Daniel Boyd, a West Virginian, has degrees in Communications (West Virginia University) and Filmmaking (University of Arkansas). Beginning his filmmaking career making documentaries, Boyd’s early projects took him from the hobo “jungles” of the U.S. (HOMELESS BROTHER) to the war-torn mountains of Guatemala (MARCOS DE SAN MARCOS). Several of Boyd’s short narrative films were featured on regional and national television in the early and mid-eighties.
His first feature film, CHILLERS, was released in 1988. Still in international video and television distribution, this horror feature was awarded the Silver Scroll for excellence from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films in Los Angeles. Boyd’s second feature, a science fiction/comedy, STRANGEST DREAMS (aka, INVASION OF THE SPACE PREACHERS), premiered on the USA Network in 1991. It remains in domestic and international video and television distribution through TROMA. Boyd’s third feature film, PARADISE PARK (aka, HEROES OF THE HEART), a dramatic- fantasy, received Gold Awards at the Houston International Film Festival and the Chicago International Film Festival, was selected for the Breckenridge Festival of Film and presented at the Kennedy Center as part of the American Film Institute’s, American Independents series.
Boyd retired as a professor of media studies at West Virginia State University after 33 years of teaching in May 2016. He actively involved his filmmaking students in his professional projects. In 1994, Boyd established the Paradise Film Institute at WVSU for the purpose of supporting filmmaking in the state through resource services, production support, foreign exchanges and continuing education. PFI established travel/study/production exchange partnerships with film schools in Tanzania, Russia, the Czech Republic, Venezuela and Belize. As a three-time U.S. Fulbright Scholar, Boyd taught the first filmmaking and screenwriting classes at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, during the 98-99 academic year in East Africa. Recipient of a 2002 Fulbright Alumni Award, Boyd partnered with the University of Dar es Salaam on the pilot program TeleDrum (teaching filmmaking to American and African students while producing films for international aid organizations), resulting in the award- winning films, DUARA and SOUND THE DRUM.
Boyd has also photographed and written many travel-adventure related freelance articles for numerous publications, including Wonderful West Virginia Magazine. His first-person experiences have included dirt track car racing, rodeo bull riding, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro (Tanzania) and bicycling hundreds of miles of West Virginia outback. While researching an article in the fall of 2004, at 48, Boyd was able to experience a life-long dream of working in professional wrestling. Boyd (aka Professor Danger), worked over 150 matches, for nearly a dozen federations, including for Rings of Europe in Austria and AAA in Mexico.
Boyd teamed with William Bitner to co-write the illustrated novel, DEATH FALCON ZERO VS. THE ZOMBIE SLUG LORDS (2008). Rekindling his childhood love of comic books, Boyd embraced the modern graphic novel format, as he sees as “cinema on the page.” His critically acclaimed graphic novels, CHILLERS 1 (2012, Transfuzion) & CHILLERS 2 (2013, Caliber) were followed by his epic eco-horror tale, CARBON (2014, Caliber). The sequel, SALT (2016, Caliber), completed the CARBON storyline. CARBO and SALT are currently in film/TV development. Citing Rod Serling as his biggest professional influence, Boyd believes that often the more serious and controversial a subject, the more “sensational” the storytelling devices need to be in order to reach a larger audience. “We must entertain before we can enlighten,” says Boyd. “Films of the fantastic and graphic novels can often make sensitive issues more approachable.”
A former National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities fellow, Boyd has also won awards in documentary, horror, comedy and dramatic filmmaking, as well as screenwriting. He was named, “Filmmaker of the Year” by the WV Filmmakers Festival in 2003. Two of Boyd’s archeology documentaries, RED SALT & REYNOLDS (04) and GHOSTS OF GREEN BOTTOM (05), won Telly awards, and both were regional Emmy nominees. The third in the series, SECRETS OF THE VALLEY – PRE HISTORY OF THE KANAWHA was released in late 2010, premiering on West Virginia PBS. In 2006, Boyd was inducted into the West Virginia Country Music Hall of Fame for his contributions to the music genre through his film work.
Recently expanding into musical theater, Boyd and Gold/Platinum albums recipient and NPR’s Mountain Stage co-creator and host, Larry Groce, are collaborating on a full staged musical adaptation of Paradise Park commissioned by Theater West Virginia, scheduled for release in summer 2018. Boyd’s oldest daughter, Danielle, is a practicing attorney in Charleston, and his youngest, Georgia, is a financial analyst near Baltimore.