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Up-and-Coming Film Directors to Keep an Eye On

Names such as Stanley Kubrick, Orson Welles, and Alfred Hitchcock are associated with astounding films that have successfully changed cinema over the years. There have been many filmmakers that are slowly following suit and joining their ranks.

A good example is Peter Jackson of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit fame, he has managed to insert a unique style to his film through his macabre sense of humor and sheer attention to detail. Another name that should rightfully be mentioned here is Wes Anderson. At the age of 47, he already has numerous awards under his belt and is best known for his distinctive visuals.

While both Anderson and Jackson have reached remarkable levels as directors, there are still those who are on the rise. ExploreTalent has put together a list of directors with less than five projects in their filmography. Find out who they are below.

1. Jeff Nichols

Nichols made an impact with the debut film Shotgun Stories, but unfortunately, it did not get the recognition it deserved. Luckily, his following projects were successful. He directed the movie Mud, which starred award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey as the titular character. The movie centers around a strange yet lonely man with a dark secret.

If there is one thing that Nichols seems to inject into his story line, it is the fact that most of his characters are all broken because of failed relationships and life choices, causing them to be isolated from the world. Nichols also manages to direct the actors toward delivering excellent performances as evidenced by McConaughey in Mud, and by Michael Shannon in 2011’s apocalyptic drama Take Shelter.

What’s next: Nichols had recently released Midnight Special, and although it may have not done well in the box office, critics still praised the performance of the cast as well as the plot itself. Perhaps he can finally get mainstream success with Loving, a story that recounts the true events of an interracial couple fighting for their family’s rights.

 2. Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

Alfonso Gomez-Rejon proves that there is no better way to learn the art of filmmaking than to learn it from acclaimed filmmakers themselves. Gomez-Rejon interned for Alexandre Rockwell‘s In the Soup back in the year 1992. He also assisted Martin Scorsese for Casino, Kevin MacDonald, and The Revenant‘s director  Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu. Gomez-Rejon continued to build his resume by directing several episodes for Glee and American Horror Story. His second feature film Me and Earl and the Dying Girl premiered in Sundance to rave reviews.

What’s next: Gomez-Rejon is attached to direct Will Smith and Rooney Mara for the upcoming movie Collateral Beauty.

3. Charlie Kaufman

Long before Kaufman received success in his award-winning stop motion film Anomalisa, he was a well-known writer and producer in the film industry. He is often recognized as one of the greatest screenwriters of all time, especially with his debut work Being John Malkovic0h, which was directed by the equally incredible Spike Jonze. Kaufman is mostly praised for his original writing style, and it was only a matter of time before he released a film of his own.

The movie Synecdoche, New York was often named as the best film of the year 2008. His follow-up project came a few years later, this time it was the Academy Award nominated movie Anomalisa. The feature wasn’t your typical Disney-like film, it talked about a topic many can relate to—the absurdities and sadness of routine life. It pretty much mirrors Kaufman’s signature theme of complex relationships and man’s constant search for the true meaning of life.

What’s next: Kaufman is not set to participate in any future project as of the moment.

 4. Ana Lily Amirpour

Iranian-American Ana Lily Amirpour captivated audiences with her vampire western film A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. She had worked on several short films prior to releasing the movie, including A Little Suicide, which received several nominations. Amirpour mostly sticks with dark themes with a touch of romanticism. What makes her stand out among other filmmakers is the fact that she inserts such minimal dialogue and tells the story with compelling action scenes.

What’s next: Amirpour is set to direct her next film The Bad Batch, a post-apocalyptic love story that revolves around a community of cannibals. She describes the project as “Road Warrior meets Pretty in Pink with a dope soundtrack.” Jason Momoa, Jim Carrey, and Keanu Reeves are part of the ensemble cast.

5. Paul King

Paddington was an unexpected hit when it was released back in 2015. Paul King was the man behind the heartwarming creation. He began his career in filmmaking by directing the play Garth Marenghi before moving on to the beloved BBC comedy The Mighty Bush. King is known for his simple aesthetic and big imagination, and that was what audiences got to see in the big screen adaptation of Paddington the Bear.

What’s next: King is attached to the film version of the young adult book Wonder, which talked about a boy with facial deformities. He has also confirmed that there will be a sequel to Paddington.

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