Filmmaker on the Edge

Award Sponsored by LITHExcel

PIFF annually presents the “Filmmaker on the Edge” award to a film artist whose outstanding achievement, innovation, and vision continues to push the boundaries of the medium throughout their body of work.

Sophia Coppola - 2017

2017 Filmmaker of the Year - Sophia Coppola

Sofia Coppola is an Oscar-winning writer and Oscar-nominated producer anddirector. Coppola grew up in Northern California and studied Fine Art at California Institute of the Arts.

She wrote and directed the feature The Virgin Suicides adapted from Pulitzer Prize-winner Jeffrey Eugenides’ novel of the same name. The movie starred Kirsten Dunst, Josh Hartnett, James Woods, and Kathleen Turner. With a world premiere at the Cannes International Film Festival, The Virgin Suicides subsequently earned her the MTV Movie Award for Best New Filmmaker.

Coppola’s next film, Lost in Translation, was her first with Focus Features, and screened at the Toronto, Venice, and Telluride Film Festivals. The movie brought her the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay as well as Academy Award nominations for Best Director and Best Picture (in her capacity as producer). Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson won BAFTA Awards for Best Actor and Best Actress, respectively, among many other honors that the cast and crew received worldwide.

Her third feature as writer/director, Marie Antoinette, was based in part on Antonia Fraser’s biography Marie Antoinette: The Journey, and world-premiered at the Cannes International Film Festival. The movie, which Coppola also produced, starred Kirsten Dunst in the title role. The film’s costume designer, Milena Canonero, won an Academy Award for her work on the picture.

Ms. Coppola’s fourth feature, Somewhere, was shot at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles.  She wrote, directed and produced the movie, which stars Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning.  It premiered at the 67th Venice Film Festival, where it was honored with the top prize, The Golden Lion.

Her next film, The Bling Ring, based on true events, followed a group of teenagers on a thrilling and disturbing crime-spree in the Hollywood Hills, with an ensemble cast starring Emma Watson, Leslie Mann, Taissa Farmiga, and Katie Chang. Written and directed by Coppola, it was released in June 2013.

Most recently, Coppola wrote, produced and directed A Very Murray Christmas in which Bill Murray rounds up an all-star cast for an evening of music, comedy and good cheer and was released by Netflix in December 2015. In addition, Coppola made her opera debut with a production of Verdi’s classic, La Traviata. Coppola teamed up with fashion designer Valentino and production designer Nathan Crowley for the opera which opened at the Opera of Rome on May 24, 2016.

Coppola’s upcoming film, The Beguiled, is adapted from Thomas Cullinan's novel of the same name and stars Elle Fanning, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst and Colin Farrell. The film, which Coppola directed, wrote and produced, will be released through Focus Features in June 2017.

Ang Lee - 2016

Ang LeeThree-time academy award winning director Ang Lee was born in Pingtung County, Taiwan. The son of a high school principal with traditional ideas about education, Lee chose to study theater in America instead. He went on to get an M.F.A. in Film Production at NYU. In 1990, Lee made his first feature, Pushing Hands. His films include The Wedding Banquet (Golden Bear, Berlin Film Festival), Eat Drink Man Woman, Sense and Sensibility (Golden Bear), The Ice Storm, Ride with the Devil, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Oscar, Best Foreign Film), Hulk, Brokeback Mountain (Golden Lion, Venice Film Festival and Oscar, Best Director), Lust, Caution (Golden Lion), Taking Woodstock and Life of Pi (Oscar, Best Director). He is currently in post- production on Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk for Sony/TriStar Pictures. He lives in New York.

Bobcat Goldthwait - 2015

A recent review of one of Goldthwait’s films began by asking, “Is it time to start taking Bobcat Goldthwait seriously as a director?” This may sound like the start of a joke you’d hear in his stand-up act, but the question is real and the answer is a resounding yes. With brutal and funny writing, Goldthwait’s films are subversive—with big laughs sitting atop thoughtful, interesting ideas. In SLEEPING DOGS LIE (originally titled, plaintively, STAY", he explored the question of how much honesty a relationship can withstand. And in World’s Greatest Dad, Robin Williams’ title character learns that the things you want most may not be the things that make you happy.

