Born in the Bronx, in 1951 Abel Ferrara started making films on Super 8 in his teens, in upstate New York with Nicholas St. John – writer of Ms.45, King Of New York, The Addiction as well as The Funeral – and John Mcintyre – creative consultant and key crew member.
His career moved to downtown New York City in the mid ‘70s with the movies Driller Killer and Ms. 45. When Ms.45 found distribution at Warner Bros., with the help of William Friedkin, the reviews and international circulation lead to a cult reputation, larger budgets, studio funding and ‘name’ actors – Christopher Walken, Harvey Keitel, Melanie Griffith and Juliette Binoche. King of New York in the beginning of the ‘90s followed by Bad Lieutenant, The Funeral, The Addiction and New Rose Hotel consolidated his position as a director of controversial cinema.
His career combines larger budget with no budget features and documentaries, from New York City to Napoli, Alabama, Jerusalem, Los Angeles and back to Roma. The 21st century began with R’Xmas, Mary and his documentary on the Chelsea hotel, Chelsea On The Rocks, continuing into the present decade with 4:44 – Last Day On Earth, his third feature with Willem Dafoe, Welcome To New-York, starring Gérard Depardieu and Jacqueline Bisset and with Pasolini, again starring Willem Dafoe in 2014, about the last days of the Italian director. His new documentary work includes Padre Pio and Piazza Vittorio. Abel Ferrara directs Alive in France, a documentary, also a self-portrait, that follows him and his family actress Cristina Chiriac, daughter Anna and friends and long-time collaborators composer Joe Delia and actor/composer Paul Hipp during a film Retrospective/music tour in France.