Todd Solondz (born October 15, 1959) is an American independent film screenwriter and director known for his style of dark, thought-provoking, socially conscious satire. Solondz has been critically acclaimed for his examination of the "dark underbelly of middle class American suburbia," a reflection of his own background in New Jersey. His work includes Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995), Happiness (1998), Storytelling (2001), Palindromes (2004), Life During Wartime (2009), and Dark Horse (2012).
Solondz was born in Newark, New Jersey. He is of Jewish descent. Solondz wrote several screenplays while working as a delivery boy for the Writers Guild of America. Solondz earned his undergraduate degree in English from Yale and attended New York University's (NYU) Graduate MFA Program in film and television, but did not complete a degree.
During the early 1990s, Solondz worked as a teacher of English as a second language to newly arrived Russian immigrants at NYANA, a refugee resettlement agency in New York City (his co-workers there included Alexander Gelman, Gary Shteyngart and Roman Turovsky), an experience he has described as deeply rewarding. In his film Happiness, the character Joy finds a similar experience to be traumatic. It leads her to be more sympathetic to workers' strikes...
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