David Keith Lynch (born January 20, 1946) is an American filmmaker and visual artist. Over a lengthy career, Lynch has employed a distinctive, unorthodox (and now known as "Lynchian") approach to narrative filmmaking that has become instantly recognizable to many audiences and critics worldwide. Lynch's films are known for nightmarish and dreamlike images and meticulous sound design. Lynch's work often depicts a seedy underside to small-town America (particularly Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks) or sprawling California metropolises (Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive, and his latest release, Inland Empire). Beginning with his experimental film-school feature Eraserhead (1977), he has maintained a strong cult following while experiencing inconsistent commercial success.
Lynch has received three Academy Award nominations for Best Director, for his films The Elephant Man (1980), Blue Velvet (1986), and Mulholland Drive (2001), and also received a screenplay Academy Award nomination for The Elephant Man. Lynch has twice won France's César Award for Best Foreign Film, as well as the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival and a Golden Lion award for lifetime achievement at the Venice Film Festival. The French government awarded him the Legion of Honor, the country's top civilian honor, as a Chevalier in 2002 and then an Officier in 2007, while that same year, The Guardian described Lynch as "the most important director of this era". Lynch was also part of the forty-one directors that directed the short film Lumiere & Company (1995).