Born in Arkansas, raised in Texas, and schooled in North Carolina, the young writer/director David Gordon Green built a solid understanding of the South before making his debut feature film George Washington in 2000. The slow-moving and thoughtful film was cast with nonprofessional actors, many of whom were black kids who had never acted before. Green has admited being influenced by Robert Altman and Terrence Malick films from the '70s, with an emphasis on subject matter over acting styles. As a young filmmaker, Green was a refreshing alternative to the hip and clever independent directors of the late-'90s, many of whom he openly dismissed in interviews. In 2003, he released All the Real Girls, a romantic drama starring Zooey Deschanel.