Gus van Sant
Oscar-nominated writer and director Gus Van Sant was a key figure on the American independent film scene of the 1980s and 1990s, offering p tic yet clear-eyed excursions through America's seamy underbelly in films like "Drugstore Cowboy" (1989) and "My Own Private Idaho" (1991). Openly gay, Van Sant dealt unflinchingly with marginalized subcultures. Even as he segued into the mainstream with "Good Will Hunting" (1997) and "Milk" (2008), he stayed true to his artful, gritty vision. Van Sant was the rare filmmaker who dipped in and out of the studio system with ease, and while his more experimental, limited release works were some of his strongest, he had a remarkable ability to stay true to his striking visual style and penchant for societal outcasts, while at the same time, crafting widely appealing films.