Juan José Campanella (born July 19, 1959) is an Argentine television and film director, writer and producer. He is a prominent figure of cinema in his country, and achieved worldwide fame with the release of The Secret in Their Eyes (2009).
He started studying engineering, but dropped out in 1980 after four years at university. He would later remark that the decisive factor for this decision was watching All That Jazz on the very day he was going to apply for a fifth year. His debut as director was in 1979, with the short Prioridad nacional. Campanella traveled to the United States and entered the Tisch School of the Arts. Four years later, in 1984, his second film, Victoria 392, which marked the first of five collaborations with actor friend Eduardo Blanco, as well as his first collaboration with screenwriter Fernando Castets, with whom he co-directed and co-wrote the film.
In 1999, Campanella reunited once more with Castets to write El Mismo Amor, la Misma Lluvia, which starred actor friend Ricardo Darín (who had met Campanella 15 years before, abroad) and Eduardo Blanco. The formula would be repeated with two other films, in El Hijo de la Novia, 2001 (nominated for Oscar for best foreign language film in 2002) and in Luna de Avellaneda, 2004, all of which teamed Campanella and Castests as screenwriters, and Darín and Blanco as leading and supporting actor, respectively. Darín reprised the role of Campanella’s leading man in the mystery film The Secret in Their Eyes (2009), Campanella’s fourth feature-length film. It won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2010.
Campanella has directed episodes of American TV series such as House, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, 30 Rock, Halt and Catch Fire and Colony). He has held Spanish citizenship since 2006.
Campanella has worked 5 times with Eduardo Blanco, 4 times with Ricardo Darín and 2 times with Héctor Alterio. Campanella has also directed a number of acclaimed Argentine actors, including Norma Aleandro, Alfredo Alcón, Ulises Dumont, Natalia Verbeke, Adrián Suar, Mercedes Morán, Valeria Bertuccelli and Rodrigo de la Serna, as well as English-speaking actors Chris Meloni, Denis Leary, Adrien Brody, Moira Kelly, Justin Long, Vincent D’Onofrio, Alec Baldwin, Tina Fey, Tracy Morgan, Rachel Dratch, Hope Davis, Jay Hernandez, Bridget Moynahan, Stephen Colbert, and Hugh Laurie.
Campanella holds a Master in Fine Arts from New York University and is studying towards a Masters in Political Science from Universidad Torcuato di Tella.