True Stories

Director: Nanette Burstein, 37, New York


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Synopsis: An at times amusing, at times agonizing year in the life of a few students at a high school in Warsaw, Indiana.

The backstory: “I was inspired by the 1983 documentary Seventeen, about high school kids in Muncie, Indiana,” says Burstein. She began production in August 2005, after winnowing 10 possible Midwestern schools to one.

Budget: $1.5 million. Financed by: A&E and various independent sources.

Sold to: Paramount Vantage for a reported $1 million.

Sundance moment: Jake, the movie’s unlucky-in-love nerd, got asked on several dates after the film’s screening, while Hannah, the arty outsider and aspiring filmmaker, received dozens of job offers and wept when she met Paul Giamatti.

Director’s next project: A feature adaptation of a December 2007 Vanity Fair story about college guys who steal rare books.

Return to True Stories or read about other directors: Christopher Bell (Bigger, Stronger, Faster*) Alex Gibney (Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson) James Marsh (Man on Wire) Tia Lessin and Carl Deal (Trouble the Water) Marina ZenovichRoman Polanski: Wanted and Desired