How did this happen? Goldthwait began his career doing stand-up comedy as a teenager in Syracuse, New York. His unique comedic voice soon propelled him to national attention and led to acting. But through it all, Goldthwait knew that directing was his calling—and critics and festivals agree. From Toronto to Sundance, Sydney to Edinburgh, his darkly funny and brave films have been hailed, as not only funny and smart, but brilliant, astonishing, and profound.

“I want to prove F. Scott Fitzgerald wrong,” Goldthwait has said, “that there are no second acts.” The Provincetown Film Festival’s 2015 Filmmaker on the Edge award loudly proclaims that in the case of Bobcat Goldthwait, Fitzgerald was decidedly wrong.



The films of David Cronenberg are never easy and always unsettling. While fearlessly and relentlessly exploring the darkest extremes of sexuality and violence with a keen, incisive intelligence, he takes his actors and collaborators and viewers through moments of unforgettable horror and pathos. In all of his films, Cronenberg has consistently looked beyond the surface kinkiness to the obsessive emotions that humanize his characters' extremes. His has been a long and dazzling career-one that continues unabated on the subversive edge of the medium.

Harmony Korine - 2013

Once hailed as "the future of American cinema" by Werner Herzog, writer/director Harmony Korine arrived on the scene, at age 19, as the screenwriter of 1995's KIDS. With a vast, varied body of work, he’s since proven himself as one of the most controversial, independent filmmakers working today.  His fantastically distinctive work includes GUMMO, JULIEN DONKEY-BOY, MISTER LONELY, TRASH HUMPERS and his most recent tour de force, SPRING BREAKERS, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival and took the box office by storm. In conversation with writer/director John Waters—not to be missed!

Roger Corman - 2012

The saga of independent filmmaker Roger Corman ranks as one of the most amazing motion picture success stories. Having produced more than 550 films and directed fifty others, his influence on American film goes far beyond his own energetic, creative low-budget movies. He is arguably one of Hollywood's most gifted and masterful film makers.

Noted for his keen ability to spot young talents, his most lasting legacy will undoubtedly be the legion of producers, directors, writers, and actors he has fostered, among them: Jack Nicholson, Francis Ford Coppola, Peter Fonda, Bruce Dern, Diane Ladd, Talia Shire, Peter Bogdanovich, Robert DeNiro, Martin Scorsese, Sally Kirkland, Ron Howard, Charles Bronson, Joe Dante, Jonathan Demme, Gale Ann Hurd, and James Cameron.

Born in Detroit in 1926, Corman graduated from Beverly Hills High School. In 1947, he received a bachelor's degree in Engineering from Stanford University. After a stint in the Navy, he took a job at 20th Century Fox and by 1949 was a story analyst at the studio. Disenchanted with a studio protocol, he left Fox for England, where he did post-graduate work in modern English literature at Oxford's Balliol College. Upon his return to Hollywood, Corman worked briefly as a literary agent.

In 1953, Roger Corman sold his first screenplay, entitled HIGHWAY DRAGNET, to Allied Artists and served as associate producer on the film. With the proceeds of the sale he made THE MONSTER FROM THE OCEAN FLOOR the following year, his first film as an independent producer, on the remarkable budget of $18,000.

The triumph of his initial endeavor proved that a high quality film can be made with very little money. As a result, Corman began producing a wide array of low-budget features for American International Pictures; all were extremely successful. He tackled a variety of genres, from Westerns and gangster films to sci-fi, teen-age hot rod and rock'n'roll movies. In 1957 alone Corman turned out nine films - some of which were completed in two or three days.

With this string of box office hits to his credit, Corman began to procure larger budgets. Throughout the 1960s, Corman's cycle of Vincent Price/Edgar Allan Poe horror films earned him international acclaim. When the French Film Institute honored him with a retrospective in 1964, Roger Corman became the youngest producer/director ever to receive such an accolade.

Always a trendsetter, Corman made the first "biker" movie with WILD ANGELS. Starring Peter Fonda and Nancy Sinatra, the film opned the 1966 Venice Film Festival to great acclaim. Corman also began the late 60’s “psychedelic” film craze in 1967 with THE TRIP, written by and starring Jack Nicholson.

