Born: May 9, 1969
Known for: Sacramento-based director and screenwriter Joe Carnahan has gained acclaim for his movies, including "Smokin' Aces" and "Narc."
Background: A Delaware native who grew up in Detroit, Carnahan moved to Sacramento and took a job in the promotions department at Channel 31. He made short films before completing the independent movie, "Blood Guts Bullets and Octane," which was filmed in and around Sacramento and shown at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival. His breakthrough came in 2002, with the edgy, violent drama "Narc" starring Ray Liotta and Jason Patric. The film, which cost $2 million to make, earned raves at the Sundance Festival. Most recently, he directed "Smokin' Aces," with an ensemble cast featuring Jeremy Piven.
A highlight: "Narc" was a finalist for Sundance's prestigious Dramatic Grand Jury Prize. A filmmaker with an independent streak, Carnahan told The Bee in 2002: "I'll never leave Sacramento. I find it difficult to work in Los Angeles. ... I do what I want to do. I don't answer to some studio flack. I'd rather make small movies about a couple of people than some big blockbuster."
In History's Spotlight profiles of Sacramento newsmakers were published originally in 2007 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of The Sacramento Bee. They were written by Anthony Sorci. Look for them every Sunday in Sac History Happenings.