50 Directors to Follow

by jezsalazar | created - 08 Oct 2011 | updated - 09 Oct 2011 | Public

Directors that maybe one day will be classics.

1. Majid Majidi

Director | Bacheha-Ye aseman

Majid Majidi was born on April 17, 1959 in Tehran, Iran to a middle class family. He started acting in amateur theater groups at the age of fourteen. After receiving his high school diploma, he started studying art at the Institute of Dramatic Art in Tehran. After the Islamic Revolution of 1979, ...

2. Quentin Tarantino

Writer | Reservoir Dogs

Quentin Jerome Tarantino was born in Knoxville, Tennessee. His father, Tony Tarantino, is an Italian-American actor and musician from New York, and his mother, Connie (McHugh), is a nurse from Tennessee. Quentin moved with his mother to Torrance, California, when he was four years old.

In January of...

3. Takashi Miike

Director | Koroshiya 1

Takashi Miike was born in the small town of Yao on the outskirts of Osaka, Japan. His main interest growing up was motorbikes, and for a while he harbored ambitions to race professionally. At the age of 18 he went to study at the film school in Yokohama founded by renowned director Shôhei Imamura, ...

4. Denys Arcand

Writer | Les invasions barbares

One of Québec's most politically aware filmmakers, Denys Arcand studied history at Université de Montréal, where he co-directed Alone or with Others (1962) with Denis Héroux and co-written with Stéphane Venne. He joined the National Film Board (NFB) in 1963, where his feature-length documentary on ...

5. Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Director | Un long dimanche de fiançailles

Jean-Pierre Jeunet is a self-taught director who was very quickly interested by cinema, with a predilection for a fantastic cinema where form is as important as the subject. Thus he started directing TV commercials and video clips (such as Julien Clerc in 1984). At the same time he met designer/...

6. Darren Aronofsky

Director | Pi

Darren Aronofsky was born February 12, 1969, in Brooklyn, New York. Growing up, Darren was always artistic: he loved classic movies and, as a teenager, he even spent time doing graffiti art. After high school, Darren went to Harvard University to study film (both live-action and animation). He won ...

7. M. Night Shyamalan

Producer | Lady in the Water

Born in Puducherry, India, and raised in the posh suburban Penn Valley area of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, M. Night Shyamalan is a film director, screenwriter, producer, and occasional actor, known for making movies with contemporary supernatural plots.

He is the son of Jayalakshmi, a Tamil ...

8. 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 ...

9. Christopher Nolan

Writer | Dunkirk

Best known for his cerebral, often nonlinear, storytelling, acclaimed writer-director Christopher Nolan was born on July 30, 1970, in London, England. Over the course of 15 years of filmmaking, Nolan has gone from low-budget independent films to working on some of the biggest blockbusters ever made.

...

10. Guillermo del Toro

Writer | El laberinto del fauno

Guillermo del Toro was born October 9, 1964 in Guadalajara Jalisco, Mexico. Raised by his Catholic grandmother, del Toro developed an interest in filmmaking in his early teens. Later, he learned about makeup and effects from the legendary Dick Smith (The Exorcist (1973)) and worked on making his ...

11. Tim Burton

Producer | Edward Scissorhands

Timothy Walter Burton was born in Burbank, California, to Jean Rae (Erickson), who owned a cat-themed gift shop, and William Reed Burton, who worked for the Burbank Park and Recreation Department. He spent most of his childhood as a recluse, drawing cartoons, and watching old movies (he was ...

12. Neil Jordan

Writer | The Crying Game

Neil Jordan was born on February 25, 1950 in Sligo, Ireland. He is a writer and producer, known for The Crying Game (1992), Breakfast on Pluto (2005) and Michael Collins (1996). He has been married to Brenda Rawn since June 30, 2004. They have two children. He was previously married to Vivienne ...

13. Doris Dörrie

Writer | Kirschblüten - Hanami

Doris Dörrie was born on May 26, 1955 in Hannover, Lower Saxony, Germany. She is a writer and director, known for Cherry Blossoms (2008), Men... (1985) and Greetings from Fukushima (2016). She was previously married to Helge Weindler.

14. Tom Tykwer

Writer | Lola rennt

Director, writer, producer and composer Tom Tykwer was born in 1965 in Wuppertal, Germany. He showed an interest in film-making from childhood, making super 8 films from the age of 11. Among his first jobs was working at a local art-house cinema. Tykwer eventually relocated to Berlin, first working...

15. Julio Medem

Director | Lucía y el sexo

Julio Medem was born in San Sebastian in northern Spain. As a teenager Medem made short movies with a super-8 camera owned by his father. Some of those films are "El ciego" (1976), "El jueves pasado" (1977) and "Fideos" (1979.) Wanting to know more about the darkest corners of the human mind, Medem...

16. Sally Potter

Director | Orlando

Sally Potter made her first 8mm film aged fourteen. She has since written and directed seven feature films, as well as many short films (including THRILLER and PLAY) and a television series, and has directed opera (Carmen for the ENO in 2007) and other live work. Her background is in choreography, ...

