A prolific art director and production designer in the 1980s and 1990s, Catherine Hardwicke made an impressive leap to the director's chair with 2003's harrowing "Thirteen. " Inspired by the turbulent life of an ex-boyfriend's teenage daughter, the indie drama about a young girl's descent into a dangerous lifestyle was widely praised by critics and audiences alike for its gritty honesty. Hardwicke followed this with "Lords of Dogtown" (2005), an unsentimental look at teen skateboarders in the early eighties. In 2008, she tackled the biggest project of her directorial career with "Twilight," a Gothic romance about a schoolgirl's budding relationship with a young, brooding vampire. Despite the fantastical nature of the subject matter, Hardwicke brought her trademark realism to the project; a combination that was the key to her status as one of Hollywood's most challenging and independent-minded directors.