The best up and coming film directors have a lot in common with the greatest filmmakers of all time.
They have a vision. They know how to tell a story. They know when to push boundaries, and when to pull back.
The director is the one who brings everything together, whether it’s on set or in the editing room.
It’s the director’s job to see everything that’s happening around them and maintain a sense of clarity no matter how chaotic things get.
That’s why it takes a unique set of skills to become a great filmmaker, which explains why so many talented actors also become successful directors later in their careers (like Clint Eastwood and Ben Affleck).
With this list, we’re focusing on directors who are still relatively early in their career. You won’t find any established masters like Tarantino or Scorsese here — just some of the most promising filmmakers working today.
Best Up And Coming Directors
What Does It Mean To Be An up and coming film director?
Being an up and coming filmmaker means a lot of things, like working hard to make it in this competitive industry.
It’s also about having the passion to learn from your mistakes and becoming a better filmmaker with every project.
Being an up and coming filmmaker is a career that requires passion and dedication.
To get to where you want to be, you have to be willing to work hard and learn your craft.
If you’re just starting out, you have many obstacles ahead of you, but if you’re passionate about being a filmmaker, then there’s nothing that can stand in your way.
Best Up-and-Coming Film Directors
Below you’ll find a list of the most talented, most successful, and most celebrated directors working today.
These are the best up-and-coming film directors who have made some big waves in the movie industry recently.
They have also been nominated for or won awards for their direction skills.
These talented individuals may not be well known yet, but they are on their way to becoming some of Hollywood’s most celebrated filmmakers.
Warm up your vocal cords. You’re about to meet a new friend.
Jordan Peele is an actor and comedian who has appeared in films (Keanu, Girls), on television (Key & Peele), and on stage.
He was born on February 21, 1979, in New York City. He grew up in the city’s Brooklyn borough and went to High School at the Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn.
He subsequently attended Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York, where he studied drama but dropped out after one year to pursue comedy writing full time.
He moved to LA in 2002 and began working on Mad TV. After leaving the show, he continued to pursue stand-up comedy and began writing for other shows such as “The Office” and “Key & Peele”.
A master of horror, critics and audiences alike have highly praised Ari Aster on his work on “Hereditary” .
The film centers on a family of women who are struggling to come to terms with the death of their occultist mother, Annie Graham (Toni Collette), and their grief-stricken grandmother Ellen (Allison Janney).
It’s hard to imagine that anyone could do justice to such a role, but Collette does a remarkable job in her portrayal of Annie. She’s an incredibly talented actress, who has had quite a successful career in the last couple of decades.
“Hereditary” is Aster’s first feature film as director. His writing is dark, mysterious, and frankly terrifying, which makes it even more impressive that he could direct himself so well.
“Hereditary” was produced by A24 Films (The Witch), which is known for producing high-quality horror films such as “Ex Machina” and the recent hit “A Quiet Place”. The film has garnered praise from critics around the world and currently holds a 95% rating on Rotten.
He also previously worked as an assistant director on films such as “Compliance”, “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Her and Him, and Mister Foe”.
Born in China, Chloé Zhao is a filmmaker and actress who has received critical acclaim for her work in films such as “Songs My Brothers Taught Me” and “The Rider”. Zhao was born and raised in the city of Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China.
Her mother was a university English teacher, while her father worked as a journalist. She moved to the United States to attend school at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Zhao began her career in film with the short films “Breathe” (2000) and “Lost and Found” (2002). The latter won an honorable mention for Best Short Film at the Slamdance Film Festival.
She made her feature film directorial debut with “Songs My Brothers Taught Me” (2005), which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Zhao wrote, directed, edited, produced, and starred in the film.
She won the Grand Jury Prize for directing and also received a Special Jury Prize for acting from Sundance.
Zhao’s second feature film was “The Rider” (2017), starring Brady Jandreau as a rodeo rider who is left partially paralyzed after a head injury during a bull riding competition.
The film premiered in a competition at the Cannes Film Festival and won a prize for best actor.
Charlie Kaufman is a writer/director who has written some of the unique and innovative films in the last 20 years. He’s worked with major studios and has also worked on his own.
His approach to storytelling is unlike any other, and he’s constantly looking for new ways to push the envelope.
Trying to figure out how to get your screenplay produced? Here are some tips from Charlie:
Be personal. Kaufman wrote his screenplays for Being John Malkovich, Adaptation and Synecdoche, New York by drawing upon his own experiences.
He said that was his way of dealing with material that scared him and made it easier to write about it by approaching it as a kind of therapy.
Be motivated. If you want to be a screenwriter, be motivated by writing, not by getting your screenplay produced.
Write what you know. Kaufman does this on purpose because it makes things more interesting than putting something he doesn’t know about into a screenplay.
But this doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to writing about only one thing or place or time period.
For example, if you’re writing about a woman who works in an office, try writing different scenes from different parts of her life—one day at her office.
Soon after his brother, Josh Safdie started making movies in the early 2000s, Benny Safdie started drawing. “I’ve always been more like an artist,” he says.
“I just never made anything.” He’d go to his brother’s shoots and make sketches of the actors in the scenes.
“It was a weird way to learn filmmaking,” he says. His art has become more than a learning tool: it’s a source of inspiration for his films.
