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5 Young Directors to Keep Your Eye On

Updated on May 18, 2015

Filmmakers Make the Movies

Ozu. Kurosawa. Hitchcock. Godard. Scorsese. Lucas. Spielberg. Zemeckis. Tarantino. Haneke. Nolan. Von Trier. These are some of the greatest directors of all time. And their films are ones that I love to watch. I do have some favorite actors, but when I'm judging the quality of a film before seeing it, I rely more on who wrote and directed a film more than who is in it.

I've written other hubs highlighting some young directors and their films - Shane Carruth, (Primer, Upstream Color) Evan Glodell's (Bellflower) and Gareth Edwards' (Monsters), but in this hub I want to put the spotlight on some other young directors that have recently hit my radar. All of them have strong vision and strong voices and have made an impression on me.

So here is a list of 5 up and coming young directors that you should get to know.

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Ben Wheatley

If the Coen Brothers were English and were one person, they might be Ben Wheatley. And they'd be making movies like Down Terrace, Kill List, and Sightseers.


Wheatley has gained a good deal of recognition among film fans and was even given the prestigious task of directing two episodes of Dr Who!

Kill List trailer

Sally al Hoseini (L) on the set of My Brother the Devil with Saïd Taghmaoui (C) James Floyd (R)
Sally al Hoseini (L) on the set of My Brother the Devil with Saïd Taghmaoui (C) James Floyd (R) | Source

Sally El Hoseini

Sally El Hoseini's debut feature film My Brother the Devil is one of the most gripping films that I have seen recently.

This film won multiple awards in her native UK as well as awards Europe, and the US. Can't wait to see what else she's got.

My Brother the Devil trailer

David Lowery at the 2013 Deauville Film festival
David Lowery at the 2013 Deauville Film festival | Source

David Lowery

Ain't Them Bodies Saints is the kind of film that I love. It is atmospheric, beautiful, and interesting. It reminds me of all the best parts of Terrance Malick's films.

Lowery also worked in the editing room with Shane Carruth on Upstream Color. His next scheduled feature film is Pete's Dragon, a live action retelling of the Disney classic of the same name, due in 2016.

Ain't Them Bodies Saints trailer

Ryan Coogler at the 2013 Deauville film festival
Ryan Coogler at the 2013 Deauville film festival | Source

Ryan Coogler

Ryan Coogler's tale of a young Bay Area man who was unjustly shot by police garnered loads of attention last year.

The film, Coogler, and his actors all won multiple awards for this film. And I agree that Fruitvale Station is great and that it deserves every ounce of attention that it got.

Fruitvale Station trailer

James Ponsoldt at the 2012 Deauville Film Festival
James Ponsoldt at the 2012 Deauville Film Festival | Source

James Pondsolt

Athens, GA native James Ponsoldt has released three features so far, Off The Black, Smashed, and The Spectacular Now, which won the 2013 Sundance Special Jury Award for Acting.

Each of his films have been better than the previous one. His latest film, The End of the Tour, was released this year (2015).

The Spectacular Now trailer

Sarah Polley at the 66th Venice Film Festival
Sarah Polley at the 66th Venice Film Festival | Source

Bonus Director: Sarah Polley

Canadian actor/ director Sarah Polley has a powerful voice. I've seen her films Stories We Tell and Take This Waltz

Who is your favorite American director?

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Stanley Kubrick

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Martin Scorcese

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