Most Promising Young Directors

by Bridget | created - 01 Feb 2011 | updated - 13 Mar 2011 | Public

...Not necessarily young in age, but young in their careers in that they have 4 or less feature films under their belt. TV stuff and shorts dont count. All have supremely impressed me with their work so far, but of course havent really proven themselves completely yet. Hopefully they will eventually graduate to my "accomplished" director list.

1. Tarsem Singh

Director | The Fall

Indian director Tarsem Singh is the son of an aircraft engineer. He was educated at Bishop Cotton Boy's School in Shimla and relocated to the USA to study business at Harvard and, significantly, film studies at the Art Center College of Design in California. Upon graduating he embarked on a career ...


2011: Immortals 2006: The Fall -10- 2000: The Cell -10-

2. George Nolfi

Writer | The Adjustment Bureau

Nolfi was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He attended James Hart Junior High School in Homewood, Illinois, and then Homewood-Flossmoor High School in Flossmoor, both in the south suburbs of Chicago. He graduated from Princeton University summa cum laude with a bachelor's in public policy and was ...


2011: The Adjustment Bureau -10-

3. Chris Gorak

Art_director | Minority Report

Chris Gorak is a production designer and art director, known for Minority Report (2002), Right at Your Door (2006) and The Darkest Hour (2011).

Right At Your Door was just unbelievably awesome. Unrelentless, this is one film where I literally was on the edge of my seat the entire time and I dont think I loosened my grip on my bed or closed my mouth until well after the credits were over. I hope Darkest Hours lives up to it....


2011: Dead Loss 2008: The Darkest Hour 2006: Right At Your Door -10-

4. Mark Romanek

Director | One Hour Photo

Mark Romanek was born on September 18, 1959 in Chicago, Illinois, USA. He is a director, known for One Hour Photo (2002), Never Let Me Go (2010) and Michael Jackson Feat. Janet Jackson: Scream (1995). He is married to Brigette Romanek.


2010: Never Let Me Go -8- 2002: One Hour Photo -9- 1985: Static -8-

5. Samuel Bayer

Producer | Pony

Having photographed and directed hundreds of music videos and commercials over the last 15 years, Samuel Bayer has firmly established himself as one of the industry's most prolific and sought-after talents.

A 1987 graduate of New York City's School of Visual Arts, Bayer was a painter who saw film ...

I grew up with his music videos; his were always my favorites overall. I knew that if Samuel Bayer's name was on it, it would be an awesome video (and he worked with great artists so that helped too). He was responsible for Only Happy When It Rains by Garbage, The Heart's Filthy Lesson by David Bowie, Until It Sleeps by Metallica, and Bullet With Butterfly Wings by Smashing Pumpkins among others. Granted, being a great music video director does not a real director make. But, he already has shown, with the remake of Nightmare On Elm Street (which *shoot me* but I liked far better than the original). Music video/commercial directors come to the plate with three things: money, a great visual style, and connections. That doesnt always result in a fantastic director, but its a great start.


2012: Tumor 2011: Fiasco Heights 2010: Nightmare On Elm Street -9-

6. Jake Scott

Director | Welcome to the Rileys

Jake Scott was born in 1965. He is a director, known for Welcome to the Rileys (2010), Black Rain (1989) and Alien³ (1992).

Every year since I first saw Plunkett & Macleane in 2000, Ive looked Jake Scott up hoping upon hope that he would work on something new. Finally 2 years ago, Welcome To The Rileys was announced and I was stoked.


2010: Welcome To The Rileys -8- 1999: Plunkett & Macleane -10-

Another director who Ive looked up countless times since chancing upon Fabled about 5 years ago. Tower Records was at 80% off at that time and when I was looking through what was left of their movies, there was a copy of Fabled every other movie practically. Finally because it was annoying me more than anything, I bought it. Its been one of my favorite films ever since. Never underestimate the impulse buy. Now if ONLY he would do something else for cryin' out loud. Its been 8 years!


