Siler, dir.)
- The Method (Joe Destein, dir.)
Shared Sound Credits and Other Capacities
- Amadeus, Orion (Milos Forman, dir.)
- Apocalypse Now, UA (Francis Coppola, dir.)
- Dragonslayer, UA (Matthew Robbins, dir.)
- Sound, PBS/Independent/Video
- Sing Faster: The Stagehands' Ring Cycle, PBS (Jon Else, dir.)
- Cadillac Desert, PBS (4 shows, Jon Else, dir.)
- George Seldes: Tell the Truth and Run (feature doc., Rick Goldsmith, dir.)
- Henry Ford, PBS (from The Great Depression, Jon Else, dir.)