Drawn to multifaceted characters and complex, emotional storylines, James Ponsoldt is a director with a penchant for making films with nuance and realistic characters. He wades into poignant plotlines with lasting emotional resonance.

    Four of James’s feature films have premiered the Sundance Film Festival: Off the Black (2006), Smashed (2012), The Spectacular Now (2013), and The End of the Tour (2015).

    Off the Black stars Nick Nolte and Trevor Morgan as a mismatched pair of unlikely friends, and Smashed tells the story of married alcoholics, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Aaron Paul. Both films were written and directed by James.

    His third feature, The Spectacular Now, is a coming-of-age story set in his hometown of Athens, Georgia. This film was a critical and box office success, and it served as a launch pad for its young stars, Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley.

    With his next two films, James took a literary turn. The End of the Tour stars Jesse Eisenberg and Jason Segel, and tells the story of the final days of David Foster Walace’s promotional book tour for Infinite Jest. His most recent film, The Circle, is based on the Dave Eggers book of the same name, and stars Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, and John Boyega.

    He is a graduate of Yale University with an MFA in directing from Columbia University.