2003: Fabled -10-

8. Neill Blomkamp

Director | District 9

Neill Blomkamp was born on September 17, 1979 in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is a director and writer, known for District 9 (2009), Elysium (2013) and Chappie (2015). He is married to Terri Tatchell. They have one child.


2013: Elysium 2009: District 9 -9-

9. Duncan Jones

Director | Moon

Duncan Jones was born on May 30, 1971 in Bromley, Kent, England as Duncan Zowie Haywood Jones. He is a director and writer, known for Moon (2009), Source Code (2011) and Warcraft (2016). He has been married to Rodene Ronquillo since November 6, 2012. They have two children.


2013: Mute 2011: Source Code 2009: Moon -10-

10. Rigoberto Castañeda

Director | KM 31: Kilómetro 31

Born in Mexico City. Helmer of several school shortfilms, standing out "Necrofilia" and "Sin Sentido", making a world wide recognition at film festivals.

His dream has been always to make Horror films, one of his favorite genres, as Science Fiction and Fantasy. He writes his first feature based on a...

I havent seen KM 31 yet. I think it *was* on Netflix, but it fell back off. Wal-Mart had it, but it was in their Spanish section (as in FOR Spanish-speaking people) and I couldnt tell if it had English subtitles so... one day, Ill get around to it. For now, Ive seen Blackout and it blew me away so Im definitely keeping an eye out for more.


2011: Lázaro 2008: Blackout -9- 2006: Kilometro 31

11. Juan Carlos Fresnadillo

Director | 28 Weeks Later

Juan Carlos Fresnadillo was born on December 5, 1967 in Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. He is a producer, known for 28 Weeks Later (2007), Intacto (2001) and Linked (1996).

He has quite a few films in the works, but as of this writing, only two completed works, both of which Ive seen and was amazed by


2012: Wednesday 2012: X: The Man With The X-Ray Eyes (*yes* a remake of the Ray Milland film. Why, you ask? Well, why not!) 2011: Intruders (post-prod as of 10/19/10) 2004: Intacto -9- 2007: 28 Weeks Later -9-

12. Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Producer | The Revenant

Alejandro González Iñárritu (ih-nyar-ee-too), born August 15th, 1963, is a Mexican film director.

González Iñárritu is the first Mexican director to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director and by the Directors Guild of America for Best Director. He is also the first Mexican-born ...


2011: Saturn And The End Of Days 2010: Biutiful 2006: Babel -8- 2003: 21 Grams -9- 2000: Amores Perros -9-

13. Spike Jonze

Producer | Her

Spike Jonze made up one-third (along with Andy Jenkins and Mark Lewman) of the triumvirate of genius minds behind Dirt Magazine, the brother publication of the much lamented ground-breaking Sassy Magazine. These three uncommon characters were all editors for Grand Royal Magazine as well, under the ...


2013: "Untitled" / Light Boxes (?) 2009: Where The Wild Things Are -9- 2002: Adaptation -7- 1999: Being John Malkovich -8-

14. Lodge Kerrigan

Writer | Clean, Shaven

Lodge Kerrigan is a New York film director who has made only four films in fifteen years but whose works have left a deep imprint on the minds of those who have seen them. Difficult indeed to forget Peter Green, the schizophrene of Clean, Shaven (1993), Claire Dolan, the reluctant call-girl of ...


2010: Rebecca H. (Return To The Dogs) 2004: Keane -7- ????: In God's Hands extensive negative damage 1998: Claire Dolan 1993: Clean, Shaven -9-

15. E. Elias Merhige

Director | Shadow of the Vampire

E. Elias Merhige was born in 1964 in Brooklyn, New York, USA. He is a director and writer, known for Shadow of the Vampire (2000), Begotten (1990) and Suspect Zero (2004).


