John O’Hagan was born in Dublin, Ireland and grew up in Washington D.C. He attended Brown University where he received a BFA in Modern Culture & Media. It was at Brown that O’Hagan first discovered his interest in directing while working in the university’s film archives. He then went on to receive an MFA in Film from New York University where he spent a year interning with one of his instructors, director Spike Lee. During this time, O’Hagan also gained valuable creative experience while distributing an independent documentary film for musician/photographer/director, David Byrne.
O’Hagan’s own success as a director came with his first feature-length documentary film, “Wonderland”, which premiered at Sundance and went on to earn him numerous festival awards and a DGA nomination for Best Direction of a Documentary.
O’Hagan quickly established himself in the commercial world, winning a Gold Lion at Cannes with the very first commercial he directed, “Arctic Ground Squirrel” for Dial-A-Mattress. He has since gone on to become one of the most consistently awarded directors in the commercial industry, winning multiple Lions, Clios, and Pencils for his work in the U.S. and Europe. O’Hagan has earned himself the reputation of a director with unique versatility, directing a wide range of visual, comedic, and performance-driven campaigns for such prominent clients as Adidas, IBM, Mercedes, Microsoft, Lexus, Smirnoff, and Tribeca Film Festival. He has also directed several high- profile Super Bowl commercials. In a recent CBS poll, “The Best Super Bowl Commercials of All-Time,” O’Hagan was credited with directing 2 of the top 10 (Budweiser and EDS).
He is currently completing another feature-length documentary film, titled “Waveland”. O’Hagan is also working on his first photography book, American Citadel, based on his ongoing work in large-format photography. As for some of his favorite creative influences, he cites a wide range of inspirations: Flannery O’Connor, Martin Parr, Terrence Malick, Stephen Shore, and Warner Herzog.