Gus Van Sant (born July 24, 1952) is a well-respected American film director whose works include the Oscar-winning films "Good Will Hunting" and "Milk." His 2003 film, "Elephant" won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Van Sant grew up in Connecticut and Oregon and then attended the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design to study painting, but developed an interest in cinema. He worked briefly in advertising to save money to finance his first film, "Mala Noche" (1986). Van Sant produced his next film, "Drugstore Cowboy" (1989) in Portland, Oregon. He continued to make critically popular "outsider" stories, such as "My Own Private Idaho" (1991) and "Even Cowgirls Get The Blues" (1993) before enjoying a commercial success with "To Die For" (1995) with Nicole Kidman. He has since juggled both commercial Hollywood films, like "Good Will Hunting" and the upcoming "Promised Land" (2013) with smaller art-house fare like "Last Days" about Kurt Cobain's final days and "Paranoid Park" (2007).