Filmmaker Ken Kwapis has won many awards for his work on television and in feature films. Before launching his career, he studied filmmaking at Northwestern University and in the graduate program at U.S.C., where his diploma film was For Heaven's Sake!, a variation on Mozart's comic opera The Impressario. Though Kwapis based his play on the great composer's work, he penned his own libretto. The result earned the young helmer a Student Academy Award for Dramatic Achievement. Professionally, he started out in television, directing the films The Beniker Gang and Summer Switch (1983). He subsequently directed more movies and series, including the first two seasons of HBO's hit sitcom The Larry Sanders Show. He won Cable ACE nominations for the episodes "The Spiders" and "The Performance Artist." He made his feature film directorial debut with the cosmic comedy Vibes (1988), starring pop singer Cyndi Lauper and Jeff Goldblum. In 1996, Kwapis' comedy Dunston Checks In, the story of an orangutan who turns a posh hotel upside down, earned the Grand Prix du Jury and the Audience Award at that year's Cannes Junior Film Festival.