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Zach Braff, 29

Film: Garden State

Why: “Scrubs” star Braff turned in a heartfelt indie hit with his directorial debut, “Garden State,” which he also wrote.

Premiere film critic Peter Debruge says, “I’d never seen ‘Scrubs,’ so this was my first exposure and it blindsided me. He’s really connecting to a generation. I went out on a limb and gave four stars to ‘Garden State,’ even though it’s not necessarily a perfect movie, but it left me anxious to see his next project.”

“It’s so great working with a filmmaker who knows exactly what he wants,” says Amanda Demme, music supervisor on “Garden State.” “To have created this amazing soundtrack on top of it all, you don’t often have those moments in your career.”

Quote: “I set out to make a character-driven movie like the ones that I liked, like ‘Harold and Maude’ and ‘You Can Count on Me,’ ” says Braff. “So to have people respond to it like they have, it’s really encouraging. I love directing and I’ll do it as long as they’ll let me.

“I want to do as many things as I can, just different aspects of directing and acting. I’d like to do some more theater, as I’ve done in the past, and I’d like to direct some theater. Act in films, do anything, craft service, whatever they’ll let me do.

“The doors have definitely opened up more than when I was trying to get ‘Garden State’ going. There’ve been some opportu-nities for me to get my next film made, which is all I ever wanted.”

What’s next: Prepping his next film as a writer-director, voicing the lead character in “Chicken Little” and at least two more years on “Scrubs.”

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