Biography

Sean McNamara is an award-winning Irish American director, writer and producer of family dramas, including the break-out hit feature Soul Surfer. Known as an “actor’s director,” he has worked with Academy Award winners and nominees such as Helen Hunt, William Hurt, Jon Voight, Marisa Tomei, Mira Sorvino and James Woods, and major movie stars like Pierce Brosnan and Dennis Quaid, as well as the new generation of talent, including Shia LaBeouf, Jessica Alba, Erin Moriarty and Danika Yarosh.

Past films include Spare Parts—starring Tomei and George Lopez—which is based on the WIRED magazine article “La Vida Robot.” McNamara has helmed many films and television shows, having written and produced the films Raise Your Voice (starring Hilary Duff), Hoovey, Field of Lost Shoes and Race To Space. His television credits include co-creating the hit series Beyond the Break for MTV Networks and executive producing Even Stevens and That’s So Raven for the Disney Channel.

In addition to winning a BAFTA for Even Stevens, McNamara is a five-time Emmy Award-nominated producer for Even Stevens and That’s So Raven and a four-time nominee for Directors Guild of America awards. He won the prestigious Imagen Award for Best Director for Spare Parts and Best Dramatic Feature at the GI Film Festival for Field of Lost Shoes. Soul Surfer and Spare Parts both received numerous awards, including an A+ CinemaScore.

The Miracle Season, starring Erin Moriarty, Danika Yarosh, Helen Hunt and William Hurt, is currently slated for release in April 2018. In summer 2018, McNamara is scouting, casting and prepping to shoot Leon Uris’ Trinity in Ireland, followed by Reagan, starring Dennis Quaid, in the fall. McNamara recently completed principal photography on his Jon Voight film Orphan Horse. His forthcoming feature, The King’s Daughter, stars Pierce Brosnan and Kaya Scodelario and debuts in August 2018.

McNamara grew up in Burbank, California, half a block from Walt Disney Studios, where he delivered the newspaper on his bike every afternoon for three years. The youngest of six kids, McNamara always lived with his grandparents and great aunts, as well as two dogs, birds and fish. When he was 12 years old, Sean’s family took a vacation to Ireland. Imagining how magical a transcontinental journey would be for a child, McNamara’s father, Michael, bought him a Super 8 camera at the Shannon Airport. Enthralled, he loaded it as the plane taxied down the runway and captured the first of what would be many stories told through a lens.

McNamara attended Loyola High School, Loyola Marymount and Santa Clara University, where he studied film, television and theater arts. His first professional gig was plugging in microphones for President Ronald Reagan’s inauguration for Academy Award director Marty Pasetta while enrolled in college—and he has not stopped since.

In 2018, McNamara celebrates the twentieth anniversary of Brookwell McNamara Entertainment, a company he co-founded with business partner David Brookwell in 1998. Together they have produced 30 feature films for Sony, Tri-Star Pictures, New Line Cinema, Lionsgate Films, Universal Studios, to name a few. Their television productions, ranging from TV movies to ongoing series, include over 500 episodes for Netflix, CBS, ABC, the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network.

McNamara lives in Playa Del Rey, California with his loving family: wife, Christina; three amazing boys, Mark, Dylan and Seamus; and his two Golden Retrievers, Bella and Blue. He just wrapped production on his 9-year-old’s first YouTube movie. Sean began by plugging in microphones and continues to hold the camera on this magical journey.