In 1993, Stuart produced and co-directed the award-winning VISIONS OF LIGHT: The Art of Cinematography, about the history of cinematography in motion pictures. The New York Film Critics Circle, The National Society of Film Critics and the Boston Society of Film Critics named VISIONS the year’s best documentary while The New York Times, USA TODAY, The Los Angeles Times and The San Francisco Chronicle awarded it four-star reviews. VISIONS OF LIGHT was the first High Definition (HDTV) feature to be shown at the Cannes Film Festival (1993), and was selected for the Edinburgh, London, Telluride, Chicago, Toronto, New York, Munich, Tokyo and Sundance Film Festivals. A survey of 40 major film critics named it “the most critically acclaimed film of 1993.”
In 1998, Stuart co-directed and co-wrote HOLLYWOODISM: Jews, Movies and the American Dream. Based on the acclaimed book by Neal Gabler, HOLLYWOODISM chronicles how Jewish immigrants founded and built Hollywood in the early twentieth century. The film garnered Stuart best director honours at Toronto’s Hot Docs Documentary Film Festival and best documentary at the Jerusalem Film Festival.
Stuart began his career first in academia. He has a Ph.D from Stanford University (1967), did post-graduate work at Oxford University (St. Antony’s College) and was a professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn), from 1968 to 1981, where he pioneered the teaching of cultural history using feature films from around the world. In 1981 he published the book, Midnight Movies (Macmillan, 1981). Two decades later, Stuart combined his academic training with his filmmaking, by turning his book into an award-winning documentary, Midnight Movies: From the Margin to the Mainstream.