Top 50 Upcoming Directors

by connorminor | created - 13 Sep 2018 | updated - 2 months ago | Public

This list is based on up and coming directors, who have made under 5 feature films. Some directors have been around longer then others, but don't have a huge filmography.

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1. Ryan Coogler

Director | Black Panther

Ryan Coogler was born on May 23, 1986 in Oakland, California, USA as Ryan Kyle Coogler. He is a director and writer, known for Black Panther (2018), Creed (2015) and Fruitvale Station (2013). He has been married to Zinzi Evans since 2016.

2. Alex Garland

Writer | Ex Machina

Alex Garland is an English novelist, screenwriter, film producer and director. He is best known for the films Ex Machina (2015) and Annihilation (2018).

Garland's others works as a writer includes The Beach (2000), 28 Days Later (2002), Sunshine (2007), Never Let Me Go (2011) and Dredd (2012).

He is ...

3. Taika Waititi

Actor | What We Do in the Shadows

Taika Waititi, also known as Taika Cohen, hails from the Raukokore region of the East Coast of New Zealand, and is the son of Robin (Cohen), a teacher, and Taika Waiti, an artist and farmer. His father is Maori (Te-Whanau-a-Apanui), and his mother is of Ashkenazi Jewish, Irish, Scottish, and ...

4. Robert Eggers

Director | The VVitch: A New-England Folktale

Robert Eggers is a production designer and director, known for The Witch (2015), The Lighthouse (2019) and The Tell-Tale Heart (2008).

5. 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 ...

6. S. Craig Zahler

Writer | Bone Tomahawk

S. Craig Zahler was born on January 23, 1973 in Miami, Florida, USA. He is a writer and director, known for Bone Tomahawk (2015), Brawl in Cell Block 99 (2017) and Dragged Across Concrete (2018).

7. Yorgos Lanthimos

Director | The Lobster

Yorgos Lanthimos was born in Athens, Greece. He studied directing for Film and Television at the Stavrakos Film School in Athens. He has directed a number of dance videos in collaboration with Greek choreographers, in addition to TV commercials, music videos, short films and theater plays. Kinetta,...

8. Yann Demange

Director | '71

Yann Demange was born in 1977 in Paris, France. He is a director and producer, known for '71 (2014), Top Boy (2011) and Lovecraft Country (2019).

9. Drew Goddard

Producer | The Martian

Drew Goddard was raised in Los Alamos, New Mexico. He attended Los Alamos High School in Los Alamos, New Mexico and graduated in 1993. He then attended the University of Colorado, and worked as a production assistant in L.A. after graduation. A spec script Drew wrote based on Six Feet Under (2001) ...

10. Gareth Evans

Director | Serbuan Maut

Welsh born writer/director, in 2003 directed a short film "Samurai Monogatari" telling the tale of a Samurai waiting to be executed. The short was in Japanese language and starred students from Tokyo who were studying at Cardiff University at the time.

In 2003 he also graduated with an MA in ...

11. Tom Ford

Director | A Single Man

Tom Ford is an American fashion designer, film director, screenwriter and film producer. He gained fame as the creative director at Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. In 2006, Ford launched his own "Tom Ford" label.

Ford directed the films A Single Man (2009) and Nocturnal Animals (2016), both films were...

12. Bong Joon Ho

Writer | Gisaengchung

Bong Joon Ho was born on September 14, 1969 in Daegu, South Korea. He is a writer and director, known for Parasite (2019), Okja (2017) and Snowpiercer (2013).

13. John Maclean

Soundtrack | Slow West

John Maclean studied BA drawing and painting at Edinburgh college of Art and MA at The Royal College of art in London. After graduating, he formed The Beta Band with friends, 1997 to 2004 and The Aliens 2005 to 2008. John made many of the band's music videos. In 2009 John made Man on a Motorcycle, ...

14. Taylor Sheridan

Writer | Hell or High Water

Taylor Sheridan is an American actor, screenwriter, and director. He is best known for wrote the screenplay for Sicario (2015), and Hell or High Water (2016), for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.

He also starred in FX television series Sons of Anarchy, and ...

15. Ava DuVernay

Producer | Queen Sugar

A director, producer, writer, marketer and film distributor, Ava DuVernay made her feature film debut with the documentary This in the Life (2008), a history on hip hop movement that flourished in Los Angeles in the 1990's. This was followed by series of television music documentaries which ...

