First and foremost, directing is storytelling, and Mike Peebler has been studying story his entire life. Like many directors, Mike started with his parent’s video camera making homemade movies with his friends. His love of cinema eventually turned to a love for acting, and Mike spent years honing his craft at Northwestern University for a Bachelor’s in acting and then at UCLA for an MFA. While focused mostly on acting, both programs offered Mike opportunities to explore directing in various projects, as well as exposing him to some of the great minds in the directing world including Gil Cates, Mel Shapiro, Michael Langham, Ellen Geer, Mary Zimmerman and more.
Mike’s hands on directing experience came once he had established himself as a company member at the Equity playhouse in Malibu, The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, when Artistic Director Ellen Geer noticed his abilities and began to mentor him for a directing career. Under her tutelage, Mike worked first with young students, then with interns, and eventually began directing productions there. Mike directed Romeo and Juliet, Joyce Carol Oates’ Tone Clusters, as well as a critically acclaimed production of Equivocation.
Mike’s work was noticed by John Walcutt, Artistic Director of Shakepseare Orange County, and after directing a very successful production of The Tavern he was asked to join on as Associate Artistic Director. Mike has served as Associate Artistic Director for the 2015-2017 seasons, including co-directing another smash hit production of Romeo and Juliet.
In 2015 Mike launched Upstart Crow Films with his creative partner and fellow UCLA alum, Mark Fellner-Erez. UCF has produced six short films to date, including Out With A Bang and The God Chair, which debuted simultaneously at the 2015 Academy Award-qualifying Cinequest Film Festival, a festival first. Mike’s latest directorial effort, For Closure, a one take action-comedy, is currently traveling the festival circuit. UCF has several additional projects in development, including a feature-length version of Evie as well as Skids, an episodic project set in the community inhabiting LA’s skid row.