Openly gay filmmaker Donna Deitch made documentaries and shorts before releasing her independent feature film debut Desert Hearts in 1985. After winning an honorable mention at Sundance, the romantic drama remains a lesbian cult classic and has inspired another generation of gay filmmakers. However, the film didn't open too many doors for Deitch in Hollywood, so she took her talents to television. In 1989, she directed the Emmy-nominated ABC miniseries The Women of Brewster Place. Several TV movies and straight-to-video releases followed, including a segment in the TV anthology Prison Stories: Women on the Inside. She has directed episodes of NYPD Blue, ER, Murder One, and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. In 1997, she was met with festival acclaim for her documentary Angel on My Shoulder, a story about actress Gwen Welles' struggle with cancer. After making the Showtime movie Common Ground, she directed the popular TV dramas Judging Amy, Crossing Jordan, and Dragnet.