Similar to the ’90s, the 2010s is a decade that’s gradually forming a new wave of independent cinema. Every 2 to 3 years or so, a new filmmaker or media creator emerges from the ashes, introducing a project with a unique perspective, style and voice. Naturally, most of these artists are discovered from the Sundance Film Festival and some others might even get their start from viral Youtube videos. Nonetheless, these indie creators have reached a pinnacle of success that rivals artists like Quentin Tarantino, Wes Anderson, and Lena Dunham.
Here’s a list of 5 indie filmmakers every rising actor should pursue to work with ASAP – before they become too hot to touch:
5. Issa Rae
This one is a perfect example of a creator from the “Digital Media Age”. Issa Rae was a Youtube sensation known for her web series, Awkward Black Girl, for several years before sealing a deal with HBO for her new series, Insecure, in which she writes, produces, and stars in. The show premiered on Sunday, October 9th, and after high viewership and pleasing reviews, we just might be seeing Issa’s name attached to more unique projects throughout the next 5 to 10 years.
4. Trey Edwards Shults
Do you know what this guy has in common with film greats like Terrence Malick, Richard Linklater, and Wes Anderson? They all are based out of Austin, Texas. Trey Edward Shults is a one of a kind filmmaker whose neo-realistic style garnered acclaim from the festival circuit last year with his debut feature, Krisha. A24 picked up the film for distribution and signed Shults to a 2 picture deal, allowing him to immediately begin his upcoming psychological horror film, It Comes At Night, starring Joel Edgerton. At this rate, I am certain that Mr. Shults will join the list of cinema’s finest in due time.
3. Marielle Heller
In 2010, this UCLA theatre arts alumnus directed, produced, and starred in an Off-Broadway play based on Phoebe Gloeckner’s graphic novel The Diary of a Teenage Girl. 5 years later, she adapted the play into her first feature film under the same title. The film’s provocative story and style led Heller to direct episodes of Amazon’s Transparent and Hulu’s Casual. Her bodacious yet authentic approach will hopefully lead to less stereotypical female characters and provide more dynamic and unique roles for women in film. Ladies, look her up please!
2. Josh Mond
Josh Mond’s semi-autobiographical directorial debut, James White, showcased raw performances from Sex and the City’s Cynthia Nixon and Girls’ Christopher Abbot. In this powerful portrait of a mother and son, we witness the two leading actors both reach an emotional height that has never been seen from them before–all thanks to Mond’s passionate leadership. In 2015, it won the “Best of Next!” audience award at Sundance. And the best part is you can watch the film via Netflix right now!
1. Ryan Coogler
Due to 2013’s Fruitvale Station, last year’s Creed, and his upcoming third film which happens to be Marvel’s Black Panther, you might think this Oakland, California native is “too established” for this list. Guess again. Ryan Coogler has consistently cast Michael B. Jordan as lead characters in all three of his films, however, he has also featured rising talent such as Melanie Diaz and Tessa Thompson alongside a ton of new faces in Black Panther. With his humble and down to earth manner, he is bound to take a break from big Hollywood epics and bring us another indie-style film with an innovative perspective. Although I consider his first film a masterpiece, Coogler’s best work is still to come and you could even be in it!
Which one of these filmmakers would you like to work with? And for more articles like this, subscribe!