16. Luca Guadagnino

Director | Call Me by Your Name

Luca Guadagnino was born in 1971 in Palermo, Sicily, Italy. He is a director and producer, known for Call Me by Your Name (2017), Suspiria (2018) and I Am Love (2009).

17. David Robert Mitchell

Writer | It Follows

David Robert Mitchell is an American director mainly known for the breakout horror film ''It Follows'' which had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2014. in 2002, Mitchell wrote and directed ''Virgin'' a short film featuring Carolina Castro and Cameron Diskin about a local legend...

18. Bradley Cooper

Actor | A Star Is Born

Bradley Charles Cooper was born on January 5, 1975 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His mother, Gloria (Campano), is of Italian descent, and worked for a local NBC station. His father, Charles John Cooper, who was of Irish descent, was a stockbroker. Immediately after Bradley graduated from the ...

19. 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 Maniac (2018).

20. J.C. Chandor

Producer | A Most Violent Year

J.C. Chandor was born as Jeffrey McDonald Chandor. He is a producer and director, known for A Most Violent Year (2014), Margin Call (2011) and All Is Lost (2013). He has been married to Mary Cameron Goodyear since 2004. They have two children.

21. Christina Choe

Director | Nancy

Christina Choe is an American filmmaker whose 2011 short film, I am John Wayne, won the Grand Jury Prize at the Slamdance Film Festival and screened at dozens of festivals around the world. Choe's documentary series Welcome to the DPRK, a personal portrait of North Korea, was recently acquired and ...

22. Jordan Peele

Writer | Get Out

Jordan Haworth Peele attended Sarah Lawrence College as a member of the class of 2001. His mother is white and his father is black. Jordan is married to comedian Chelsea Peretti, with whom he has a son.

He is known for co-writing and starring in the comedy Keanu (2016), opposite his close friend ...

23. 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.

24. Damien Chazelle

Writer | Whiplash

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...

25. Derek Cianfrance

Director | Blue Valentine

Derek Cianfrance began making movies at age 13. He later attended The University of Colorado where he studied under avant-garde film legends Stan Brakhage and Phil Solomon. His first three films, 'Five O'clock Shadow', 'Raw Footage', and Brother Tied (1998), won consecutive Goldfarb Awards for best...

26. Jacques Audiard

Writer | De rouille et d'os

Born in Paris, France, in 1952. Jacques Audiard's family has always been involved in movie business. His father, Michel, was a popular screenwriter and director and his uncle a producer. But in his teens he refused that world and wanted to be a teacher. He studied literature and philosophy at the ...

27. Karyn Kusama

Director | The Invitation

Karyn Kusama was born on March 21, 1968 in Brooklyn, New York, USA as Karyn K. Kusama. She is a director and producer, known for The Invitation (2015), Girlfight (2000) and Destroyer (2018).

28. David Leitch

Actor | Deadpool 2

David Leitch is a billion dollar film director, actor, stuntman, writer, producer, and stunt coordinator. He co-directed John Wick (2014) with Chad Stahelski, which he also served as producer. David directed Atomic Blonde (2017) starring Charlize Theron. David also directed the box office smash and...

29. Leigh Whannell

Actor | Saw

Leigh Whannell grew up in Melbourne, Australia, where, at the age of four, he developed an obsession with telling stories. Whether it be through acting, writing or filmmaking, his primary love was getting a reaction from an audience. In 1995, at the age of 18, he was accepted into the Royal ...

30. Barry Jenkins

Director | If Beale Street Could Talk

Barry Jenkins was born on November 19, 1979 in Miami, Florida, USA. He is a director and writer, known for If Beale Street Could Talk (2018), Moonlight (2016) and Medicine for Melancholy (2008).

31. Paul Dano

Actor | There Will Be Blood

An actor for all seasons and all kinds of roles (from dark, difficult characters to more loving ones) Paul Dano has an extensive body work that includes working with directors such as Paul Thomas Anderson, Steve McQueen, Dayton & Ferris, Ang Lee, Denis Villenueve and Paolo Sorrentino; acting with ...

32. Joe Cornish

Writer | Attack the Block

Joe Cornish was born on December 20, 1968 in London, England as Joseph Murray Cornish. He is a writer and director, known for Attack the Block (2011), Ant-Man (2015) and The Adventures of Tintin (2011).

