Jared attended Burton Elementary School located in Kaysville, Utah, while living in Fruit Heights during his youth. He also attended Manhattan High School in Kansas for two years, before transferring to Preston High School, from which he graduated in 1997. Many scenes from Napoleon Dynamite were filmed there.
In 2002, while studying at BYU, Hess was awarded an Oscarson Discovery Grant, which assisted with his participation in the Sundance Film Festival in Park City.
Jared also wrote and directed a short film entitled Peluca. A prototype for Napoleon Dynamite, Peluca featured much of the same cast and plotline, including Jon Heder as Seth, "super nerd extraordinaire."
Besides his efforts on Napoleon Dynamite and Peluca, Jared has worked as a camera assistant in a number of films.
In 2009, Hess finished his movie entitled Gentlemen Broncos. It is about a teenager who aspires to be a writer, but when he visits a fantasy writer convention, he finds that his idea has been stolen by an established novelist. The film starred Michael Angarano as the teenager, Jemaine Clement as the established novelist, and Sam Rockwell as the story's fictional title character who appears in book-come-to-life sequences.
In 2010, it was announced that Hess' hit movie "Napoleon Dynamite" would become a prequel animated series on Fox featuring the further adventures of the iconic teen, and the voice talents of the original cast.
Hess directed another film written with his wife, Don Verdean, which was accepted into the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. His film “Masterminds,” starring Kristen Wiig and Zack Galifianakis, was set to be released by Relativity on August 7, 2015. The same year, it was announced that he would be producing Micronations, staring Jack Black, and that he would direct Walt Disney Picture’s Overnight on 42nd Street.
Hess has also been asked to direct a compiled Nicktoons project similar to Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
Jared and Jerusha Hess are both members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and have one son, Elliot, and one daughter, Greta. They currently reside in Salt Lake City, Utah.
- Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
- Nacho Libre (2006)
- Gentlemen Broncos (2009)
- Variety - "Jack Black reteams with director Jared Hess on comedy Micronations" (18 May 2015)
- Deseret News - 'Napoleon Dynamite' animated series is funny, familiar, but not too family-friendly (12 January 2012)
- Daily Universe - Viewpoint: New ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ cartoon better than expected (18 January 2012)
- The Salt Lake Tribune - The cartoon side of ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ (13 Oct 2010)
- Mormon Times - 'Gentlemen Broncos' director puts home and family first (6 Nov. 2009)
- The Daily Universe - New Hess film oddly hilarious (6 Nov. 2009)
- [http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865646951/6Napoleon-Dynamite7-couple-tapped-to-make-NickToons-movie.html?pg=all Deseret News - "'Napoleon Dynamite' couple to make movie (5 February 2016)