James Ponsoldt was an American screenwriter, producer, and director whose breakthrough film "The Spectacular Now" became an unexpected critical darling. Born and raised in Athens, Georgia, Ponsoldt always knew he wanted to make movies. So after earning his Bachelor's degree from Yale University, he packed his bags and moved to New York City to attend the prestigious film program at Columbia. Ponsoldt made two well-received student short films while attending the school, "Coming Down the Mountain" (2003) and "Rush Tickets" (2003), both of which left him well-positioned to direct his first feature. That opportunity came in 2006 when "Off the Black," a drama about an aging alcoholic who forms an unlikely bond with a high school athlete, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Ponsoldt followed that film up with "We Saw Such Things" (2008), a documentary about a popular tourist attraction in Florida, and 2012's "Smashed," a drama about a young married couple and their mutual struggle with alcohol addiction. Then in 2013 Ponsoldt directed a film adaptation of the popular young adult novel <i>The Spectacular Now</i>. The movie, which starred Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller, received overwhelmingly positive reviews after its premiere at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, and went on to win the Festival's Special Jury Award for Acting. Ponsoldt's next film, 2015's "The End of the Tour," was a biographical drama about the late novelist, David Foster Wallace that starred Anna Chlumsky, Jesse Eisenberg, and Jason Segel as Wallace.