33. Dan Gilroy

Writer | Nightcrawler

Dan Gilroy was born in Santa Monica, California, the son of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Frank D. Gilroy, and sculptor and writer Ruth Dorothy. His brother Tony Gilroy is a screenwriter and director; and his fraternal twin brother, John Gilroy, is a film editor. Through his father, he is of ...

34. Tamara Jenkins

Director | The Savages

Tamara Jenkins was born on May 2, 1962 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. She is married to Jim Taylor.

35. 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...

36. Panos Cosmatos

Writer | Mandy

Panos Cosmatos is a writer and director, known for Mandy (2018), Beyond the Black Rainbow (2010) and Tombstone (1993).

37. Joel Edgerton

Actor | The Gift

Joel Edgerton was born on June 23, 1974 in Blacktown, New South Wales, Australia, to Marianne (van Dort) and Michael Edgerton, who is a solicitor and property developer. His brother is filmmaker Nash Edgerton. His mother is a Dutch immigrant. Joel went to Hills Grammar School in the Western Suburbs...

38. Kenneth Lonergan

Writer | Manchester by the Sea

Kenneth Lonergan is a playwright, screenwriter and director. His film, You Can Count on Me (2000), which he wrote and directed, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Screenplay, won the Sundance 2000 Grand Jury Prize and the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award, the NY Film Critics Circle, LA Film ...

39. Greta Gerwig

Writer | Lady Bird

Greta Gerwig is an American actress, playwright, screenwriter, and director. She has collaborated with Noah Baumbach on several films, including Greenberg (2010), Frances Ha (2012), for which she earned a Golden Globe nomination, and Mistress America (2015). Gerwig made her solo directorial debut ...

40. Christopher McQuarrie

Writer | The Usual Suspects

Christopher McQuarrie is an acclaimed producer, director and an Academy Award® winning writer. McQuarrie grew up in Princeton Junction, New Jersey and in lieu of college, he spent the first five years out of school traveling and working at a detective agency. He later moved to Los Angeles to pursue...

41. Anna Boden

Writer | Half Nelson

Anna Boden is an American film director, cinematographer, editor, and screenwriter best known as the co-writer of the 2006 film Half Nelson. She is known for her collaborations with fellow filmmaker Ryan Fleck. While studying film at NYU, Boden met Ryan Fleck on the set of a student film. Soon they...

42. Ryan Fleck

Director | Half Nelson

Ryan K. Fleck is an American film director, cinematographer, editor, and screenwriter best known for directing and writing the 2006 film Half Nelson and the 2008 film Sugar. He is known for his collaborations with fellow filmmaker Anna Boden. Ryan was born in Berkeley, California and raised in ...

43. Fede Alvarez

Director | Don't Breathe

Fede Alvarez was born on February 9, 1978 in Montevideo, Uruguay. He is a director and writer, known for Don't Breathe (2016), Evil Dead (2013) and The Girl in the Spider's Web (2018).

44. Eva Vives

Director | All About Nina

Eva Vives was born on January 9, 1976 in Madrid, Spain. She is a director and writer, known for All About Nina (2018).

45. Andy Muschietti

Director | Mama

Andy Muschietti was born as Andrés Muschietti. He is a director and producer, known for Mama (2013), It (2017) and Mamá (2008).

46. 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 ...

47. Josie Rourke

Director | Mary Queen of Scots

Josie is the Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse. Her productions have transferred to Broadway, the West-End and won Olivier Awards. Her shows have been translated into live cinema broadcasts, including Coriolanus with Tom Hiddleston, Les Liaisons Dangereuses with Janet McTeer and Dominic ...

48. Sam Esmail

Writer | Mr. Robot

Sam Esmail was born on September 17, 1977 in Hoboken, New Jersey, USA. He is a writer and producer, known for Mr. Robot (2015), Homecoming (2018) and Comet (2014). He has been married to Emmy Rossum since May 28, 2017.

49. Michaël R. Roskam

Director | Rundskop

Michaël R. Roskam was born on October 9, 1972 in Sint-Truiden, Flanders, Belgium as Michaël Reynders. He is a director and producer, known for Bullhead (2011), The Drop (2014) and Racer and the Jailbird (2017).

50. John Krasinski

Actor | A Quiet Place

Tall, handsome American film and television star John Krasinski is known for his role as sardonic nice guy Jim Halpert on NBC's popular TV series, The Office (2005), for which he won a 2007 and 2008 Screen Actors Guild Award for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series.

Born John ...



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