Variety Unveils 10 Directors to Watch for 2016

"Captain Fantastic"
Captain Fantastic

Variety extends partnership with Palm Springs film festival, planning desert bash for latest edition of 10 Directors to Watch.

Variety has named its 10 Directors to Watch for 2016, spotlighting feature helmers from across the filmmaking landscape. The list represents a cross-section of studio and independent talents, working both in Hollywood and overseas, all of whom are expected to go on to great things — some as soon as the year-end awards race.

All but three of the directors are making their feature debuts. Joining these impressive tyros, Colombian helmer Ciro Guerra has premiered two films in Cannes; Peter Landesman’s sophomore pic, “Concussion,” bowed this week at the AFI Film Festival; and actor-turned-director Matt Ross (“28 Hotel Rooms”) is a Sundance alum whose “Captain Fantastic” is positioned for a 2016 festival launch.

The 10 Directors to Watch are:

The directors will be profiled in a special standalone issue of Variety on Dec. 29, then honored in person several days later at the Palm Springs Film Festival, where at least five of the films are expected to screen.

Variety’s 10 to Watch series spotlights emerging writers, actors, producers, directors, comics and cinematographers. The honorees are selected by a team of Variety editors, critics and reporters on the basis of the films indicated above, most of which premiered on the festival circuit. Only “Ex Machina,” from novelist and screenwriter Alex Garland, has already opened theatrically on U.S. screens. Elizabeth Wood’s “White Girl” was produced by Killer Films and will see its world premiere sometime next year.

Directors who have appeared on the 10 to Watch list in years past include Sam Taylor-Johnson (from “Nowhere Boy” to “Fifty Shades of Grey”), Denis Villeneuve (“Incendies,” “Sicario”), Gaspar Noe (“I Stand Alone,” “Love”) and Baltasar Kormakur (“101 Reykjavik,” “Everest”).

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  1. Lucy says:

    80% male? Really? 50/50 is sadly pioneering and you couldn’t manage that? Come on, Variety. Hope turned disappointment. Tell me the Park Springs FF programming team suffered from a lack of say in this facet of the partnership and not the misuse of one.

  2. Director Timothy Hines belongs on this list. His 10 DAYS IN A MADHOUSE now playing is exquisite, stylized, powerful and inspiring. An incredible film of fearless feminist reporter Nellie Bly’s journey into a lunatic asylum to expose the abuse, corruption and murder going on within.

  3. There are 2 women on this list out of 10, Deniz Gamze Erguven & Elizabeth Wood. As a female filmmaker, I look to industry trades with powerful far-reaching voices, like Variety and Hollywood Reporter, in hopes that they’ll initiate change within the entertainment community and help put a halt to gender inequality. Ana Lily Amirpour, Amma Asante, Veronika Franz, Leah Meyerhoff, the list goes on…. Sadly, there are so many brilliant female directors who might have evened out these abysmal numbers. In the future, please be part of the solution, instead of such a clear illustration of the problem.

  4. Andrea says:

    How about The director of Secuestro Experss Jonathan Jakubowicz who is doing Hands Of Stone with Robert Deniro Edgar Ramirez and Usher! Know thats a movie I looking forward! This years movies suck! We need good movies!!!!!!!

  5. Mr. Belmondo says:

    Not a obvious list (more random than anything, to be honest), but glad to see Laszlo Nemes there. “Son of Saul” is a masterpiece and the best directed (probably the best picture, period) of this year, and it’s only his debut.

  6. Ivan says:

    That must be a typo. You mistakenly listed a woman’s name.

    Women can’t be directors to watch. Or at least that’s what Variety would like you to believe.

  7. Ben says:

    Dear Variety people,
    I’m a little disappointed by your list and don’t think it reflects the best new talent out there…Let’s start with Peter Landesman: Did you read the mixed-to-bad reviews he got for “Parkland” and now “Concussion” ? Why is he a talent to watch? Because he already has a deal for his next picture?
    (Actually that’s one more reason why he doesn’t need this list anyway). Landesman lacks the merits
    to be included and you know it. Don Cheadle’s Miles Davis bio has been received with respect, but
    no one, NO ONE called it a great film, not even Variety. Why is he on this list? Again, there is no merit.
    I’m basically O.K. with all the others, but I have to ask the obvious question: Did you really see the films by Matt Ross (“Captain Fantastic”) and Elizabeth Wood (“White Girl”) ? Since nobody reviewed them and there is no real merit visible, it is a mystery to me why they are on this list…Let me suggest to you some other names you probably heard of, but were not included. They would have really deserved it: Joel Edgerton (“The Gift”), Grímur Hákonarson (“Rams”), Radu Jude (“Aferim!”), Lorenzo Vigas (“From Afar”), Mia Hansen-Løve (“Eden”), Brady Corbet (“the Childhood of a Leader”). And about your obvious lack of women directors: Hell, even Elizabeth Banks (“Pitch Perfect 2”) would have deserved
    it more than Peter Landesman to be on this list! It was her first film and it was better received.
    Please take this lists more serious in future. Otherwise readers don’t take you seriously anymore.

  8. Nanny Mo says:

    Yes, but since we all know that women have to be included for it to be real, it’s a token placement. (Sarcasm, but that’s what forcing this issue gets. Part of me doesn’t believe she really earned it and that’s sad.)

  9. guest says:

    yay for one woman!

    that was sarcasm.

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