Most Promising Directors

by XavierSF | created - 23 Sep 2016 | updated - 15 Apr 2017 | Public

These are the directors who I think have the brightest future in cinema. These directors are chosen based on their outstanding creativity and the expectation that their upcoming film projects are creating. They need to have less than 50 years and maximum 6 features.

1. Colin Trevorrow

Writer | Jurassic World

Born in San Francisco and raised in Oakland, Colin Trevorrow started making short films when he was 12 years old. He studied film and dramatic writing at New York University. After graduation, he wrote and directed "Home Base" a digital short that became one of the early viral successes on the ...

2. J.J. Abrams

Producer | Lost

Jeffrey Jacob Abrams was born in New York City and raised in Los Angeles, the son of TV producer parents. Abrams planned on going to dental school, but decided to study film at Sarah Lawrence College. At 15, he wrote the music for Don Dohler's Nightbeast (1982). In his senior year, he and Jill ...

3. Cary Joji Fukunaga

Producer | Beasts of No Nation

Cary Joji Fukunaga was born on July 10, 1977 in Oakland, California, USA. He is a producer and director, known for Beasts of No Nation (2015), Sin Nombre (2009) and True Detective (2014).

4. Jennifer Kent

Director | The Babadook

Jennifer Kent is an actress and director, known for The Babadook (2014), Monster (2005) and Babe: Pig in the City (1998).

5. Jeff Nichols

Writer | Take Shelter

Jeff Nichols was born on December 7, 1978 in Little Rock, Arkansas, USA. He is a writer and director, known for Take Shelter (2011), Midnight Special (2016) and Mud (2012).

6. Rian Johnson

Director | Looper

Rian Johnson was born in Maryland and at a young age, he moved to San Clemente, California, where he was raised. After graduating from high school, he went on to attend the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. His first feature film Brick (2005) was released in 2005 and was ...

7. Robert Eggers

Director | The VVitch: A New-England Folktale

Robert Eggers is a production designer and costume designer, known for The VVitch: A New-England Folktale (2015), The Tell-Tale Heart (2008) and The Knight.

8. Craig William Macneill

Director | The Boy

Recipient of a 2010 Jerome Foundation Grant.

9. J.A. Bayona

Director | El orfanato

J.A. Bayona was born on May 9, 1975 in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain as Juan Antonio García Bayona. He is a director, known for The Orphanage (2007), The Impossible (2012) and A Monster Calls (2016).

10. Shunsuke Okubo

Actor | Clocks Tell the Time

Shunsuke Okubo was born on May 24, 1994 in Japan. He is an actor and director, known for Clocks Tell the Time (2014), Terminus (2014) and 20 Seconds of Courage (2016).

11. Xavier Dolan

Actor | Tom à la ferme

Xavier Dolan was born on March 20, 1989 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada as Xavier Dolan-Tadros. He is an actor and writer, known for Tom à la ferme (2013), Heartbeats (2010) and I Killed My Mother (2009).

12. Severin Fiala

Director | Ich seh ich seh

Severin Fiala was born in 1985 in Horn, Lower Austria, Austria. He is a director and writer, known for Goodnight Mommy (2014), The Lodge and The Fortress.

13. Benh Zeitlin

Director | Beasts of the Southern Wild

Born in New York City and raised in Sunnyside, Queens and then Westchester County, Benh Zeitlin began his career as a film-maker at the tender age of 6 years when he and a friend made a Batman movie. He continued making films as a child before attending Wesleyan University, where he majored in film...

14. Ryan Coogler

Director | Creed

Ryan Coogler was born on May 23, 1986 in Oakland, California, USA as Ryan Kyle Coogler. He is a director and writer, known for Creed (2015), Fruitvale Station (2013) and Black Panther (2018).

15. James Ponsoldt

Director | The Spectacular Now

James Ponsoldt was born in 1978 in Athens, Georgia, USA as James Adam Ponsoldt. He is a director and producer, known for The Spectacular Now (2013), The Circle (2017) and Smashed (2012). He has been married to Megan Holloway since September 25, 2010.

16. Sarah Polley

Actress | Dawn of the Dead

Sarah Polley is an actress and director renowned in her native Canada for her political activism. Blessed with an extremely expressive face that enables directors to minimize dialog due to her uncanny ability to suggest a character's thoughts, Polley has become a favorite of critics for her ...

17. Matt Reeves

Writer | Let Me In

Born on April 27, 1966, Matthew Reeves is a writer, director and producer, known for his directorial work on Cloverfield (2008), Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014), and War for the Planet of the Apes (2017). Reeves was born in in Rockville Center, New York and was childhood friends with director ...

18. Matthew Vaughn

Producer | Kick-Ass

Matthew Vaughn is an English film producer and director. He is known for producing such films as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) and Snatch (2000) and for directing the crime thriller, Layer Cake (2004), the fantasy epic, Stardust (2007), the superhero comedy, Kick-Ass (2010), and the ...

20. 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 ...

21. Tom Hooper

Director | The Danish Girl

Tom Hooper was educated at one of England's most prestigious schools, Westminster. His first film, Runaway Dog, was made when he was 13 years old and shot on a Clockwork 16mm Bolex camera, using 100 feet of film. At age 18, he wrote, directed and produced the short film Painted Faces (1992), which ...

22. Shane Carruth

Composer | Upstream Color

Writer-director Shane Carruth, a former software engineer, burst onto the independent movie scene with his extremely low-budget science-fiction film Primer (2004) in 2004. Carruth also played one of the two leads in the film and composed its music. "Primer" won the Grand Jury Prize and the Alfred P...

23. Damien Chazelle

Writer | La La Land

Damien Sayre Chazelle is an American director and screenwriter. He was born in Providence, Rhode Island. His mother, Celia Sayre (Martin) Chazelle, is an American-Canadian writer and professor of history at The College of New Jersey. His father, Bernard Chazelle, is a French-American Eugene Higgins...

24. Veronika Franz

Writer | Ich seh ich seh

Veronika Franz was born in 1965 in Vienna, Austria. She is a writer and director, known for Goodnight Mommy (2014), Paradies: Glaube (2012) and Paradies: Liebe (2012).