Writer-director Shana Feste appeared seemingly from nowhere in the late 2000s to helm two high-profile, independently-produced projects in two consecutive years. Veteran leading man Pierce Brosnan both appeared in and produced her first feature, "The Greatest", which told the tale of young love gone too soon and a grief-stricken couple's cautious friendship with a teenage girl carrying the unborn child of their dead son. The 2009 film opened to mixed reviews, but benefited from the buzz surrounding co-star Carey Mulligan's inspired performance as a lovestruck teenager in the concurrently released "An Education". SAG Award-winner Tobey Maguire co-produced her second feature, the Nashville-centered musical drama "Country Strong". Actor-singer Gwyneth Paltrow starred as Kelly Canter, a former country star and recovering alcoholic struggling to repair her broken career. Music featured in the project received multiple nominations during the year's award season. Feste, who has degrees from prestigious programs at AFI, UCLA and the University of Texas at Austin, took odd jobs and worked as a nanny for the likes of Maguire and singer-actress Courtney Love while quietly honing her craft. In interviews, she has admitted her admiration for the films of humanist and Hollywood outsider Hal Ashby.