Essential Film Directors, Jonah Markowitz

Written and directed by Jonah Markowitz, the 2007 film Shelter is a tender romance portraying a summer of love between two young men.  Shelter is Markowitz’ feature-length directorial debut.

Shelter takes place during one summer in which lead character Zach meets Shaun, a writer based in Los Angeles.  Coincidentally, Shaun is the brother of Zach’s best friend Gabe..  Zach and Shaun begin as friends, but gradually their relationship evolves into much more.  With time, the budding romance between Zach and Shaun becomes public, and Zach finds himself internally conflicted, and outwardly challenged by some of those around him, particularly his sister Jeanne, who fears Zach’s relationship will have an adverse affect on her 5-year-old son.


A graduate of Emerson College in Boston, MA, Jonah Markowitz has spent over 12 years working in art direction and production design for feature films and commercial work.  Markowitz is best known for his focus on the character as the strongest storytelling tool, often referencing traditional portraiture as inspiration for his design and direction.

Following graduation from Emerson College, Markowitz spent time studying history abroad in the Netherlands, as well as film theory and film production at the esteemed FAMU in the Czech Republic.  Markowitz is currently an artist in residence at the San Francisco Film Society’s FilmHouse.  The director typically splits his time between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

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Jonah Markowitz’ body of work includes a long list of popular and award-winning feature films, including The Help, Rocky Balboa, Crazy/Beautiful, The House of Sand and Fog, and We Are Marshall.  His work on the film Quinceanera earned a Sundance Film Festival Jury & Audience Award.

Markowitz’ directorial debut, Shelter, garnered many awards, including the HBO Award for Outstanding First Feature, the Scion Director’s Award, and countless audience and juried awards worldwide.

In addition to feature films, Markowitz has also completed commercial work with many global brands including T-Mobile, Yahoo, Ebay, and Mercedes.

Alexander Ryll
When I couldn’t find a gay themed romantic film online via search engines or on any websites in early 2014, I created Gay Essential. launched in June 2014 we regularly promote rare and new gay-themed titles. Gay Essential is the first independent film website to categorize gay-themed films making it easier for visitors to learn about films based on their mood preference. Together with an incredible writing talent, we promote films and we make it easy for you to purchase them based on your location. Please add your support and purchase one of our incredible gay themed film T Shirts , unique and full of attitude.
Alexander Ryll


'You shouldn't dream your film, you should make it!' The Gay Essential Film Blog Edited by @alexanderryll
Alexander Ryll
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