As a first-time writer and director, Vadim Perelman has in one stroke created a film that generated a good share of Oscar buzz. With "House of Sand and Fog" (2003), Perelman made a tragic film that revealed the underbelly of the American Dream through several people struggling with and against each other for their piece of the pie. Starring Ben Kingsley as an Iranian immigrant in search of a better life, and Jennifer Connelly as an alcoholic housemaid who loses her home to Kingsley after a bureaucratic error, "House of Sand and Fog" was an uphill challenge for Perelman to make. Ever crafty and determined, Perelman, who fought over a hundred other interested parties to gain the rights to the best selling novel by Andre Dubus III, managed to get the film into production with little money or studio help. But despite the difficult haul, Perelman told the story that he wanted to tell without interference-a rare thing for even the most seasoned director.