Mark Romanek (born September 18, 1959) is an award-winning American music video director who has also moved into directing theatrical films.
Romanek was born in Chicago, Illinois. He credits seeing Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968, at the age of nine, and again during its rerelease in 1973, with inspiring him to become a film director. Romanek experimented with Super 8 and 16mm film as a teenager while attending New Trier East, a progressive public high school north of Chicago that offered a four-year film production and theory program. At New Trier, Romanek studied under Kevin Dole, a local filmmaker who was already creating a form of music video on his own in the mid 1970's. Romanek subsequently attended Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York, and graduated from its Roy H. Park School of Communications with a degree in cinema and photography.
Romanek served as 2nd assistant director for Brian De Palma on Home Movies, an autobiographical film De Palma conceived as an exercise for his students at Sarah Lawrence College (having returned to his alma mater after the shooting of The Fury as an instructor of film production). On set, Romanek met Keith Gordon, playing De Palma's alter ego.