As American International Pictures' primary director, Corman's success built the company into a major force in Hollywood. Appalled by the intrinsic waste of time and money, as well as executive interference, Corman opted out of the major studio system. In 1970s, he founded his own production and distribution company, New World Pictures. New World's first year in operation astonished even Corman, as all eleven pictures distributed showed substantial profits.

New World rapidly grew into the largest independent motion picture distribution company in the United States. In addition to providing the public with such fast-paced entertainment as BIG BAD MAMA and EAT MY DUST, or cult films such as ROCK AND ROLL HIGH SCHOOL, New World soon became the independent leader in presenting high-quality foreign films to the American public. New World releases included Academy Award-winning films by Ingmar Bergman, Francois Truffaut, Federico Fellini, Akira Kurosawa, and Werner Herzog.

In January of 1983, Roger Corman decided to sell New World Pictures. The sale allowed him to continue producing films without simultaneously managing a gigantic distribution company. It also enabled him to produce more movies with larger budgets. The day after he sold New World, Corman announced the formation of his new company, Concorde-New Horizons. In the year that followed, he released five new films: the teen comedy SCREWBALLS, the sci-fi adventure SPACE RAIDERS, the sword and sorcery epic DEATHSTALKER, the punk teen drama SUBURBIA, directed by Penelope Spheeris, and LOVE LETTERS starring Jamie Lee Curtis.

Concorde's releases include the critically acclaimed REFLECTIONS IN THE DARK, starring Mimi Rogers and Billy Zane and Paul Anderson's SHOPPING. For Showtime's "Roger Corman Presents", he showcased such films as ALIEN AVENGERS starring George Wendt, BLACK SCORPION II starring Joan Severence, HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP starring Robert Carradine and VAMPIRELLA starring Roger Daltry.

In 1990, Roger Corman wrote (with Jim Jerome) his autobiography "How I Made a Hundred Movies in Hollywood and Never Lost a Dime", published by Random House.

More than 50 years after his first foray into filmmaking, Roger Corman shows no signs of stopping. He continues to produce films and gain recognition for his vast array of accomplishments. In 2009, Corman received an Honorary Oscar of Lifetime Achievement from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences “for his rich engendering of films and filmmakers.”

Roger Corman lives in Santa Monica with his wife, producer Julie Corman.

Darren Aronofsky - 2011

Filmmaker on the Edge 2011 - Darren Aronofsky

In just over a decade, writer/director Darren Aronofsky has quickly established himself as one of the best American directors working today. The list of critically acclaimed and award winning films include π, REQUIEM FOR A DREAM, THE FOUNTAIN, THE WRESTLER, and BLACK SWAN, which received five Academy Award nominations, including one for Darren as Best Director.

Kevin Smith - 2010

Kevin SmithKevin Smith has spent the last fifteen years as a writer/director making CLERKS, MALLRATS, CHASING AMY, DOGMA, JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK, JERSEY GIRL, CLERKS II, ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO, and most recently, COP OUT, with Tracy Morgan and Bruce Willis.

Mystifyingly, Smith also sports three DVD releases of his various college Q&A's (AN EVENING WITH KEVIN SMITH, AN EVENING WITH KEVIN SMITH 2: EVENING HARDER, A THREEVENING WITH KEVIN SMITH). He's published two books full of essays and blog postings (SILENT BOB SPEAKS and the New York Times Best Selling MY BORING-ASS LIFE), as well as Shootin' the Sh*t with Kevin Smith - a collection of the best material from SModcast, Smith and producer Scott Mosier's weekly podcast. Smith has also written for both of the major comic book giants DC and Marvel (the award-winning Daredevil, Spider-Man and the Black Cat at Marvel Comics, and the award-winning Green Arrow, Batman: Cacophony, and Batman: The Widening Gyre at DC Comics).

Aside from the films he's directed, Smith has served as a producer on indie efforts (including Bryan Johnson's Lion's Gate release VULGAR) a multiple Academy Award winner (GOOD WILL HUNTING), and a pair of Sundance-selected documentaries (REEL PARADISE and SMALL TOWN GAY BAR).

