Photo of Debra Granik Debra Granik

Indie filmmaker Debra Granik was born Feb. 6, 1963, in Cambridge, Mass., but grew up in suburban Washington, D.C., eventually studying politics at Brandeis University and earning her master's degree in fine arts from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Her grandfather Theodore Granik was the founder and moderator of the long-running public-affairs panel "The American Forum of the Air."

A Sundance darling, Granik picked up festival awards for her student short Snake Feed (1998) and her debut feature, Down to the Bone (2004). The similarly titled follow-up, Winter's Bone (2010), brought Granik an Independent Spirit Award nod and leading lady Jennifer Lawrence a Golden Globe nomination.

Themes of substance abuse and addiction pop up frequently in Granik's work. For added realism, she often casts nonprofessional actors -- including recovering addicts -- in supporting and background roles.

Debra Granik in Winter's Bone

Winter's Bone

2010 R

In this unflinching noir drama, resilient teen Ree Dolly goes on the trail of her missing, drug-dealing father when his absence jeopardizes the family's safety. Her deadbeat dad has a key court date pending -- and Ree is determined that he show up.

  • Debra Granik in Down to the Bone Down to the Bone