The following filmmakers earmarked for Variety‘s first annual “New Directors” Focus range in age from Wes Anderson’s 27 years to Leon Gast’s 60 years, and hail from such disparate locales as the Southwest and Eastern Europe to the U.K. and Down Under. Clearly, vitality not youth or nationality was the key factor in calling attention to these emerging directors.

They share the kind of unique vision, unflagging tenacity and scrappy resourcefulness that has distinguished filmmakers who made a splash at Sundance and continue to personify Sundance’s independent spirit.

Similarly, Variety‘s managing editor of special reports Steven Gaydos, along with chief film critic Todd McCarthy and associate special reports editors Steve Chagollan and Patricia Saperstein, were inspired by Sundance’s spirit of discovery. The 10 talents listed to the left are directors who have, to varying degrees, gotten their share of critical acclaim, but might be not flying as high above the radar as such fellow bright lights as Baz Lurhmann (“Romeo and Juliet”) or James Mangold (“Copland”), both sophomore directors already in league with the majors. We trust, however, that just as these “New Directors” rose to prominence in 1996, their names will become common knowlede among industryites in ’97.

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