The patron saint of queer cinema, John Cameron Mitchell is responsible for Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Shortbus and Rabbit Hole.
Born in Texas, Mitchell arrived in New York in the mid-1980s, after an agent invited him to audition for an understudy role on Broadway. He spent years acting on and off Broadway in shows like Big River, The Secret Garden and Six Degrees of Separation, also paying his dues with bit appearances in TV shows like the Fox sitcom Party Girl and as the voice of a kangaroo in the Dunkaroos cookie commercials. Mitchell's big break came when he teamed up with songwriter Stephen Trask in 1998—the two collaborated on an off-Broadway glam rock musical about an East German transvestite who'd had a botched sex-change operation. Hedwig and the Angry Inch proved a big hit with New York's downtown crowd and in 2001, with help from producer Christine Vachon, Mitchell turned the "post-punk neo-glam rock musical'' into a critically-acclaimed cult classic. Mitchell went on a lengthy hiatus from feature-film directing post-Hedwig. In 2003, he exec produced the critically-acclaimed digital documentary Tarnation by first-time director Jonathan Caouette. He also directed a few music videos, like the 2004 Scissor Sisters' "Filthy/Gorgeous," which was banned from MTV for its X-rated content. After countless delays, Mitchell returned to the big screen in 2006 with Shortbus, a porny, post-9/11 love story and then changed wildly changed directions with the weepy film Rabbit Hole, which garnered Nicole Kidman an Oscar nomination. [Image via Getty]