17. Walter Salles

Director | Central do Brasil

Walter Salles was born on April 12, 1956 in Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil as Walther Moreira Salles Jr. He is a director and producer, known for Central Station (1998), The Motorcycle Diaries (2004) and Foreign Land (1995). He is married to Maria Klabin. They have one child.

18. David Fincher

Director | Se7en

David Fincher was born in 1962 in Denver, Colorado, and was raised in Marin County, California. When he was 18 years old he went to work for John Korty at Korty Films in Mill Valley. He subsequently worked at ILM (Industrial Light and Magic) from 1981-1983. Fincher left ILM to direct TV commercials...

19. Thomas Vinterberg

Director | Jagten

With Last Round (1993) (Last Round), his graduation short from The National Film School of Denmark, he got an early taste of critical success. He received the Jury's and Producers' Awards at the International Student Film Fest in Munich and won the 1st Prize at the Tel Aviv Film Fest. Popular ...

20. Eliseo Subiela

Director | Hombre mirando al sudeste

Eliseo Subiela was born on December 27, 1944 in Buenos Aires, Federal District, Argentina as Eliseo Subiela de la Fuente. He was a director and writer, known for Man Facing Southeast (1986), The Dark Side of the Heart (1992) and Last Images of the Shipwreck (1989). He was married to Mora Moglia. He...

21. Steven Soderbergh

Director | Sex, Lies, and Videotape

Steven Andrew Soderbergh was born on January 14, 1963 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, the second of six children of Mary Ann (Bernard) and Peter Soderbergh. His father was of Swedish and Irish descent, and his mother was of Italian ancestry. While he was still at a very young age, his family moved to ...

22. Fernando Meirelles

Director | Blindness

Fernando Meirelles was born in a middle class family in São Paulo City, Brazil.

He studied architecture at the university of São Paulo. At the same time he developed an interest in filmmaking. With a group of friends he started producing experimental videos and video art. They won a huge number of ...

23. Isabel Coixet

Director | The Secret Life of Words

Isabel Coixet was born on April 9, 1960 in Sant Adrià de Besòs, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain as Isabel Coixet Castillo. She is a director and writer, known for The Secret Life of Words (2005), My Life Without Me (2003) and The Bookshop (2017).

24. Christoffer Boe

Writer | Reconstruction

Christoffer Boe was born on May 7, 1974 in Rungsted Kyst, Denmark. He is a writer and director, known for Reconstruction (2003), Beast (2011) and Everything Will Be Fine (2010).

25. Hector Babenco

Director | Carandiru

Hector Babenco was born on February 7, 1946 in Mar del Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina as Héctor Eduardo Babenco. He was a director and writer, known for Carandiru (2003), Pixote (1981) and Foolish Heart (1998). He was married to Bárbara Paz, Raquel Arnaud and Xuxa Lopes. He died on July 13, 2016 in...

26. Jean-Pierre Dardenne

Producer | Deux jours, une nuit

After studying drama in the arts institute, Jean Pierre Dardenne and his brother Luc made some videos about the rough life in blue-collar small towns in the Wallonie. After their meeting with filmmaker Armad Gatti and cinematographer Ned Burgess, they decided to enter in the movie business.

In 1978 ...

27. Claire Denis

Director | High Life

Claire Denis was born on April 21, 1946 in Paris, France. She is a director and writer, known for High Life (2018), Beau travail (1999) and 35 Shots of Rum (2008).

28. Sofia Coppola

Director | Lost in Translation

Sofia Coppola was born on May 14, 1971 in New York City, New York, USA as Sofia Carmina Coppola. She is a director, known for Somewhere (2010), Lost in Translation (2003) and Marie Antoinette (2006). She has been married to Thomas Mars since August 27, 2011. They have two children. She was ...

29. Yimou Zhang

Director | Ying xiong

Yimou Zhang was born on November 14, 1951 in Xi'an, Shaanxi, China. He is a director and writer, known for Hero (2002), House of Flying Daggers (2004) and Curse of the Golden Flower (2006).

30. Fatih Akin

Director | Aus dem Nichts

Fatih Akin was born in 1973 in Hamburg of Turkish parentage. He began studying Visual Communications at Hamburg's College of Fine Arts in 1994. His collaboration with Wueste Film also dates from this time. In 1995, he wrote and directed his first short feature, "Sensin - You're The One!" ("Sensin -...

31. Adolfo Aristarain

Writer | Lugares comunes

Adolfo Aristarain began working on a regular basis in the film industry in 1965, as second assistant director. Before shooting his first film in 1978, he worked as an assistant director in more than thirty feature films, in different parts of the world, such as Sergio Leone's _Erase un vez en el ...

32. Michael Winterbottom

Director | A Mighty Heart

Michael Winterbottom was born on March 29, 1961 in Blackburn, Lancashire, England. He is a director and producer, known for A Mighty Heart (2007), A Summer in Genoa (2008) and The Killer Inside Me (2010).

