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Ernest Dickerson

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Ernest Dickerson

Ernest Dickerson.

Ernest Roscoe Dickerson is an American film and television director and cinematographer.


Dickerson was born in Newark, New Jersey, on June 25, 1951, and studied architecture at Howard University. He also took a film class because of a secondary interest in movies. He later moved to New York City, New York, to attend the film program of New York University at the Tisch School of the Arts, where he would meet fellow student Spike Lee, who would later become a frequent collaborator of his. Dickerson's first credit as a cinematographer was Lee's first film, Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads, which was filmed while the both of them were still students at the university. After graduating, Dickerson began his career as cinematographer on music videos for Bruce Springsteen, Anita Baker, and Miles Davis, and went on to film John Sayles' Brother from Another Planet (1984), his first professional film as a director of photography.

While working on the first two seasons of George A. Romero's anthology-horror TV series Tales from the Darkside, Dickerson worked as a cameraman on the concert film One Night with Blue Note and was later contacted by Lee, who had found the budget needed to shoot his movie She's Gotta Have It and wanted him to collaborate with him again. Dickerson continued this collaboration on five more of Lee's films, including Do the Right Thing. Their last collaboration was on the 1992 film Malcolm X; on that same year, Dickerson made his directing debut with the crime-drama Juice. He also worked as a second-unit director on Lee's Miracle at St Anna. For television, Dickerson directed several episodes of acclaimed TV shows such as Dexter, The Walking Dead, and Treme. A longtime horror-movie fan, he has also worked with Mick Garris on both Masters of Horror and Fear Itself, as well as directing Tales from the Crypt Presents: Demon Knight and Bones.

In 2003, Dickerson later joined the crew of the HBO-produced drama series The Wire as a director for its second season. An episode Dickerson directed for the show was submitted to the American Film Institute for consideration in their TV Programs of the Year award, with the show subsequently winning it. Following this success, Dickerson returned as a director for the third season in 2004, directing two episodes. In 2006, Dickerson contributed a further two episodes to the show's fourth season. The fourth season received a second AFI Award, with Dickerson attending the ceremony to collect the award. The Wire showrunner David Simon went on to state that Dickerson was the show's directorial "work horse" and that he knows the show as well as the producers. Dickerson returned as a director for the series' fifth and final season in 2008, directing one episode for it. He would later work with Simon again, directing several episodes of the New Orleans-based drama Treme, including the second-season finale "Do Watcha Wanna", which won Dickerson a NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Directing in a Dramatic Series.

Criminal MindsEdit

Dickerson directed the Season One episode L.D.S.K., his only episode for Criminal Minds to date.

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