July 4, 2021

July 4, 2021

July 4, 2021

Top 15 Indie Filmmakers to Watch

Top 15 Indie Filmmakers to Watch

Top 15 Indie Filmmakers to Watch




urbanist and engineer with an affinity for good techno music

Independent films are productions typically created out of the mainstream film industry, produced as feature films with minimal budget, ranging anywhere between a few thousand dollars and a few million. With the ability to express more freely the personal and artistic vision of the producer, these films have a distinct style and character that one might find missing from your typical box office production.

Photo by Lê Minh from Pexels

Although the past year has brought the independent cinema industry to a standstill with mandatory lockdowns, social distancing, and more stringent safety precautions, the indie film making scene is still progressing forward, with many producers taking advantage of the unique opportunity the pandemic has provided for creating and delivering independent films.

Whether you are a professional in the industry or someone looking to stream one of the next best films, here is our list of the top 15 indie filmmakers to watch in 2024.

Fyzal Boulifa 🔗

Based out of the UK, Fyzal Boulifa took a huge interest in cinema and film throughout his life. Despite not attending university to study film, Boulifa pursued filmmaking self-taught on his own. Some of his first productions include Coming Back (2009), Burn My Body (2010), The Curse (2012), and Rate Me (2015), winning awards at various indie film festivals. Boulifa’s first feature film Lynn + Lucy (2019) takes viewers through the lives of two lifelong best friends pressured by the birth of Lucy’s first child. The film was awarded various prizes in numerous international festivals, and a nomination for Critics’ Circle Film Award in 2021.

Kitty Green 🔗

Coming from Melbourne, Australia, Kitty Green is a director, editor, producer and screenwriter making waves in the indie film industry with her “Me Too” production The Assistant (2019). Following, the life of Jane, played by Julia Garner, The Assistant exposes a culture of sexual harassment in a film production company in New York.

In addition to this film, Kitty studied at the Victorian College of the Arts, and has notable productions such as The Face of Ukraine: Casting Oksana Baiul (2015), Ukraine Is Not a Brothel (2013), and Casting JonBenét (2017).

Bong Joon-ho 🔗

Widely known for his production of the multi-award winning film Parasite (2019), South Korean-based Bong Joon-ho could largely be considered in the mainstream at this point, but we felt he still deserved a mention in this list. Some of his other main productions in the past include Okja (2017), Sea Fog (2014), Snowpiercer (2013), Mother (2009), Tokyo! (2008), and The Host (2006), to name a few. Audiences can expect two new scripts from Joon-ho in the future, so be sure to keep an eye out for these!

Trey Edward Shults 🔗

Coming from Montgomery, Texas, Trey Edward Shults is a writer, actor, film producer, and director. His filmography includes three short films such as Mother and Son (2010), Two to One (2011), and Krisha (2014). More notable feature films include the drama Krisha (2015), and the psychological Horror It Comes at Night (2017). More recently the celebrated drama Waves (2019) takes viewers through the lives of a suburban family in Florida, experiencing love, loss, and tragedy.

Hannah Fidell 🔗

As a film producer, director, and screenwriter, coming from Washington, D.C., Hannah Fidell made her directorial debut with the production of A Teacher (2013) and later moved forward with the romantic drama film 6 Years (2015). Her most recent production of The Long Dumb Road (2018), is a comedy taking viewers through the lives of Nat, a hopeful photographer heading to LA to start art school and Richard, a man riddled with past mistakes and uncertain decisions, as they journey across the country in a series of odd encounters and events certain to bring a laugh or smile.

Chloé Zhao 🔗

Although hopping more into the mainstream with the Marvel film Eternals set to be released in 2021, Chinese filmmaker Chloé Zhao has made her career primarily in the American indie film industry. Songs My Brothers Taught Me (2015) was Zhao’s debut as a director, and brought about even more success with her work in The Rider (2017) and more recently Nomadland (2020). With multiple Oscar, BAFTA Film Award, and Golden Globe awards with the production of Nomadland, it is no wonder Hollywood has started taking note of her work!

Julia Hart 🔗

Born to parents with professions as a screenwriter and actress extensively involved in Hollywood, filmmaker and actress Julia Hart has always had filmmaking influences close to her life. Making her debut as a director with comedy drama Miss Stevens (2016), and later producing Fast Color (2018), Hart has garnered quite a bit of attention at the SXSW film festivals. More recently her work has seen the creation of the musical romantic film Stargirl and the crime film I’m Your Woman, both released in 2020.

