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Hollywood’s New Leaders 2016: The Creatives

Fede Alvarez
Age: 38; Filmmaker
When it comes to horror, no director in the past five years has garnered as much steam as Uruguayan filmmaker Alvarez. Following the critical acclaim 2013’s “Evil Dead,” which served as his full-length U.S. feature film debut, Alvarez once again teamed up with filmmaker Sam Raimi to create this year’s hit “Don’t Breathe.” The sleeper success was written, directed, and produced by Alvarez. When discussing the process, Alvarez notes that he’s been lucky to make films the way he wants to create them. “I’ve had a lot of freedom to create the kinds of films I want to make,” he says. “It’s a blessing.”

Jerrod Carmichael
Age: 29; Actor-writer-producer, “The Carmichael Show”
The multi-faceted comedian-actor-writer exec produces and stars in the self-titled semi-autobiographical hit NBC series, recently picked up for a third season. “We’re excited to dive deeper this season,” he says. “It’s such a great time for television.” This year Carmichael also co-starred in “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” and “The Meddler.” He’ll be seen in “Transformers 5,” out next year, and will make his authorial debut with an yet-to-be-titled memoir, to be published by Random House.

Damien Chazelle
Age: 31; Filmmaker
Chazelle’s musical “La La Land” has already made a splash at the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals. Written in 2010, the film predates the success of his 2014 pic “Whiplash,” which garnered Chazelle his first Oscar nomination for adapted screenplay. “La La Land,” which tips its hat to the great studio musicals of the 1940s and 1950s, had difficulty receiving financing in the early stages of production. It wasn’t until after the success of “Whiplash” that Chazelle was able to greenlight the project, subsequently creating one of the most anticipated films of the year.

Donald Glover
Age: 33; Actor-writer-director-musician
With FX’s “Atlanta,” Glover — a writer, comedian, actor, and rapper whose stage name is Childish Gambino — has created something no one else has done: A show about African-Americans written by a black staff that was instantly a critical smash. Glover is best-known from NBC’s “Community,” and his 2013 album “Because the Internet,” which landed a Grammy nomination for rap album. Up next he says: “I’m focused on ‘Atlanta’s’ second season being good and doing things I know I can’t do in 10 years.”

Hannah Hart, Mamrie Hart, & Grace Helbig
Ages: 29, 33, 31; Actresses, Comedians, Writers
The trio, affectionately dubbed “YouTube’s Holy Trinity” by their fans, has come far from making drunken cooking videos and funny sketches at home. Grace has hosted her own chat show, “The Grace Helbig Show”; Hannah’s book “My Drunk Kitchen: A Guide to Eating, Drinking, and Going With Your Gut” hit the New York Times bestseller list; and Mamrie’s memoir “You Deserve a Drink: Boozy Misadventures and Tales of Debauchery” also made the list. Together, they starred in the film “Camp Takota,” and their second feature-length venture, “Dirty 30,” was released last month. “The name of the game right now is to keep as many plates spinning as you can in order to not drop any,” Mamrie says. “It feels like a year where I’ve leveled up,” Hannah adds.

Martha Higareda
Age: 33; Actress-producer
The busy Mexican actress and producer recently scored big at the box office with “No Manches Frida,” which took in $14 million in her native country, and $9 million more in the U.S. She’s excited about her starring role in Netflix’s “Altered Carbon.” “I studied acting, and was super interested in what was going on behind the camera, and I studied that,” she says. “I moved to L.A. to study scriptwriting. I wanted to find out what Americans were doing so well; I wanted to apply this to what we were were doing.” She produces many of her films: “I wanted to get into every single department to learn. I didn’t want to just put my name on it. I’m nerdy, I think.”

Kendrick Lamar
Age: 29; Musician
From the streets of Compton to seven-time Grammy Award winner, Lamar — who has earned praise from President Obama — has proven he has no limits through his rapping and lyricism. His top-selling album “To Pimp a Butterfly” yielded hits including “Alright,” which became a protest anthem. He is a provocative voice whose fans include Taylor Swift and Kanye West. He says his top-five inspirations have always been Tupac Shakur, The Notorious B.I.G., Jay Z, Nas, and Eminem.

Ellen Page
Age: 29; Actress
Since her Academy Award-nominated performance in “Juno,” Page has mixed it up with roles in blockbusters like “Inception” and the “X-Men” franchise, and low-budget dramas like 2016’s “Tallulah” and 2015’s “Freeheld.” Page is also co-host of the Viceland series “Gaycation” which explores LGBTQ cultures around the world and garnered an Emmy nomination for unstructured reality program. “It’s important to have different perspectives and more diverse voices not only in front of, but behind the camera … the future of the industry depends on diversity and the opportunity for more people to share their work with the world,” says Page, who also campaigns for human rights.

Issa Rae
Age: 31; Actress-writer-director-producer-comedian
Rae made a splash with her 2011 hit series “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.” Rae’s new HBO show, “Insecure,” debuted this month to much praise. She co-created the series with Larry Wilmore, and co-wrote, exec- produced and stars in it too, propelling her to the next level. “I think it’s important to tell varied stories with different types of people,” Rae says. “‘Insecure’ is a rare opportunity to get a slice into the lives of two ordinary black girls.”

Rebecca Sugar
Age: 29; Creator, “Steven Universe”
Sugar, a veteran of “Adventure Time,” brought “Steven Universe” to life in 2013, becoming Cartoon Network’s first female series creator. The show explores relationships, similar to many kids shows, but “Steven” is inclusive of the LGBTQ community. The writing and quality of the show have earned it a devout fan base. “It’s been so overwhelming. Because the show is so personal and the crew and I put so much into these characters, I am astounded about how many people connect with us,” she says. “Cartoons are expected to be gendered and I think that’s a shame. That’s something that made me feel strange when I was growing up. I didn’t like the shows that were for little girls, I wasn’t supposed to like the boys’ shows. I wanted something like this.”

Dan Trachtenberg
Age: 35; Director
Trachtenberg’s debut feature, “10 Cloverfield Lane,” made north of $100 million worldwide. Not bad for a first film. “I do indeed love genre films. Always have,” says the helmer. “I love having a  true visceral experience — heart pounding, fists clenched — while also being moved emotionally.” His episode of “Black Mirror” will stream Oct. 21 on Netflix, and he’s developing other TV and film projects. “I think ‘Jaws’ is one of the greatest movies of all time because when it’s scary it’s terrifying, when it’s funny it’s hilarious, and when there’s drama it’s the most sincere stuff on screen. Elevated genre — it can be all things.”

Phoebe Waller-Bridge
Age: 31; creator-star-writer-producer, “Fleabag”
The prolific Londoner and multi-award-winning playwright and actress wrote and starred in two series in 2016: The black comedy “Fleabag,” which originated as a one-woman play at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and airs on both BBC 3 and Amazon; and ensemble comedy-drama “Crashing,” airing on both Channel 4 and Netflix. Her plans for “Fleabag’s” future? “Pick her up, pour her a large glass of wine and see what else she’s got to say about it all.”

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