London-born Iain Softley managed to parlay his early love of music and painting into a career as a feature film director. Directing and designing theater productions as a student at Queen's College, Cambridge, made him realize his vision lent itself more to film, and he turned to the small screen, working first for a documentary unit of Granada TV. Softley then joined the BBC and created 30 "auteur documentaries" for television before becoming a successful director of music videos. While still at the BBC, he started looking for a rites-of-passage story to make into a feature film and came upon photographs of ex-Beatle Stuart Sutcliffe, who quit to become a visual artist in Germany before the band became famous. Those pictures became the inspiration for his debut "Backbeat" (1992). That film opened the door for his first US movie "Hackers" (1995), about teens wreaking havoc in cyberspace.