33. Guy Ritchie

Director | Sherlock Holmes

Guy Ritchie was born in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK on September 10, 1968. After watching Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) as a child, Guy realized that what he wanted to do was make films. He never attended film school, saying that the work of film school graduates was boring and ...

34. Sam Mendes

Producer | 1917

Samuel Alexander Mendes was born on August 1, 1965 in Reading, England, UK to parents James Peter Mendes, a retired university lecturer, and Valerie Helene Mendes, an author who writes children's books. Their marriage didn't last long, James divorced Sam's mother in 1970 when Sam was just 5-...

35. 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 ...

36. Paul Thomas Anderson

Director | Punch-Drunk Love

Anderson was born in 1970. He was one of the first of the "video store" generation of film-makers. His father was the first man on his block to own a V.C.R., and from a very early age Anderson had an infinite number of titles available to him. While film-makers like Spielberg cut their teeth making...

37. Charlie Kaufman

Writer | Synecdoche, New York

Avid reader Charlie Kaufman wrote plays and made short films as a young student. He moved from Massapequa, New York to West Hartford, Connecticut in 1972 where he attended high school. As a comedic actor, he performed in school plays and, after graduation, he enrolled at Boston University but soon ...

38. Michel Gondry

Director | Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

He grew up in Versailles with a family who was very influenced by pop music. When he was young, Gondry wanted to be a painter or an inventor. In the 80s he entered in an art school in Paris where he could develop his graphic skills and where he also met friends with whom he created a pop-rock band ...

39. Wes Anderson

Writer | Fantastic Mr. Fox

Wesley Wales Anderson was born in Houston, Texas. His mother, Texas Ann (Burroughs), is an archaeologist turned real estate agent, and his father, Melver Leonard Anderson, worked in advertising and PR. He has two brothers, Eric and Mel. Anderson's parents divorced when he was a young child, an ...

40. Alejandro Amenábar

Writer | The Others

Is the son of a Spanish mother and a Chilean father. His family moved back to Spain when he was 1 year old, and he grew up and studied in Madrid. He wrote, produced and directed his first short film La cabeza at the age of 19, and he was 23 when he directed his feature debut Thesis (1996). His film ...

41. Marcelo Piñeyro

Director | Plata quemada

Marcelo Piñeyro was born in 1953 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is a director and writer, known for Burnt Money (2000), Ashes of Paradise (1997) and The Method (2005).

42. Fernando Eimbcke

Director | Temporada de patos

Fernando Eimbcke was born in 1970 in Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico. He is a director and writer, known for Duck Season (2004), Lake Tahoe (2008) and Club Sandwich (2013).

43. Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

Director | Das Leben der Anderen

Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck was born on May 2, 1973 in Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany as Florian Maria Georg Christian Graf Henckel von Donnersmarck. He is a director and writer, known for The Lives of Others (2006), Never Look Away (2018) and The Tourist (2010). He is married to ...

44. Tomas Alfredson

Director | Låt den rätte komma in

Tomas Alfredson was born on April 1, 1965 in Lidingö, Stockholms län, Sweden. He is known for his work on Let the Right One In (2008), Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) and Four Shades of Brown (2004). He was previously married to Cissi Elwin.

45. Juan José Campanella

Writer | El secreto de sus ojos

Juan José Campanella was born on July 19, 1959 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is a writer and director, known for The Secret in Their Eyes (2009), The Man of Your Dreams (2011) and El mismo amor, la misma lluvia (1999).

46. Carlos Bolado

Director | Bajo California: El límite del tiempo

Carlos Bolado was born on February 6, 1964 in Veracruz, Veracruz, Mexico as Carlos Bolado Muñoz. He is a director and editor, known for Bajo California: El límite del tiempo (1998), Promises (2001) and Only God Knows (2006).

47. Marc Forster

Producer | World War Z

Marc Forster is a German-born filmmaker and screenwriter. He is best known for directing the films Monster's Ball (2001), Finding Neverland (2004), Stay (2005), Stranger than Fiction (2006), The Kite Runner (2007), Quantum of Solace (2008), and World War Z (2013).

His breakthrough film was Monster's...

48. Carlos Reygadas

Director | Stellet Licht

Carlos Reygadas was born on October 10, 1971 in Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico as Carlos Reygadas Castillo. He is married to Natalia López.

49. Jason Reitman

Producer | Up in the Air

Jason Reitman was born on October 19, 1977 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He is a producer and director, known for Up in the Air (2009), Thank You for Smoking (2005) and Juno (2007). He was previously married to Michele Lee.

50. Nicole Kassell

Director | The Woodsman

Nicole Kassell received a BA from Columbia University in Art History and an MFA from NYU's Film Program, where she was honored with full scholarships for two years. Her short film, "Jaime," won the DGA student female filmmaker prize, and her thesis film, "The Green Hour," premiered at the Sundance ...



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