Timur Bekmambetov

One of the most commercially successful filmmakers in Russian history, writer-director-producer Timur Bekmambetov also managed the herculean feat of conquering the U.S. box office. While earning a solid reputation as a commercial and music video director, Bekmambetov co-wrote and directed his first feature, "Peshavar Waltz" (1994), a gripping Afghan War drama. Working for Roger Corman, he made his U.S. debut with the direct-to-DVD female gladiator movie "The Arena" (2001), prior to helming his breakout feature, "Night Watch" (2004), a supernatural action-adventure that shattered all existing box-office records in his home country. Picked up by U.S. distributor Fox Searchlight, "Night Watch" quickly spawned an equally successful sequel, "Day Watch" (2006). Bekmambetov's first big-budget Hollywood project was "Wanted" (2008), a violent action adventure starring James McAvoy and Angelina Jolie that established him as one of the more visually interesting directors of action-fantasy material. After a few years of focusing on projects solely as a producer, he returned to the director's chair for the eagerly anticipated history-horror hybrid, "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" (2012). A visionary filmmaker with a firm grasp of the business aspect of the art form, Bekmambetov invigorated well-worn movie tropes with his uniquely eastern aesthetic.