Director of surreal independent films like Donnie Darko and Southland Tales.
He won a scholarship to the University of Southern California to study at the USC School of Cinema-Television and graduated in 1997.
His feature-length debut Donnie Darko was ranked #2 on Empire magazine's list of the 50 greatest independent films of all time.
His father worked for NASA on the Mars Viking Lander program.
His 2006 film Southland Tales starred Dwayne Johnson as Boxer Santaros.