Ira Sachs

Critically acclaimed writer-director Ira Sachs became one of the leading figures in gay cinema during the late-1990s and early 2000s with such intimate personal dramas as "Forty Shades of Blue" (2006), "Married Life" (2007) and "Keep the Lights On" (2012). Born Nov. 21, 1965 in Memphis, TN, Sachs moved to New York City after graduating from Yale University with a degree in literature and film theory. Spurred to make films after absorbing the vibrant and thriving cinema scene in Paris, he made his directorial debut with "Lady" (1993), a short about gender-bending performer Dominique Dibbell. His first feature, "The Delta" (1996), concerned a teenager's journey of self-discovery as he explored the gay lifestyle. Filmed in Sachs' hometown, the film received two Producer's Award nominations from the Independent Spirit Awards as well as the Outstanding Emerging Talent from the 1997 Outfest film festival. After receiving a Rockefeller Fellowship in 1999, his next feature, 2006's "Forty Shades of Blue," concerned a young Russian woman (Dina Korzun) as she struggled to balance her relationship with a much older, hell-raising music producer (Rip Torn) and her own needs and desires. The critically acclaimed picture, which was inspired in part by Sachs' own father, captured the Grand Jury Prize at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, while also netting an Indie Spirit nomination for Korzun.