A Los Angeles native who preferred European art cinema to Hollywood studio fare, writer-director Lisa Cholodenko made her mark on the independent film scene with her moody examination of sexuality, ambition, and heroin chic in High Art (1998).
Raised in the San Fernando Valley, Cholodenko had no thoughts of becoming a filmmaker when she headed to college at San Francisco State. She had changed her mind, however, by her mid-twenties. After working as an assistant editor on Boyz 'N the Hood (1991) and Used People (1992), Cholodenko enrolled in Columbia University's graduate film program in 1992. Mentored by Milos Forman, Cholodenko made two highly regarded short films, Souvenir and Dinner Party. After earning her M.F.A., Cholodenko served as an assistant editor on Gus Van Sant's To Die For (1995) while working on the screenplay for her first feature, High Art.