CARMEN was Alexander Payne’s first short film, made while he was studying at UCLA Film School. It is a silent comedy, derived from the opera of the same name. In the film a mentally challenged gas station attendant is put in charge of the store, which leads to love and a tragic-comic end. With his films ELECTION, ABOUT SCHMIDT and SIDEWAYS Payne has since become known for his auteur distinctiveness – amplifying the disappointment and regret lurking within the can-do civic culture of middle America, while acknowledging the sweetness and innocence that’s still there. —Cinema 16
Constantine Alexander Payne (born February 10, 1961) is an American film director and screenwriter. His films are noted for their dark humour and satirical depictions of contemporary American society.
Payne, a Greek American (his grandfather’s family name was Anglicized from Papadopoulos), was born in Omaha, Nebraska to parents who were restaurant owners. He was the youngest of three sons and grew up in the same neighborhood as billionaire Warren Buffett. Payne attended Creighton Preparatory School high school and later Stanford University, where he double majored in Spanish and History. As a part of his Spanish degree, he studied at the University of Salamanca (Spain). Payne got his MFA in 1990 from the UCLA Film School.
Payne worked in various capacities on films and television before he wrote and directed his first full-length film Citizen Ruth in 1995. His film Election, starring Matthew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon, which takes aim at politics… read more