Paul Thomas Anderson is an American film director, screenwriter, and producer. Interested in film-making at a young age, Anderson was encouraged by his father Ernie Anderson to become a filmmaker. Anderson is often considered to be one of the greatest and most distinctive filmmakers of his generation, initially being praised as a wunderkind after the release of Boogie Nights and Magnolia.
In 1993, he wrote and directed a short film titled Cigarettes & Coffee on a budget of $20,000. After he attended the Sundance Institute, Anderson had a deal with Rysher Entertainment to direct his first feature film, Hard Eight, in 1996. Anderson received critical and commercial success for his film Boogie Nights, set during the Golden Age of Porn in the 1970s and 1980s. His third feature, Magnolia, received wide acclaim despite struggling at the box office.
In 2002, Punch-Drunk Love, Anderson's fourth feature, was released to positive reviews. After a five-year absence, There Will Be Blood was released to critical acclaim in 2007. It is Anderson's highest-grossing film to date and is considered by many critics to be one of the greatest films of the 2000s. In 2012, Anderson's sixth film, The Master, was released to critical acclaim. His planned seventh film, Inherent Vice, based on the novel of the same name by Thomas Pynchon, is scheduled for release in 2014.