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.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Amanda Awards

    ‘Out Stealing Horses’ Tops Norway’s 2019 Amanda Awards

    HAUGESUND, Norway —  Hans Petter Moland’s sweeping literary adaptation “Out Stealing Horses” put in a dominant showing at Norway’s Amanda Awards on Saturday night, placing first with a collected five awards, including best Norwegian film. Celebrating its 35th edition this year, the Norwegian industry’s top film prize helped kick off the Haugesund Film Festival and [...]

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Richard Williams, 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' Animator, Dies at 86

    Renowned animator Richard Williams, best known for his work on “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” died Friday at his home in Bristol, England, Variety has confirmed. He was 86. Williams was a distinguished animator, director, producer, author and teacher whose work has garnered three Oscars and three BAFTA Awards. In addition to his groundbreaking work as [...]

  • Instinct

    Locarno Film Review: 'Instinct'

    Now that “Game of Thrones” has finally reached its conclusion, releasing its gifted international ensemble into the casting wilds, will Hollywood remember just what it has in Carice van Houten? It’s not that the statuesque Dutch thesp hasn’t been consistently employed since her startling 2006 breakout in Paul Verhoeven’s “Black Book,” or even that she’s [...]

  • Good Boys Movie

    Box Office: 'Good Boys' Eyes Best Original Comedy Opening of 2019

    Universal’s “Good Boys” is surpassing expectations as it heads toward an estimated $20.8 million opening weekend at the domestic box office following $8.3 million in Friday ticket sales. That’s well above earlier estimates which placed the film in the $12 million to $15 million range, marking the first R-rated comedy to open at No. 1 [...]

  • Pedro Costa’s 'Vitalina Varela' Wins at

    Pedro Costa’s 'Vitalina Varela' Triumphs at Locarno Film Festival

    The 72nd Locarno Film Festival drew to a close Saturday with Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa’s dark and detached film “Vitalina Varela” coming away with several awards together with superlatives from segments of the hardcore cinephile crowd, including jury president Catherine Breillat. In announcing the Golden Leopard prize for the film, as well as best actress [...]

  • Vitalina Varela

    Locarno Film Review: 'Vitalina Varela'

    Frequently beautiful compositions and the theatrical use of a fierce kind of artifice have long been the hallmarks of Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa, regarded by a small but influential group of aesthetes as one of the great filmmakers of our era. For those in tune with his vision, the director’s films offer an exciting lesson [...]

  • Notre dame

    Locarno Film Review: 'Notre dame'

    Not to be too cynical about it, but might the recent horrific fire in Paris’ cathedral attract audiences to a film in which the gothic gem plays a major role? It’s likely a wiser marketing strategy than promoting the unrelenting silliness of Valerie Donzelli’s oh-so-kooky comedy “Notre dame,” the writer-director-star’s return to contemporary Paris following [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content