John Kassab is a multi award winning Australian producer, sound designer, story teller and law school dropout.
John's film career launched in 2010 as the sound designer of the Australian short films, Deeper Than Yesterday (Dir. Ariel Kleiman) which won 3 prizes at Cannes and the Sundance International Grand Jury Prize, and The Lost Thing (Dir. Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann), which went on to receive an Oscar at the 2010 Academy Awards. That same year, John was also the recipient of a Winston Churchill Fellowship and embarked on an intentional tour to research the latest developments in sound post production workflows and techniques at Skywalker, De Lane Lea, Pinewood, Todd-AO / Soundelux, Pixar and the five major Hollywood studios - except for Disney who never returned his calls and emails.
Since then, John has embarked on a University speaking tour, consulted for sound studios in Australia and the United States, and contributed sound designs to numerous advertising campaigns for clients such as New Balance, Shiseido, Lynx, TAC, Quit, Shnitz and The Melbourne International Animation Festival.
In 2011, John relocated to the United States and began producing films in Los Angeles, New York, Massachusetts, Baltimore and his beloved Atlanta. Throughout his producing career, his focus has been to provide a platform to underrepresented voices.
His debut feature documentary 12 O’Clock Boys (USA: Dir. Lotfy Nathan) told the story of a disenfranchised African American boy living below the poverty line in Baltimore who dreams of joining the city's notorious illegal bike gang. This film premiered at SXSW in 2013 to considerable critical acclaim and has been adapted into the forthcoming feature film Twelve produced by Jada Pickett Smith and written by Oscar winner Barry Jenkins (Moonlight). After a whirlwind festival tour with that film, in 2015 John returned to Australia to produce and direct the web series Renaissance Woman (AU) which was written and performed by celebrated Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby.
In 2016, John co-produced the Spanish language thriller Debris (USA/PERU: Dir. Julio Ramos), a film about undocumented Mexican workers in Los Angeles whose organs are harvested for the medical black market. That film premiered at Telluride Film Festival in 2017 and qualified for Oscar consideration in 2018 after receiving multiple prizes at premiere film festivals around the world. He followed this in 2017 with the drama Nobody's Darling (USA: Dir. Robyn Hicks) which premiered at Sidewalk Film Festival in 2018 and told the story of a conservative father coming to terms with his daughter’s decision to marry a women. John’s latest production They Wait for Us (UK: Dir. George Thomson and Lukas Schrank) is a psychedelic science fiction told from the perspective of a poor Chinese night shift worker at an upmarket British palliative care facility. It premiered at Fantasia Film Festival in 2018 and has received multiple prizes and nominations including an Australian Screen Sound Guild Award. All three productions are still touring the international film festival circuit often ending up in the same programs.
In early 2019, John received the Cinespace Social Change Writer’s Fellowship and is now developing numerous television shows. He continues to also work in sound design. His latest track can be heard on the animated film The Grave of St Oran (USA: Dir. Jim Batt), which was based on a poem by and narrated by author Neil Gaiman.