In addition to filmmaking, Smith occasionally moonlights as an actor, appearing in LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD, and CATCH AND RELEASE. He also voiced the animated role of the farting Moose in DOOGLE.

One of the first filmmakers to venture into cyberspace, Smith has built his fan base primarily on the web, via the thirteen year old binary village at And if the film thing doesn't pan out, there's always retail: Smith owns a comic book store named Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash in Red Bank, New Jersey.

As for the hood ornaments he's collected, there's plenty of tin on display: the Filmmaker's Trophy at Sundance for CLERKS; the Prix de la Jeunesse and the International Critic's Week Award at the Cannes Film Festival, also for CLERKS. The Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay for CHASING AMY, and a Humanitas Award for GOOD WILL HUNTING.

Smith also received the Defender of Democracy Award from Norman Lear's People for the American Way organization for his production of DOGMA. CLERKS II won both the prestigious Audience Award at the Edinburgh Film Festvial as well as the Orbit Dirtiest Mouth Moment at the Mtv Movie Awards. For his writing in the comics field, Smith has received a Harvey Award, a Wizard Fan Award, an Eagle Award, and saw his GREEN ARROW: QUIVER named as one of 2003's Best Books for Young Adults by the American Library Association's Young Adult Library Service. In the fall of 2002, the town of Paulsboro in New Jersey named a street after him: Kevin Smith Way. In 2004, the Video Software Dealers Association gave Smith the DVD Visionary Award, and in 2005, he collected the Independent Spirit Award from Britain's Empire Magazine. In April of 2006, this award-whore was given UCLA's Jack Benny Award for Comedy, and in 2008, Smith was given the Maverick Award by the Woodstock Film Festival, as well as the Vision Award from the DGA-affiliated Filmmaker's Alliance.

But he'd chuck it all for his wife and kid. Smith married wife Jennifer in April '99 and celebrated the birth of their daughter, Harley Quinn, in June of that same year. The wedding was not white, to say the least.

Guy Maddin - 2009

Guy Maddin

Guy Maddin, the world's foremost cineaste planant, was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba: the coldest and most central city in North America. His filmic output to date - nine feature-length projects and innumerable shorts - is a remarkable canon of fantasia. Viewing a Maddin movie, short- or long-form, it's hard not to conclude that there must have been some strange alchemy on the set - the pictures seem woven and filigreed rather than simply, bluntly "shot" as other movies are; and furthermore must have been magicked together by a team of pillow-sleeved artistes with a rouged, beret-clad Maddin shrieking directions in falsetto from a golden velvet throne floating atop a dais of honeyed mist.

However, he is, in person and on set, quite a normal man. His first feature, TALES FROM THE GIMLI HOSPITAL, appeared in 1988, and became a midnight-movie classic. His second, ARCHANGEL, won the U.S. National Film Critics Award for best experimental film. Since then he has won many other awards - including the Telluride Silver Medal for life achievement in 1995, the San Francisco International Film Festival's prestigious Persistance of Vision award in 2006, and others - and created dozens of beguiling films in his unique personal style. These include such celebrated feature works as THE SADDEST MUSIC IN THE WORLD (2003); BRAND UPON THE BRAIN! (2006); and MY WINNIPEG (2007).

Quentin Tarantino - 2008

Quentin Tarantino

With his vibrant imagination and his trademark dedication to richly detailed storytelling, Quentin Tarantino has established himself as one of the most unique, visionary filmmakers of his generation. Tarantino continues to infuse his distinct, innovative films with appreciative nods to classic moviemaking styles, genres and motifs.

Most recently Tarantino took us on a ride when he collaborated with one of his best friends and one of the most renowned filmmakers Robert Rodriquez to go back to back with GRINDHOUSE. A double dose packed to the gills with guns and guts. The unprecedented project from the longtime collaborators (FROM DUSK TO DAWN, FOUR ROOMS and SIN CITY) presents two original, complete films as a double feature. Tarantino's DEATH PROOF, one half of the double feature, is a white knuckle ride behind the wheel of a psycho serial killers roving , revving, racing death machine.