Carlos López Estrada 🔗

Working as a filmmaker, actor, music video director, theater director, and commercial director, Carlos López Estrada quickly rose to prominence after his production of Blindspotting (2018), a comedy drama taking viewers through the lives of Casal and Diggs touching on the issues of police shootings and gentrification in the city of Oakland, California. Disney has since hired Estrada for other roles in pieces such as Frozen II (2019), Summertime (2020), and Raya and the Last Dragon (2021), helping bring greater diversity and representation to the company.

Gia Coppola 🔗

As the daughter of film producer Gian-Carlo Coppola, director and screenwriter Gia Coppola has always had the influence of film production in her life. Coppola’s career started with a short film she created for a fashion label, and has since progressed into other films like Palo Alto (2013) and The Secret Life of Lonely Doll (2016). More recently Coppola created the 2020 film Mainstream, following the life of Frankie as she enters into internet fame with the likes of internet star Link.Carrying on the family legacy of the Coppola’s, Gia is definitely one filmmaker to keep an eye out for.

Anthony Maras 🔗

As a producer, writer, and film director from Adelaide, Australia, Anthony Maras has created notable films such as The Palace (2011) winning the AACTA Award for Best Short Film and Australian Film Institute Award for Best Screenplay in a Short Film, and Hotel Mumbai (2019) winning the AACTA Award for Best Editing. In his latest production with the action thriller Hotel Mumbai, viewers are taken through the true story of a terrorist attack on the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai in 2008. As a rising star producer in Australian film, Maras is one director we are following closely!

Greta Gerwig 🔗

Greta Gerwig is a multifaceted talent in the American entertainment industry, known for her work as an actress, playwright, screenwriter, and director. She has notably collaborated with filmmaker Noah Baumbach on several acclaimed films, such as Greenberg (2010), Frances Ha (2012) – which earned her a Golden Globe nomination – and Mistress America (2015). Gerwig ventured into solo directorial work with the highly praised comedy-drama Lady Bird (2017), a film she also wrote. In addition to her directorial work, Gerwig has showcased her acting prowess in films like Damsels in Distress (2011), Jackie (2016), and 20th Century Women (2016)

Ari Aster 🔗

Ari Aster is a notable figure in the American film industry, recognized as a film director, screenwriter, and producer. He gained prominence for his work on the A24 horror films Hereditary (2018) and Midsommar (2019), both of which he wrote and directed. Born into a Jewish family in New York City on July 15, 1986, Aster is the son of a poet mother and a musician father. He has a younger brother. Aster fondly recalls his earliest cinematic experience, going to see the film Dick Tracy when he was just four years old. This particular film featured a scene with a character firing a Tommy gun in front of a wall of fire, which reportedly caused young Aster to jump from his seat and "run six New York City blocks" while his mother attempted to catch up with him.

Bo Burnham 🔗

Bo Burnham, an American actor, director, writer, and producer, is best known for his work on the middle school comedy film Eighth Grade, which he wrote and directed. He has also showcased his acting talents in various films such as Funny People, Rough Night, American Virgin, Hall Pass, The Big Sick, and the critically acclaimed Promising Young Woman. Burnham's diverse talents have solidified his place as a multi-talented figure in the entertainment industry.

Lulu Wang 🔗

Lulu Wang is a Chinese-born American filmmaker best known for writing and directing the comedy-drama films Posthumous and The Farewell. The latter earned her the Independent Spirit Award for Best Film and was selected as one of the top ten films of 2019 by the American Film Institute. Wang's work has garnered acclaim for its unique storytelling and heartfelt exploration of cultural themes.

Barry Jenkins 🔗

Barry Jenkins is an American director and writer based in Los Angeles. He gained recognition for his films Medicine for Melancholy and Moonlight. Moonlight won the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama at the 74th Golden Globe Awards and received four nominations at the 70th British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs). Jenkins' work is celebrated for its nuanced storytelling and exploration of identity, race, and LGBTQ+ themes. In addition to his success in filmmaking, Jenkins is also known for his advocacy for diversity and inclusion in the industry.

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