2011: Games They Play 2004: Suspect Zero -9- 2000: Shadow Of The Vampire -9- 1991: Begotten -9-

16. Gaspar Noé

Director | Irréversible

Gaspar Noé was born on December 27, 1963 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is a director and producer, known for Irreversible (2002), Enter the Void (2009) and I Stand Alone (1998).


2009: Enter The Void -9- 2001: Irreversible -9- 1998: I Stand Alone -8- 1991: Carne

17. Pål Sletaune

Director | Budbringeren

Pål Sletaune was born on March 4, 1960 in Norway. He is a producer and director, known for Junk Mail (1997), The Monitor (2011) and Naboer (2005).


2011: Babycall 2005: Next Door -9- 2001: You Really Got Me 1997: Junk Mail

18. Julie Taymor

Director | Frida

Julie Taymor is an Academy Award-nominated director, known for such films as Frida (2002) and Across the Universe (2007).

She was born on December 15, 1952, in Newton, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. Her father, Melvin Lester Taymor, was a gynecologist. Her mother, Elizabeth Bernstein, was a ...

I feel weird putting her on here because not only does she have the maximum allowable films, but as much as I loved Titus, I just...well have bothered to see anything else...and theyre all available. [slaps own wrist]


2010: The Tempest 2007: Across The Universe 2002: Frida 1999: Titus -9-

19. Richard Kelly

Writer | Donnie Darko

James Richard Kelly better known as Richard Kelly, is an American film director and writer, known for writing and directing the cult classic Donnie Darko in 2001. Kelly was born James Richard Kelly in Newport News, Virginia, the son of Lane and Ennis Kelly. He grew up in Midlothian, Virginia, where...

Richard Kelly is good, and definitely very unique, but he rides that fine line where I dont feel I can necessarily trust him. Donnie Darko was amazing, Southland Tales Im still on the fence about (I think Ive changed my vote three times), and The Box was very entertaining, but something just doesnt sit right with me. At any rate, he is one to pay attention to. I havent read the book Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, but it does seem like it would make a very entertaining film.


2011: Pride And Prejudice And Zombies 2011: Fade 2009: The Box -8- 2006: Southland Tales -7- 2001: Donnie Darko -9-

20. Clark Gregg

Actor | The Avengers

Clark Gregg was born on April 2, 1962 in Boston, Massachusetts, USA as Robert Clark Gregg. He is an actor and director, known for The Avengers (2012), Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013) and The New Adventures of Old Christine (2006). He has been married to Jennifer Grey since July 21, 2001. They have ...

He's mainly an actor (one who I never noticed before until Choke sadly), but Choke was awesome and there is something untitled in the works on his page so....hope its good [fingers crossed]


2008: Choke -10-

21. Alex Rivera

Director | Sleep Dealer

Alex Rivera was born in 1973 in New York City, New York, USA. He is a director and producer, known for Sleep Dealer (2008), Futurestates (2010) and The Sixth Section (2003).

Sleep Dealer blew me away. I hope he continues to impress me...


2012: A Contract With God 2008: Sleep Dealer -10-

22. Pascal Laugier

Director | Martyrs

Pascal Laugier is a director and writer, known for Martyrs (2008), The Tall Man (2012) and Incident in a Ghostland (2018).

As much as I wasnt looking forward to a remake of my favorite childhood horror franchise, Hellraiser, it was at first slated to go to this guy, which made me breathe a sigh of relief. Now thats gone, and some schmuck who directs straight to video horror sequels is on the job. [shakes head]


2011: The Tall Man 2008: Martyrs -10- 2004: Saint Ange aka: House Of Voices -in queue-

23. Xavier Gens

Director | The Divide

Xavier Gens was born on April 27, 1975 in Dunkerque, Nord, France. He is a director and assistant director, known for The Divide (2011), Frontier(s) (2007) and Hitman (2007). He has been married to Mounia Meddour Gens since 2005.