Tarantino is well known to have guided audiences on a whirlwind tour of the globe in KILL BILL Vol. 1 and Kill Bill Vol. 2, in which Uma Thurman, as "the bride," enacted a "roaring rampage of revenge" on her former lover and boss. KILL BILL Vol. 1 and KILL BILL Vol. 2 also star David Carradine as the doomed title character, and Lucy Liu, Daryl Hannah, Vivica A. Fox and Michael Madsen as his equally moribund team of assassins.

Following the worldwide success of KILL BILL Vol. 1 and KILL BILL Vol. 2, Tarantino seized another opportunity to collaborate with longtime friend and colleague Robert Rodriguez as a special guest director on the thriller SIN CITY. Based on three of co-director Frank Miller's graphic novels, SIN CITY was released by Miramax in April, 2005. The ensemble cast includes Jessica Alba, Powers Boothe, Rosario Dawson, Benicio Del Toro, Michael Clarke Duncan, Michael Madsen, Brittany Murphy, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis and Elijah Wood.

Tarantino then turned his attention to the small screen, directing the season five finale of "CSI." In the episode, entitled "Grave Danger," Tarantino took the show's fans on a chilling, claustrophobic journey six feet underground into a torturous coffin that contained CSI team member Nick Stokes (George Eads). The episode garnered Tarantino an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series. Tarantino made his television directorial debut in 1995 with an episode of the long-running drama "ER" entitled "Motherhood."

Tarantino wrote and directed JACKIE BROWN, a comic crime caper loosely based on Elmore Leonard's novel Rum Punch, starring Pam Grier, Robert Forster, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Bridget Fonda and Michael Keaton. JACKIE BROWN was released in 1997. Grier garnered both Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations for her performance in the title role. Forster was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Jackson won the Silver Bear for Best Actor at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1998 for his performance as Ordell Robbie.

Tarantino co-wrote, directed and starred in PULP FICTION, which won the Palme D'Or at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival, numerous critics awards, and a Golden Globe for Best Screenplay. (He made a return visit to Cannes in 2004 to take on the prestigious role of jury president.) PULP FICTION was nominated for seven Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director, and Tarantino received an Academy Award for Best Screenplay. The time-bending, crime fiction collage stars John Travolta, Bruce Willis, Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson, Eric Stoltz, Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Maria de Medeiros, Amanda Plummer and Christopher Walken.

He made a bold debut with RESEVOIR DOGS, a cops and robbers tale that Tarantino wrote, directed and produced on a shoe-string budget. The film boasts an impressive cast that includes Harvey Keitel, Steve Buscemi, Tim Roth and Michael Madsen.

Following the success of RESEVOIR DOGS, the screenplays that Tarantino wrote during his tenure as a video store clerk became hot properties: Tony Scott directed Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette in TRUE ROMANCE and Robert Rodriguez directed George Clooney and Selma Hayek in FROM DUSK TILL DAWN.

Tarantino joined Allison Anders, Robert Rodriguez and Alexandre Rockwell by directing, writing and executive producing a segment of the omnibus feature FOUR ROOMS. FOUR ROOMS was released by Miramax in December, 1995.

Tarantino's diverse work as a producer exemplifies both his dedication to first-time filmmakers and his enthusiastic support for his experienced peers and colleagues. Tarantino served as an executive producer on Eli Roth's HOSTEL, a chilling horror film about vacationers who fall victim to a service that allows its patrons to live out sadistic fantasies of murder. Tarantino is also an executive producer on John Madden's thriller KILLSHOT, starring Mickey Rourke and Diane Lane. KILLSHOT will be released by The Weinstein Company in 2006. In 2005, Tarantino also produced first-time director Katrina Bronson's DALTRY CALHOUN, starring Johnny Knoxville and Juliette Lewis. Tarantino's additional executive producer credits include Robert Rodriguez's FROM DUSK TILL DAWN and Roger Avary's KILLING ZOE. The longtime fan of Asian cinema presented Yuen Wo Ping's IRON MONKEY to American audiences in 2001 and Zhang Yimou's HERO in 2004.

