Gus Van Sant emerged as one of the most exciting talents of the late-'80s/early-'90s independent film scene, yet he has also been able to excel in Hollywood as a top director. He is one of few players who can easily flow between the independent and studio worlds without compromise. Born in Louisville, Kentucky, the son of a traveling salesman, Van Sant grew up moving about with his family. Later, he studied painting at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he discovered a new passion: avant-garde film. After a brief stint in Los Angeles, where he directed the small independent film Alice in Hollywood, Van Sant ended up in Portland, Oregon, where he currently lives and works.
With his raw feature debut Mala Noche, the breakthrough Drugstore Cowboy, and poetic My Own Private Idaho, Van Sant created a trilogy that submerges audiences in the marginalized lives of hustlers and junkies with visual flair and clever wit. Soon noticed by Hollywood, he made the smart, satirical studio film To Die For. But it was with Good Will Hunting and the nine Academy Award nominations it garnered that Van Sant earned the clout to take on just about any project, which prompted his bold remake of Hitchcock's Psycho. He has continued to make challenging short films--many of which have not been in distribution for years (eight have been newly printed for screening in this retrospective). Maker of music videos for David Bowie, Elton John, Tracy Chapman, and others, Van Sant continues to explore other media:a collection of his painting and photography was included in the volume 108 Portraits (1999); his first novel, Pink was published by Doubleday in 1997; and his songwriting debut, 8 Songs About Golf, appeared in 1998. It is Van Sant's return to the open road in his latest feature film, Gerry, and his reinvigorated aesthetic and narrative experimentation that shows he has not lost any of his original independent spirit.
GUS VAN SANT: ON THE ROAD AGAIN IS MADE POSSIBLE BY GENEROUS SUPPORT FROM THE REGIS FOUNDATION. PROGRAMMING ASSISTANCE WAS PROVIDED BY THINKFILM.