After graduating from the prestigious School of Cinema at the University of Southern California in 1990, Doug Atchison set out to make his very first feature film. That film, 1999's "The Pornographer," a drama about a socially awkward man's struggle with porn addiction, was made on a shoe-string budget, with Atchison taking on multiple titles, including writer, director, editor, and producer. Although it failed to register with audiences, it gave Atchison the confidence to work on his next project. "Akeelah and the Bee," a heartwarming tale about an impoverished schoolgirl whose only dream is to win the national spelling bee, won Atchison the Nicholl Fellowship in 2000, the highest award in screenwriting, and got him an agent. The film was eventually made in 2006, with Atchison also taking on the role of director, and proved to be a success with both critics and audiences. After the triumph of "Akeelah and the Bee," Atchison signed a deal with the Weinstein Company to write and direct three feature films. In 2008 he wrote "Spinning Into Butter," a drama about race and prejudice at a small New England college. Unfortunately, the film was both a critical and financial disaster, earning less than $6,000 in its limited release.