Todd Solondz - 2007

Todd Solondz was born in Newark, New Jersey and grew up in the suburbs. In 1996 WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE, a feature he produced, wrote, and directed, won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and many other awards. In 1998, HAPPINESS, which he wrote and directed, won the International Critics Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay. His next film STORYTELLING premiered at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival, and was named one of the "ten best films of the year" by The New York Times. PALINDROMES premiered in competition at the 2004 Venice Film Festival, as well as at that year's New York and Toronto Film Festivals. Next up is LIFE DURING WARTIME, which Solondz recently described as a sequel to, or riff on, HAPPINESS. "Many of the characters from [my] movies unexpectedly beckoned to me, and so I have explored new ways of enlarging their stories, with the intent to recast them from a fresh perspective." Whatever Solondz makes, we know the world will be watching.


Gregg Araki

One of the most unconventional and relentlessly intruiging voices in independent cinema, filmmaker Gregg Araki emerged on the film scene with a bang with THE LIVING END in 1992, establishing him as one of the key figures in the "New Queer Cinema." Dubbed by many an American-indie Goddard, Araki's films serve as a blueprint for American independent filmmaking over the past decades: from the no-budget guerilla style of his early works to the assured skill of a master, which he displayed in his most recent film MYSTERIOUS SKIN, for which he received a Best Director nomination at the 2005 Independent Spirit Awards. Provocative, controversial, committed, and singularly gifted, Gregg Araki is a unique voice in modern cinema. He was honored with the Festival's highest honor: 2006 Filmmaker on the Edge.


Mary Harron

Mary Harron is as controversial as her films. She exhibits an unabashed penchant for telling the truth, however unpopular. Her work maintains feminist overtones with often dark disturbing characters intensified by her acute dedication to casting choices. In her debut feature, I Shot Andy Warhol (1996), Lili Taylor gives a tour-de-force performance as the real-life character Valerie Solanas, a paranoid delusional staunch lesbian feminist who shot and wounded '60s pop artist icon Andy Warhol. The film raised eyebrows for what was considered an overly sympathetic depiction of the main character. Her equally provocative second feature, American Psycho (2000), starred Christian Bale and was based on the legendary Bret Easton Ellis novel about a Wall Street big shot in the 1980's turned murderer. The film was met with much controversy upon its making and release and officially launched Harron into the spotlight for her cinematographic artistry and masterful adaptation of a highly controversial book.

Harron's forthcoming The Notorious Bettie Page (2005) starring Gretchen Mol is much anticipated and slated for release in 2005 by HBO Films. She is currently in pre-production for her next film Please Kill Me , based on Legs McNeil's bestselling book. In addition, Harron has directed some of televisions edgiest shows, including "The L Word," "Six Feet Under," and "Oz". Raised in Toronto, educated at England's Oxford University and currently residing in New York City, Harron began her filmmaking career creating documentaries for British television. Before working in film, she was a journalist in the rock music industry and helped launch the first punk magazine, Punk . She was the first writer to interview The Sex Pistols for an American publication.


Jarmusch 's cinematic achievements over the past three decades include Stranger Than Paradise (1984), Down By Law (1986), Mystery Train (1989), Dead Man (1995), Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999), and his most recent Coffee and Cigarettes (2004).

Appropriately, 2004 was the 20th anniversary of the release of Jarmusch's break-through underground classic Stranger Than Paradise , which won the Camera d'Or for Best New Director at the Cannes Film Festival. In 1987, Jarmusch won the Best Artistic Contribution Prize at Cannes, for Mystery Train.


Independent filmmaker and director Todd Haynes , whose recent cinematic achievement, Far From Heaven , was in center spotlight at 2003's prestigious Independent Spirit Awards, where it won Best Feature, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Cinematography. 

Hayne's work over the past two decades ( Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story, Poison, Safe, Velvet Goldmine ) established him as a maverick filmmaker, perpetually pushing the boundaries of cinema and creating stimulating, thought-provoking work. 

