Date of Birth: 1967
Born and raised in New York, Bennett Miller studied film as an undergraduate at New York University, but dropped out in 1990. He says he was a "bad student" who "just never liked school." He took on different jobs, including working as a filmmaker's assistant and making fundraising videos.
Then he found the inspiration to make his first documentary. Miller had first met Timothy "Speed" Levitch when they were teenagers in Westchester County-Levitch had been a friend of Miller's younger brother. Now a flamboyant tour guide for Manhattan's Gray Line double-decker buses, Levitch seemed to Miller to be the perfect subject of a documentary. The Cruise (1998) won the Audience Award and the Special Jury Award at the Newport Film Festival, as well as two awards at the Berlin Film Festival.
Doors began to open for Miller. He landed an agent who began sending him scripts to read. In the meantime, he was offered television commercials and began doing dozens of them while searching for his next film. In the meantime, Dan Futterman, a longtime friend from high school who'd gone on to success in Hollywood as an actor, came to Miller with a script he'd written about Truman Capote. Miller agreed to direct, and Capote (2005) went on to win awards around the world, with Miller receiving a 2006 Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Most Promising Filmmaker; Best Film and Breakthrough Director Award at the 2005 Gotham Awards; Best First Film Awards from the New York Film Critics Circle and the Toronto Film Critics; and Best Director nominations from the BAFTAs and the Academy Awards.
The Cruise (1998)