A favorite of directors Spike Lee and the Coen brothers, character actor John Turturro spent twelve years developing this film about his father, a temperamental, uncompromising New York house builder. While somewhat uneven in tone and undisciplined in length, Mac was critically respected as an intelligent examination of the American Dream and a welcome treatise on the value and price of a dedication to quality. Originally intending only to co-write and star in Mac, Turturro also directed the film in an effort to keep the budget down. It was a family affair for its director, and not just in its depiction of his father, whose voice is heard in an extended telephone answering machine message in the film's finale: Turturro also cast his wife, Katherine Borowitz, in the female lead, and several other family members in supporting roles, including younger brother Nicholas Turturro and cousin Aida Turturro. Turturro did not direct again until Illuminata (1999), teaming again with co-writer Brandon Cole, wife Borowitz, and cousin Aida. Mac won the Camera d'Or award for a debut feature at the Cannes Film Festival.