American director Ari Aster perfected his craft in short films before finally breaking through with his feature debut. A New York native, he studied fimmaking at the AFI Conservatory in Los Angeles. His thesis film, "The Strange Thing About the Johnsons" (2011), ended up becoming a viral sensation. The story stirred up controversy with its themes of incest and sexual abuse, and the director's decision to have the family at the center be African-American only added to the debate. He continued directing short films including "Munchausen" (2013), featuring Bonnie Bedelia, "The Turtle's Head" (2014), and "C'est La Vie" (2016). He garnered acclaim with his first feature-length film "Hereditary" (2018). Starring Toni Collette and Gabriel Byrne, from a script by Aster, the horror tale centered around a family with a history of mental illness and disturbing deaths. It earned critical praise and was a surprise hit with audiences. He followed with the psychological thriller "Midsommar" (2019), starring Florence Pugh and Will Poulter.