Raised in rural Appalachia, Josef Steiff is a former social worker who now creates film, performance, and written work that reflect his interest in the ways that people struggle to make personal sense out of random, impersonal events.
Exhibiting in the United States, Europe and Asia, his film work includes writing/directing "Jesse James" and the award-winning shorts "Borders," "Catching Fire," "Indian Summer," "Eclipse," and "I Like My Boyfriend Drunk" as well as the documentary, "How Will I Tell? Surviving Sexual Assault"; he produced the short films "Safe Word" and "The Quit" with writer/director Todd Lillethun. For MBC Television, he line produced MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN A FLOWER, the first Korean feature-length film to deal openly with physical disabilities, and he has served as general crew on Michael Moore’s ROGER & ME and Wendy Weinberg’s Academy Award nominated documentary, "Beyond Imagining."
Steiff’s feature work includes writing/directing THE OTHER ONE (winner of 4 Indie Awards), writing/directing the last chapter "Wiped Clean" of the Split Pillow experiment in collaborative filmmaking SOULMAID, and producing writer/director Mark Bessenger's RHAPSODY. He contributed a sound installation to the first major art exhibition regarding HIV in the United States, "AIDS: The Artists' Response," and is the writer/performer of the critically acclaimed one-man show GOLDEN CORRAL that reflects on his experience growing up and working in rural Appalachia.
He recently published “To Lose My Mind and Save My Soul: The Masculine and Feminine in Films Set in the Forest” in Cuaderno/Gender and Narrative: The Heroine’s Path in Film and Other Narratives (Brazil), an essay about gay domestic violence, “Flashpoint,” in Hinterland (UK), and the poetic essay "Spill" in Memoryhouse (USA). His books include Storytelling Across Worlds: Transmedia for Creatives and Producers, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Independent Filmmaking, Battlestar Galactica and Philosophy: Mission Accomplished or Mission Frakked Up?, Anime and Philosophy: Wide Eyed Wonder, Manga and Philosophy: Fullmetal Metaphysician and Sherlock Holmes and Philosophy: The Footsteps of a Gigantic Mind.
Steiff is currently a Professor of Cinema and Television Arts at Columbia College Chicago and also teaches cinema aesthetics and processes in the MFA program Music Composition for the Screen.