His feature debut Poison took the Grand Prize at the 1991 Sundance Film Festival. Safe (1995), a compelling story about environmental illness and its destructive effects, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and also showed at the Cannes International Film Festival. Safe was voted by 65 film critics as the best film of the 90's in the 2000 Village Voice Critics' Poll. His third feature as writer/director, Velvet Goldmine , premiered at the 1998 Cannes International Film Festival and earned Haynes a Special Jury Prize for Artistic Contribution. Velvet Goldmine won an Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography. It also garnered a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Award and an Academy Award nomination for Best Costume Design.

While still in high school, Haynes produced his first film, a short about contemporary teenage life. He studied at Brown University, and there directed his first film. After college, Haynes moved to New York where he launched Apparatus Productions, a non-profit organization to support independent films, with Christine Vachon and Barry Ellsworth.

Gus Van Sant - 2002

Acclaimed director Gus Van Sant received the 2002 Filmmaker on the Edge Award. Van Sant's notable films include My Own Private Idaho , To Die For, Good Will Hunting , and Gerry .

His debut film was Mala Noche (1985), a black and white film named by the Los Angeles Times as the year's "Best Independent Film." The director made Drugstore Cowboy (1989), which won an Independent Spirit Award for his screenplay and received great critical acclaim, furthering Van Sant's reputation as a gifted director. Van Sant's next effort, My Own Private Idaho (1991), also won the Independent Spirit Award for best screenplay. 

The success of To Die For (1995), Van Sant's first film for a major studio (Columbia), put him on the road to future projects like Good Will Hunting (1997), which was a critical and commercial achievement. The film received several Academy Award nominations, including a Best Director nomination for Van Sant. It won a Best Screenplay Oscar for Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, and a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Robin Williams. 

Van Sant's film career was shaped in his early years, when his family moved frequently. One constant in his childhood was an interest in painting and Super-8 filmmaking. While still in high school, he began making semi-autobiographical shorts. Van Sant's artistic interests took him to the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where classmates included David Byrne and other members of the Talking Heads. It was also at RISD that Van Sant met avant-garde directors like Stan Brakhage, Jonas Mekas, and Andy Warhol. After some time in Europe, Van Sant secured a job in Los Angeles as a production assistant to writer-director Ken Shapiro, then returned to the east coast to work in a New York ad agency, before beginning his filmmaking career in earnest. 

Ted Hope and James Schamus - 2001

Ted Hope and James Schamus are credited with some of the most acclaimed art-house hits of the past decade including many award-winning Ang Lee productions such as The Ice Storm and The Wedding Banquet (James Schamus also co-executive produced and co-wrote the Academy award winning Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon ). Hope and Schamus have had a close professional association having co-founded Good Machine, an acclaimed New York-based film production company. Since 1991 Hope and Schamus have collectively been associated with a wide variety of award-winning independent film projects, launching two pivotal feature debuts in their early years -- Todd Haynes' 1991 Poison (executive produced by Schamus) and Ang Lee's 1992 Pushing Hands (produced by Hope). Over the past decade, they have built a reputation on discovering and nurturing new talent, and developing long-term associations with them along the way. Their combined producing credits go on to include all of Ang Lee's subsequent films. The Wedding Banquet (produced by both) won the Golden Bear Award at the 1993 Berlin Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award and six Independent Spirit Awards. Eat Drink Man Woman (associate produced by both) was the opening night selection for the Director's Fortnight at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival, and was nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar. Sense and Sensibility (co-produced by Schamus) garnered widespread critical acclaim and won a Golden Globe Award for Best Picture. The 1997 The Ice Storm (produced by both) was also hailed by critics worldwide, and won Best Screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival (Schamus is also credited with adapting the film from the Rick Moody novel). Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon brought mainstream attention to both Ang Lee and James Schamus, sweeping the Academy Awards and winning Best Foreign Film. 