2012: Paris, Ill Kill You 2011: The Divide 2007: Hitman -9- 2007: Frontiere(s) -8-

24. Tiago Guedes

Director | Coro dos Amantes

Tiago Guedes was born on June 20, 1971 in Porto, Portugal as Tiago Guedes de Carvalho. He is a director and writer, known for Coro dos Amantes (2014), Blood Curse (2006) and Entre os Dedos (2008). He has been married to Isabel Abreu since January 1, 2001. They have two children.


2008: Entre os Dedos 2006: Coisa Ruim -9-

25. Fabián Bielinsky

Writer | Nueve reinas

He graduated from ENERC (Escuela Nacional de Experimentación y Realización Cinematográfica), the most prestigious film school in Argentina, including Lucrecia Martel among its alumni and Anahí Berneri among its lecturers. He worked in several films as Assistant Director or co-writer, until his ...

Apparently nothing new on the horizon sadly...


2005: Al Aura -10- 2012: Nueve Reinas aka Nine Queens

26. Fabrice du Welz

Director | Alléluia

Fabrice du Welz was born on October 21, 1972 in Belgium. He is a director and writer, known for Alléluia (2014), Vinyan (2008) and Calvaire (2004).

Vinyan was a little disappointing, but Im still holding onto Calvaire as a buoy of awesomeness


2011: For Your Entertainment 2008: Vinyan 2004: Calvaire -10-

27. Cory McAbee

Actor | The American Astronaut

Cory McAbee was born in northern California. He spent the first 12 years of his adult life working as the head of security in bars and nightclubs throughout San Francisco. It was during this period that he became involved in theater. His early stage performances included the role of Pontius Pilate ...


2009: Stingray Sam 2001: American Astronaut -10-

28. Milford Thomas

Director | Claire

Filmmaker Milford Thomas was born and raised in the North Alabama foothills of the Appalachians, studied Mass Communications at the University of Montevallo, and worked for years between Atlanta and Tokyo as a production coordinator for Japanese television, instilling a penchant for both Japanese ...

Something tells me this guy isnt going to produce any more films. I wish he would. Claire was very good and very unique.


2001: Claire -9-

29. Michael Walker

Director | Chasing Sleep

Writer/Director Michael Walker made his feature filmmaking debut with the Lions Gate release Chasing Sleep starring Jeff Daniels. Chasing Sleep premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in, and went on to win Best Film at Festival of Fantastic Film in Sweden, and Jury Prize at Gerardmer.


Another director who made one awesome film and then disappeared.


2000: Chasing Sleep -9-

30. Hampton Fancher

Writer | Blade Runner 2049

Hampton Fancher was born on July 18, 1938 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Hampton Lansden Fancher III. He is an actor and writer, known for Blade Runner 2049 (2017), Blade Runner (1982) and The Minus Man (1999). He was previously married to Sue Lyon and Joann McNabb.

He might be a one-off as well as far as directing. But not only did he direct the wonderful Minus Man, he also we wrote the screenplay for Blade Runner. Thats gotta say something...


1999: The Minus Man -9-

31. Finn Taylor

Writer | Cherish

Finn Taylor was born on July 4, 1958 in Oakland, California, USA as Finn William Taylor. He is a writer and director, known for Cherish (2002), Unleashed (2016) and The Darwin Awards (2006).

Dream With The Fishes was great, and both his others are in my queue.


2011: Blue Moon Of Kentucky 2006: The Darwin Awards 2002: Cherish 1997: Dream With The Fishes -8-

32. Patty Jenkins

Director | Wonder Woman

Patty Jenkins is a writer/director best known for directing Wonder Woman, the Warner Bros./DC Comics blockbuster of 2017, and her debut feature Monster. Patty also works in television where she is best known for the pilot and finale episode of AMC's hit show The Killing.

Patty began her career as a ...

I keep waiting for a new one, but all she keeps doing is TV work. Im sure *for* TV, its great, but I (99%) hate TV.


2003: Monster -9-

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