Please explain what just happened.

My cat, Miss Holly Wood, just jumped in my lap. She wants food. Even though she’s 18 years old with failing kidneys, she eats constantly. I must make much money to feed her.


What is your earliest memory?

My sister patting me on the head. My mother asking, “Why are you doing that?”  My sister’s reply: “I’m looking for the soft spot.”



If you weren’t a filmmaker, what other profession would you choose?

Professional polo player.


Please describe the current contents of your refrigerator.

Mainly beer:  Grolsch and Flying Dog Classic Pale Ale.


Is there a time you wish you’d lied?

Back when I worked with on-camera television news personalities.  I should have lied to them, telling them what great filmmakers they were. I probably would’ve gotten more work over the years as a result.


What would you say to yourself if you could go back in time and have a conversation with yourself at age thirteen?

Don’t seem so arrogant.


If you could have only one album to get you through a breakup, what would it be?

Bop Till You Drop, by Ry Cooder


What are three websites—other than your email—that you check on a daily basis?  Facebook.


From what or whom do you derive your greatest inspiration?

Dr. Hunter S. Thompson.


Name a book that changed your life.

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, by Tom Wolfe


If you could relive one moment over and over again, what would it be?

Hitting a perfect goal from about 50 yards out at a full gallop.


How are you six degrees from Kevin Bacon?

Kevin was in Barry Levinson’s film, Diner. I created the visual style of the dramatic series Homicide: Life on the Street as the original DP and a director for Barry Levinson.


What makes you feel most guilty?

Drinking too much beer.


What would you most like to have invented?

Rolling papers.


What is the worst piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?

Call 911.


What is the best advice you’ve ever given to someone else?

Never call 911.


What do you consider the harshest kind of betrayal?

Police informants.


Of all the game shows that have graced our TV screens throughout history, which one would you want to be a contestant on and why?

Deal or No Deal.  I might get a date with one of the briefcase girls, if I actually won the million bucks.


What do you want to know?

Why people assume that on-camera news personalities actually have much to do with making the shows they appear in.


What would you like your last words to be?

I’ll have another beer.


Please explain what will happen.

Depends on your karma, as Hunter would say.  Some might end up as three-legged dogs on a Navajo Indian reservation. Others may wind up as on camera television news personalities making much money for no heavy lifting.

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WAYNE EWING has produced and directed over forty documentaries for American television networks, as well as eight recent independent feature documentaries. His first twenty-five films, beginning with the critically acclaimed If Elected… (1972) were broadcast as a part of the series Bill Moyers Journal on PBS. The Emmy nominated Blood’s of ‘Nam (1985) followed on PBS as a part of the Frontline series. Also for Frontline, Ewing produced and directed A Journey To Russia (1982) during the last days of the Brezhnev era.

For NBC News Ewing made one hour documentaries, directing Women In Prison (1987) with Maria Shriver as correspondent and then producing and directing Gangs, Cops, & Drugs (1989) and The New Hollywood (1990) with Tom Brokaw as correspondent. Gangs, Cops, & Drugs is one of the highest rated documentaries (a 25/18 rating) ever broadcast on American television. His commercial television journalism also includes segments for Ted Koppel at ABC and Charles Kuralt at CBS.

In 1992, the feature film director Barry Levinson asked Ewing to design the photographic style of the dramatic series Homicide: Life On The Streets. Ewing’s handheld camerawork as Director of Photography brought a style of reality to drama that television critics have credited with changing the look of American dramatic television in the 1990’s. Ewing also directed the final show of the first season of Homicide.

Ewing returned to documentaries with his critically acclaimed independent documentary feature Breakfast With Hunter about the late gonzo journalist Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. Two other films about Thompson followed: When I Die focuses on the making of the Gonzo Monument and the blast off of Dr. Thompson’s ashes into the sky in 2005; Free Lisl: Fear & Loathing in Denver explores the most significant achievement of Hunter S. Thompson’s last years—the freeing of Lisl Auman who was sentenced to life without parole at the age of 21 for the murder of a Denver police officer by someone she had just met while she was handcuffed in the back of a police car. Ewing’s other recent documentaries focused on politics - Benched which is about the 2004 Illinois Supreme Court Race and a companion film about the 2004 West Virginia Supreme Court election called The Last Campaign, a sequel to his first film, If Elected.... (1973).

The Last Campaign was nominated by the International Documentary Association for their IDA Award as BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE of 2005 and selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to be included in their Academy/UCLA Series of the best documentaries of 2005.

The Outsiders of New Orleans: Loujon Press premiered at the Starz Denver Film Festival in November, 2007.

The Border Wall premiered at the Starz Denver Film Festival in November, 2008, and was also selected for the Santa Cruz Film Festival in 2009.

Animals, Whores & Dialogue – the 91 minute sequel to Breakfast with Hunter – was released in July, 2010.

Ewing graduated from Yale College (BA, History, 1970) and The University of Texas Graduate School of Communications (MA, 1971). He has lived in the Aspen, Colorado area for over twenty-five years.

2 responses to “21 Questions with Wayne Ewing”

  1. David Breithaupt says:

    Cutting edge questions, good job David. Wayne and I must have the same fridge. Carry on your good work.

  2. Wayne,

    It’s great to have you here. I’m so glad someone was there to follow Hunter S. Thompson around with a camera. That must have been an amazing experience, thanks for sharing it.

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