Derek Cianfrance offered a flash of indie wunkerkind in 1998 with the acceptance of his first film "Brother Tied" at the Sundance Film Festival, but it would take another 12 years for the writer-director to deliver major dividends on that promise, namely with his visceral, tragic romance, "Blue Valentine" (2010). A Colorado native, Cianfrance began making amateur movies as a teenager and wound up cutting his education short to make "Brother Tied," the story of a strained relationship between two brothers was a festival favorite but failed to find broader distribution. In the wake of his first film and the financial struggles he endured, Cianfrance briefly made a living as a rock music documentarian for MTV and VH1. He also found work as a cinematographer on the film "Quattro Nova," earning Cianfrance the top cinematographer accolade at Sundance in 2003. In the meantime, he went through multiple versions of his "Blue Valentine" script, a time-jumping deconstruction of a relationship's beginning and end, and was able to attach Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling to the project, which helped win him secure financing. Cianfrance returned to Sundance in 2010, winning the Grand Jury Prize for the film and securing distribution. More than a decade after his initial cinematic bar mitzvah, Cianfrance well earned a chorus of buzz heralding him as an auteur to be reckoned with.