Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Director Of The Month April 2011: Paul Thomas Anderson

Welcome to the first of what will hopefully be a long running series where we do a monthly profile on a director who we consider to be one of the great masters of the art and craft of film making. The only qualifying criteria that must be met for a director to be considered is that he/she must have directed at least 3 feature length films. We will then review all of the chosen director's films and from there give our own verdict on whether or not they are indeed a master film maker or they're just simply brilliant peddlers of style over substance. So without further ado, we present to you our Director of the Month for April 2011, Paul Thomas Anderson.

Paul Thomas Anderson (better known to his fans as PTA) was born on the 26th of June, 1970 in Studio City, California, USA. Growing up in the San Fernando Valley area, he was a bit of a drifter and went through quite a number of schools before graduating from high school in 1988.

PTA got involved in film making from a very young age and as a 17 year old in high school he made his first short film called The Dirk Diggler Story.  As a teenager growing up in the San Fernando Valley area which was, and still is America's porn capital, it isn't surprising that The Dirk Diggler Story was actually inspired by life and times of the once-great porn star, John Holmes.

After high school, PTA then spent 2 semesters as an English major Emerson College before enrolling at New York University's (NYU) world famous film school. He eventually dropped out of NYU after only 2 days because he was given a "C" grade for presenting some of the works of Pulitzer Prize winning author David Mamet as his own. I guess they were pretty soft on plagiarism back then because he would've gotten a mark tending towards zero if he tried that nowadays. Luckily for him, he was refunded his tuition and he used that money, along with money he made as a production assistant on TV films, music videos and TV game shows, to fund a short film called Cigarettes & Coffee where the premise was multiple story lines connected through a single twenty dollar bill. Cigarettes & Coffee was screened to critical acclaim at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival and from there PTA never looked back and started working on his debut film, Hard Eight.

As of today, Paul Thomas Anderson  has directed 5 films: Hard Eight (1996), Boogie Nights (1997), Magnolia (1999), Punch-Drunk Love (2002) and There Will Be Blood (2007). Make sure you stick with us throughout the month of April as we review all of his films and explore the favourite themes and the unique directing style of this world-renowned American auteur.

Sources: IMDB and Wikipedia.

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