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Update: Earlier this year we told you about 29 bold directors who are changing the face of cinema. Among them was 29-year-old Harvard grad and first-time filmmaker Damien Chazelle, whose electrifying thriller Whiplash, tore through Sundance. On October 10th, the cat-and-mouse tale about an ambitious jazz drummer (Miles Teller) and his sadistic teacher (J.K. Simmons) crashed into theaters with a freight train of buzz and acclaim. So, before you buy your ticket (and we know you will), learn more about the man behind the masterpiece, and 28 more of his trailblazing contemporaries.
It’s an exciting time for movies. A decade ago, if you weren't among the established and well-connected, getting a feature film financed, made, and seen by an audience was a near Herculean feat. And, while being a standout director in today’s content-heavy climate is no piece of cake, the ongoing democratization of filmmaking has provided a whole new crop of auteurs-in-the-making with diverse and exciting approaches of synthesizing their singular visions and sharing them with the world.
And, in celebration of just that, we've collected 29 of the brightest emerging talents in the world of film, and charted their personal and professional journeys while highlighting the ways in which they’re reshaping their medium, one film at a time. To help us with our list, we consulted a series of industry insiders, including The Hollywood Reporter’s Scott Feinberg, Sundance’s director of programming Trevor Groth, and Mette-Marie Katz, manager of sales at L.A-based production company and sales agency XYZ Films.
And then, we turned to the directors themselves, asking them about the hardships they’ve overcome, the triumphs that followed, and most importantly, what they’ve learned from it all (so far). While some of the filmmakers on this list are more established than others, and some work within the confines of Hollywood while others operate on its fringes, they all share a common thread: the desire to tell personal stories and the willingness to stop at nothing to do it.
So, without further ado, the 29 rising-star filmmakers you need to know. Immediately.