Don Zirpola

Don Zirpola – Producer

Master story teller Don Zirpola is an entertainment professional extraordinaire. Passion, curiosity, and lifelong commitment to his craft have been driving forces in a career spanning over thirty years. Zirpola has produced work with first-tier companies including Universal, PBS and ABC TV, and his experience as a director, writer, and editor have garnered many awards in documentaries, short film and commercials. Zirpola’s latest efforts are in new media creation and distribution. His specialties are producing, internet programs, and mergers and acquisitions.

Chesapeake Films founder Joel Franco considers Zirpola his mentor. “I am honored to work with Don Zirpola. He brings a deep understanding of the entire film industry and his experience will bring so much to Chesapeake Films. First and foremost, I admire Don for his work and his commitment to telling great stories. I also admire him for his careful handling of every part of the film production process—from the story, to the people, to the look and the distribution. His personal approach to each project adds another layer that is distinctive and unique.

I love that his family is from Italy so we have a natural understanding but, more importantly, his spirit is one I try to emulate every day. He doesn’t get rattled. He is secure in his ability because he has so much experience and this comes through most in his respectful dealings with people. His passion, trust and creativity empower everyone around him. He inspires crew members to give more than they thought possible, they learn something each time and use this new understanding to command the job they were hired to do. Everyone walks away from a project with Don Zirpola exhilarated, knowing more about the nuances of film and doing better work. He is pragmatic, respectful and he trusts his crew and his open manner gains trust. He is able to smooth over high stress situations with an easy finesse. I admire the way he navigates the complex world of the entertainment ego and manages conflict in a way that dispels the issue and makes everyone want to get back to work.”

In addition to his film projects, Don Zirpola is a full professor at Loyola Marymount University School of Film & Television. He is also the enduring Director of the prestigious Universal Summer Producing and Directing Workshop Program at USC. This program attracts students worldwide with notable student successes that have garnered many international awards ranging from Oscars, Emmy’s and world festivals.

Zirpola was actively involved in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences student Academy Awards for over 15 years as the Western Regional Coordinator and he continues to give professional workshops on international producing, directing and advanced production. Zirpola serves on film juries in countries on almost every continent.


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