Ari Sandel: 5 Things To Know About Julianne Hough's New Man

07/25/2013 at 11:45 AM EDT

Ari Sandel: 5 Things To Know About Julianne Hough's New Man
Julianne Hough and Ari Sandel
Seth Browarnik/Startraks; Tommaso Boddi/Getty
On Saturday, Julianne Hough announced she had the "best birthday ever" when she celebrated alongside Vampire Diaries actress Nina Dobrev and Maria Menounos at her Great Gatsby-themed 25th birthday party.

But the former Dancing with the Stars pro may have had something else to celebrate – new love.

After splitting from Ryan Seacrest in March, Hough has been sticking close to her female friends, but, on July 17, she was spotted enjoying a PDA-filled dinner with director Ari Sandel at Nobu in Los Angeles.

Here are things to know about the man who may just be Hough's new flame:

1. He’s an Oscar winner! Sandel’s film West Bank Story, a musical comedy about Israelis and Palestinians that takes place between two competing falafel stands in the West Bank, won the 2006 Academy Award for live-action short film.

2. He's worked with some big names. Sandel directed Vince Vaughn's 2006 concert documentary Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days & 30 Nights: Hollywood to the Heartland.

3. He’s a world traveler. Sandel's career has taken him all over the globe, visiting places such as Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Morocco, Turkey and Dubai.

4. He loves his mom! In 2006, when Sandel won his Academy Award, he was at the event with his mother as his date.

5. He's a California native. Sandel was raised in Calabasas, Calif., and studied Media Arts at the University of Arizona in Tucson, where he also received a special certificate in Middle Eastern Studies. In 2004, he earned his Directing M.F.A. from the University of Southern California's School of Cinema-Television.

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