Cory McAbee

Writer / director / actor / composer / musician / illustrator



Cory is best known as the writer, director, songwriter and composer for the internationally acclaimed feature films, The American Astronaut (2001), Stingray Sam (2009), Crazy and Thief (2012) and as singer/songwriter for the musical group The Billy Nayer Show (1989–2011). He has created award-winning animated and live-action short films and has worked as both an actor and musician in American and European features. He has written many screenplays, including his recent feature length opera, while continuing to illustrate his graphic novel series entitled, Rabbit. In 2015 McAbee wrote, recorded and produced his first solo album. Music from this album is being used to develop the globally generated feature film Deep Astronomy. McAbee is the writer, director and co-producer of this feature.


Alternative Media Experience

 Cory McAbee is regarded as a pioneer in new media. In 1995 he presented the first multi-media event ever to be featured at the Sundance Film Festival. In 2007 McAbee was commissioned by the GSM Association and Sundance Film Festival to create one of the first films ever to be designed for and distributed on mobile devices. Deep Astronomy is a global collaborative film production that integrates popular social media and multiple crowdsourcing formats with lesser-known, new and overlooked forms of online communication. Elements from the social and online communication process will be used to create the film’s narrative. As part of this project McAbee is currently hosting a live, online interactive radio program while creating related pieces in virtual reality.



McAbee has given lectures, panel discussions, symposiums, and master’s classes on art, the collaborative process and alternative media at:

  • School of the Chicago Art Institute. Chicago, IL (2016)
  • Open State Conference. Adelaide, Australia (2016)
  • University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Winston-Salem, NC (2016)
  • University of North Carolina. Asheville, NC (2016)
  • Drexel University. Philadelphia, PA (2016)
  • Flint Institute of the Arts. Flint, MI (2016)
  • Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Minneapolis, MN (2016)
  • University of Minnesota. Minneapolis MN (2016)
  • Carleton College. Northfield, MN (2016)
  • Hamline University. St. Paul, MN (2016)
  • North West Film Forum. Seattle, WA (2015)
  • Portland State University. Portland, OR (2015)
  • University of Arizona. Tucson, AZ (2015)
  • New Convergence Program. Lincoln Center. NYC (2013, 2015)
  • IFP Filmmakers Conference. NYC (2009, 2013)
  • Adelaide International Documentary Conference. Adelaide, Australia (2013)
  • South Australian Film Corp. Digital 360 Lab. Adelaide, Australia (2013)
  • Wide Angle. Hobart, Tasmania (2013)
  • St.Petersburg, Russia (2011)
  • Interlochen Arts Academy. Interlochen, MI
 (2010, 2012)
  • University of Illinois. Urbana-Champaign, IL (2012)
  • Seize the Power Symposium. LA Film Festival. LA, CA (2010)
  • The Conversation. Columbia University. NYC
  • Yale Film Club. Yale University. New Haven, CT
  • Revelation Perth International. Perth, Australia (2010)
  • Fantaspoa Festival. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil (2010)
  • New Frontier Panel. Sundance Film Festival. Park City, UT (2009)
  • Lund Film Academy. Lund, Sweden. (2009)
  • You Are In Control. Reykjavík, Iceland
  • IMAGINE: Amsterdam, Netherlands (2009)
  • 3GSM World Congress. Barcelona, Spain
  • 21st Century Global Summit. Oxford, UK
  • Marketing 50 Dinner. NYC (2007)
  • Sundance senior board meeting. NYC (2007)


Select Films:


Writer / Director / Composer
/ Cinematographer

  • Special Features Jury Award. Indie Memphis. Memphis, TN.
  • Petit Format Award. New Visions category. Sitges International Film Festival. (Spain)
  • Top 10 Best Undistributed Films of 2012.
  • Forbidden Planet International. Best of the Year 2012. (UK)
  • Official Selection. LA Film Festival


Writer / Director / Lead Actor / Composer / Storyboard Artist

  • Official Selection, Sundance Film Festival
  • Best Science Fiction Fantasy Film. Comic-Con. CCI-IFF. San Diego
  • Best Director. Montevideo Fantastic Film Festival. Uruguay
  • Best Music / Original Score. Montevideo Fantastic Film Festival. Uruguay
  • Special Jury Award. Innovation In Filmmaking. Indie Memphis
  • Innovation Award. Sound Unseen.
  • Minnesota
Audience Award. Special Mention.
  • Honorary Mention. Intl Young Filmmakers festival. Granada, Spain
  • Honorary Mention. Sopot International Film Festival. Poland


Writer / Director / Lead Actor / Composer / Storyboard Artist

  • 35mm print and negative have been acquisitioned by the US Library of Congress for their permanent archive collection.
  • Official Selection, Sundance Film Festival. Dramatic Competition.
  • Special Jury Award For Original Vision. Florida Film Festival.
  • Best Of The Fest. 5th Revelation Perth International Film Festival.
  • Best Feature Film. LUFF Lausanne. Switzerland.
  • Best Feature Film. Crossroads Film Festival. Jackson, MS.
  • TOP 10 FILMS of 2001. Film Threat Magazine.



DEEP ASTRONOMY (2015- 2016)

Songwriter / Composer / Singer / Musician / Producer

  • Solo music project featuring a full-length record release with live multi-media performances by Cory McAbee.



Songwriter / Composer / Singer / Musician / Producer

  • A live collaborative musical tour with concerts by Cory McAbee that featured performances and recordings by musicians around the world. These performances were presented at theaters and nightclubs, as well as film and music festivals throughout the USA, UK, Europe and Australia.


THE BILLY NAYER SHOW (1987 – 2011)

Songwriter / Composer / Singer / Electric autoharp / Ukulele / Harmonica

  • Performed concerts throughout the US, Europe and Canada.
  • Received several independent musical awards and critical acclaim
  • Created 3 feature film soundtracks
  • Released 9 full length CDs




  • Directed by Chen Shi-Zheng. Music by Stephin Merritt. Presented at the Lincoln Center Summer Festival and the Guggenheim Museum