Other distinctive Ted Hope/James Schamus productions include Jenniphr Goodman's Sundance hit The Tao of Steve (2000, executive produced by Hope), Todd Solondz's Happiness (1998, produced by Hope), Edward Burns' The Brothers McMullen (1995, executive produced by both and winner of the Grand Jury Prize at that year's Sundance Film Festival), Jill Godmillow's 1994 film version of the performance Roy Cohn/Jack Smith (produced by both), the Hal Hartley films Amateur (1994) and Flirt (1995, both produced by Hope), Todd Haynes' Safe (1995, executive produced by both), and Tom Kalin's Swoon (1992, executive produced by Schamus). In 1994 Hope and Schamus won the prestigious Brian Greenbaum Award for Outstanding Achievement in Producing. Hope is on the Board of Directors for Independent Feature Project and produced the upcoming Todd Solondz film Storytelling , which will premiere at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival. Schamus is author of "The Apparatus Guide to No-Budget Filmmaking" and Associate Professor of film theory and history at Columbia University. Good Machine was recently honored with a 10-year retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Christine Vachon - 2000

At a special fundraising screening of the much-talked-about film Boy's Don't Cry , The Provincetown International Film Festival announced in the winter of 2000 Christine Vachon as the second recipient of the Filmmaker on The Edge award. Film festival organizers felt that Vachon was a perfect and formidable follow-up award 1999 recipient John Waters. Like John, she has had an important influence on independent cinema, with an extraordinary and remarkable body of work. In her young career, Vachon has master-minded some of the most significant film projects of the last decade, with a strong influence in discovering talented directors such as Todd Haynes, Rose Troche, Mary Harron, and Kimberly Pierce.

As a film producer, Vachon has displayed a keen talent for recognizing and developing provocative and exceptional work. Her career first came to widespread attention with the release of the controversial film, Poison (the feature-debut from director Todd Haynes). That same year, it won the Grand Jury Prize at the 1991 Sundance Film Festival. Vachon went on to develop and obtain the necessary funding for the 1992 release Swoon , based on the infamous Leopold/Loeb murder case. The feature-debut from director Tom Kalin won the coveted Caligari Award at the 1992 Berlin Film Festival. In 1994 Vachon's producer credit was attached to four significant and award-winning art-house releases including Todd Haynes' second feature Safe , Rose Troche's Go Fish , Larry Clark's Kids , and Nigel Finch's Stonewall . In 1995 she produced Mary Harron's I Shot Andy Warhol , in which actress Lili Taylor won a special acting Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Subsequent films backed by Vachon include noted photographer Cindy Sherman's Office Killer , Kiss Me Guido , Todd Haynes' most recent Velvet Goldmine , and Todd Solondz's Happiness . The release of first-time director Kimberly Pierce's Oscar winning Boy's Don't Cry secured Vachon's status as one of the most important film producer's of the 20th-century. With many accolades, the film also landed on numerous 1999 film critic top-ten lists across the country.

John Waters - 1999

The first recipient of the Filmmaker on the Edge Award was renowned filmmaker, artist and author John Waters . Waters, a longtime Provincetown visitor, is best known for his distinctive filmmaking style - celebrating the absurd and always challenging conventional notions of people, lifestyle, and the world. From the notorious Pink Flamingos to Polyester in Odorama to Hairspray and Serial Mom , John Waters' films have spanned over three decades of good bad taste. A native of Baltimore, Waters also has many ties to Provincetown, where he has vacationed regularly for the past 34 years. In the mid-sixties he rented a church in Provincetown to screen his 8mm short film, Eat Your Makeup .

John Waters began his career in the mid-1960s and quickly became a cult figure of underground filmmaking with the release of his first features Mondo Trasho (1970) and Multiple Maniacs (1971), both featuring Divine and Mink Stole. In 1972 he released Pink Flamingos , his most notorious film - also featuring Divine and Mink Stole, the story of the filthiest people alive...their loves...their hates...and their unquenchable thirst for notoriety. Other infamous cult-classics include Desperate Living , Female Trouble , and Polyester. In 1986 Waters became even more renown with the release of Hairspray , a musical comedy starring Divine, Ricki Lake, Debbie Harry, Sonny Bono, and Jerry Stiller. His career continued through the 1990s with the critically acclaimed Cry Baby (starring Johnny Depp, Patty Hearst, Iggy Pop, and Willem Defoe), Serial Mom (starring Kathleen Turner), and more recently Pecker (starring Edward Furlong, Christina Ricci, and Lili Taylor).

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Address: Provincetown Film Society
P.O. Box 605
Provincetown, MA 02657
Phone: 508.487.3456

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