“It’s what I use when I’m writing scripts or figuring out the visual language of a scene,” he says. The films that Benny Safdie has directed and co-written with his brother are distinctively constructed. driven by characters looking for something or someone in urban landscapes that are both beautiful and melancholy.
In “Daddy Longlegs” (2010), which is set in Manhattan, a young man tries to reunite with his girlfriend after she leaves him at a hospital; in their new film, “Good Time,” which opened on Aug.11.
Robert Pattinson plays another guy trying to find his lost love (played by Jennifer Jason Leigh).
For both films, the brothers shot on digital video, which is much cheaper than film but still offers some of its grainy texture.
On the surface, it seems like he’s a guy who just wants to make scary movies. But look closer and you’ll find that Robert Eggers has lots of interests.
He loves the outdoors, he’s into history, and he’s fascinated by the past. It’s this last interest that led him to become a filmmaker.
“I went to film school originally because I was interested in history and folklore,” he says. “And I thought filmmaking would be a way for me to communicate those interests.”
Eggers grew up in northern California, attending boarding school in San Francisco. At one point, he attended Yale University but dropped out after two years to study film at NYU.
After graduating from film school, Eggers spent a year living in the Appalachian Mountains, where he researched the region’s folklore and history. This research eventually became the basis for his feature film debut, “The Witch”.
He next wrote and directed “A Grown-Up Christmas Story”, based on his experiences as a child in New England during the holiday season.
His third feature film is “The Lighthouse”, which stars Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe as residents of an isolated lighthouse who encounter some unexpected guests. The Lighthouse is currently filming in Nova Scotia.
What’s it like to be the son of David Cronenberg?
Brandon Cronenberg is in Toronto shooting “Antiviral”, a sci-fi thriller about a future world in which celebrities are paid to allow regular people to infect themselves with diseases that they’ve caught from them.
The film is being made by the same people who made his dad’s last film, “A Dangerous Mind”. Next month, Brandon will head to France to start shooting “Maps To The Stars”, starring Julianne Moore and John Cusack.
What’s it like to grow up in the shadows of one of the world’s most famous directors? It hasn’t been too bad. I mean, there are definitely some challenges.
You know, especially being in the business, you’re constantly having to talk about him,” he says. “But I don’t know, my parents have always been supportive and never really pushed me into anything.”
Cronenberg has talked about his family life before. In an interview with The Globe and Mail in 2010, he said that growing up he found it strange that there were two different personas inhabiting the same house — his father living upstairs writing films while his mother lived downstairs with her own creative pursuits.
Now 30, Cronenberg is working on projects himself.
Alex Garland is the author of “The Beach”, a book that was recently made into a film. “The Beach” was originally published in 1996 and turned into a film released in 2000.
Alex Garland also wrote the screenplay for this film and directed it as well. The story is about a man who finds himself stranded on an island in Thailand with a group of people who were also shipwrecked.
They soon realize they are not alone there when they meet up with another group of people whose leader has a mysterious background.
The story takes place over many years where we see the development of each person’s personality and their relationship with one another, as well as some strange events that occur on the island.
As the story unfolds we know there is more to this man than meets the eye.
Born in Sacramento, California, Gerwig is the daughter of Christine (née Mills), a nurse, and Gordon Gerwig, who worked for a food distributor. She has German, Irish, and English ancestry.
She was raised in the Catholic faith. She has an elder brother named Dan and a younger sister named Maggie.
Tall and slim, with long brown hair, Gerwig was “the tall girl” in her school. She had “an intense teacher”, Laura McGarry, who taught her English when she was in the eighth grade.
McGarry would later play a significant role in Gerwig’s film “Frances Ha” (2012). As a teenager, Gerwig was rebellious; she once spray-painted “Heather” on the street outside her high school because it “had too many Heathers”.
Her first job was working at a shoe store where she made $6 per hour. She briefly attended Sacramento City College but found it to be expensive and took time off to work as an intern for free at various production companies.
While struggling to decide whether or not to go back to college, she applied for the film “Frances Ha” (2012) and got cast in the lead role.
I’d tell you to watch “Jasmine”, but honestly, it’s super simple and not that impressive. But it has some great Greta moments, like when she puts peanut butter on her pancakes.
For the past three years, Julia Ducournau has been working on her feature debut “Raw”, which is about a young vegetarian’s first encounter with red meat.
It was shot in Belgium and stars Garance Marillier as Justine, a 17-year-old vegetarian who changes when she discovers she’s a carnivore.
It was shot in Belgium and stars Garance Marillier as Justine, a 17-year-old vegetarian who begins to change when she discovers she’s a carnivore.
Ducournau herself has been a vegetarian since she was 16 and vegan since she turned 20. She discusses how the film came together, how it differs from her short films, and the challenges of making a feature debut that was over three years in the making.
On a set of ‘Raw’, Ducournau grew up very close to Paris, but I went to university in Angers, which is five hours from Paris. It was only until she was in her mid-20s did she live there.
Ducournau’s mother is an actress and her father is a theater director. So cinema was definitely what surrounded her during her lifetime. But it never occurred to her of becoming a filmmaker. Ducournau knew she always wanted to be an actress because she “loved this world [of acting”.