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Variety Announces 10 Directors to Watch for 2018

Variety spotlights 10 filmmakers on the brink of a major turning point in their career at event to be held Jan. 3 in Palm Springs.

Two days after Sundance unveiled its 2018 lineup, Variety has named its 10 Directors to Watch, featuring five filmmakers whose movies will be screening in Park City at the festival in January.

This year’s list runs the gamut from awards season hopefuls to first-timers who are just about to break, representing a diverse sampling of talents from various backgrounds. The directors range from indie darling Greta Gerwig (whose “Lady Bird” just won the New York Film Critics Circle best picture prize) to Chloé Zhao (the Chinese-born helmer whose Cannes-launched “The Rider” was just nominated for a Film Independent Spirit Award, despite the fact it doesn’t open theatrically until April 2018).

The 2018 lineup includes four women, two of whom (Augustine Frizzell and Claire McCarthy) have films world premiering at Sundance, and Moroccan-born Belgian duo Adil and Bilall, tapped to direct the next “Beverly Hills Cop” movie. Samuel Maoz is representing Israel in the Oscar foreign language race with his film “Foxtrot,” while Joseph Kahn has won audience awards at both AFI Fest and Toronto’s Midnight Madness for “Bodied” (but is better known for his Taylor Swift music videos).

Variety’s 10 to Watch series spotlights emerging writers, actors, producers, directors, comics and cinematographers. Each of these lists is curated by a team of Variety editors, critics, and reporters. Other filmmakers chosen for this honor in the past include Barry Jenkins and 2017 Oscar contenders Christopher Nolan, Sean Baker, Joe Wright, Lone Sherfig and Andrey Zvyagintsev.

The 10 Directors to Watch are:

  • Adil El Arbi & Bilall Fallah (“Gangsta”)
  • Augustine Frizzell (“Never Goin’ Back”)
  • Greta Gerwig (“Lady Bird”)
  • Joseph Kahn (“Bodied”)
  • Xavier Legrand (“Custody”)
  • Carlos López Estrada (“Blindspotting”)
  • Anthony Maras (“The Palace”)
  • Samuel Maoz (“Foxtrot”)
  • Claire McCarthy (“Ophelia”)
  • Chloé Zhao (“The Rider”)

Though the Sundance representation is high, Variety’s list is actually pegged to the Palm Springs Intl. Film Festival, where many of the helmers will be honored in person at a brunch on Jan. 3. Profiles of the filmmakers will run in the print edition out the day before.

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