Peirce, Kimberly: Director Profile

Kimberly Peirce is the director, writer and producer of the new Iraq War movie, “Stop-Loss.”

Peirce made her feature film debut with 1999s acclaimed Boys Dont Cry, a fact-based drama about the life and tragic death of Brandon Teena a Nebraska transgender who was brutally raped and murdered after his double life was exposed. Boys Don't Cry plunged into a world few people know and emerged with a tale of universal resonance, an illuminating vision of our shared humanity.

Peirce heard about the Brandon Teena story while attending Columbia University as a graduate student. Inspired by Teenas life and death, she switched her thesis project to this compelling subject. She traveled to Falls City, Nebraska, where the events occurred, did extensive research and attended the trial of the two men accused of Teenas murder.

In 1995, she made a short film on the subject. The Columbia faculty nominated it for the Princess Grace Award and it received an Astrea Production Grant, which helped fund the cost of developing it into a feature film. The Sundance Institute subsequently asked Peirce to workshop the screenplay at the 1997 Sundance Filmmakers, Writers and Producers Labs. Upon its release, Boys Dont Cry became one of the most acclaimed and talked-about films of the year, earning many honors, including the Oscar for Best Actress for the films star Hilary Swank, as well as the Golden Globe, the Independent Spirit, the NY and LA Critics, and the National Board of Review Awards.

Chlo Sevigny was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe and she won the Independent Spirit, CFCA, BSFC, NSFC, Boston, Chicago and L.A. Critics Awards for Best Supporting Actress.
The film received the International Critics prize for Best Film at both the London and Stockholm Film Festivals, the Satyajit Rai Foundation Award for Best First Feature at the London Film Festival, and was named the Best American Feature by Janet Maslin.

For her part, Peirce won honors as Best Debut Director from the National Board of Review and Best New Filmmaker from the Boston Society of Film Critics.

Continuing her tradition of writing real-life stories inspired by America and the American family, Peirce is co-writing to direct a darkly entertaining tale of Sex, Secrets and Taboo in Suburbia. Peirce is also writing Untitled Romantic Comedy '08, in the vein of Pedro Almodovar and Woody Allen, in which a guy's group of friends resuscitates him from the worst possible breakup, and trains him to find true love in this gender twist on the classic romantic comedy.

Other projects include the Untitled New Orleans Project, inspired by true stories, in which Peirce takes a look at the lawless streets of New Orleans as they become the breeding ground for a great American gangster.

Peirce has been featured in the documentaries Women in Film, This Film Is Not Yet Rated and Hollywood Brats. In addition to her feature work, Peirce has contributed non-fiction film and theater articles to Kansai Time Out, Grey City Journal and Chicago's Screen Magazine.

She is a graduate of the University of Chicago's BA, Columbia University's MFA and the Sundance Institute's Writing and Directing Lab programs, where Peirce first rose to prominence with her 16-mm experimental short The Last Good Breath. The film ran in the Leopard of Tomorrow Program at the 1994 Locarno International Film Festival, winning several awards, including second place at the Canada International Film Festival, a Golden Award in the Experimental Division at the Chicago International Film Festival and first place at the Suffolk Film Festival.