It’s that time of year when the industry likes to bestow awards on established figures, but we want to use this opportunity to look at some talented directors whose careers are just beginning.
In this article, we will look at some directors without many feature credits to their names who have films starting to make festival tours. We will look at their backgrounds, their styles, and why we think viewers should be excited about their projects.
Rose Glass got her start making short films at London College of Communication and the National Film and Television School. In 2019 she made a splash in the horror world with her first feature film Saint Maud. Her direction and writing yielded a film with an impressively dour and creepy atmosphere, fantastic lead performances and nuanced women characters. Saint Maud saw Glass nominated for several industry awards including at the BAFTAs and Fangoria’s Chainsaw Awards. Marking her as a director to watch. With her latest film, Love Lies Bleeding, having its UK premiere at the Glasgow Film Festival later this month it will be interesting to see Glass’ dark, character-focused style at use in a different genre, in this case, a crime story.
With a career reaching back to Grease 2 (1982) which includes, acting, writing, producing and TV directing credits, Pamela Adlon is now making her feature directorial debut this year with Babes. Which will be premiering at SXSW. Her citing John Cassavetes’ “conversational, documentary-style” as a creative influence on prior projects, her long acting career and her previous experience directing the naturalistic comedy series Better Things, which, like Babes, deals with themes of motherhood, it’s easy to see Babes being a great launching pad for an artist interested in creating more realistic, grounded work.
RGM artists call Jon Bell “one of the most experienced Indigenous Screenwriters in Australia”. With writing credits on several award-winning television projects already under his belt. His first feature film is an extension of his short The Moogai. Which I stated was the scariest short film at Celluloid Screams 2021. Owing to Bell’s ability to develop great tension through dark visuals and careful editing and eliciting great performances from his cast. The Moogai (2024) has already had a screening at Sundance and will have a later showing at SXSW. If Bell can keep the style he demonstrated in the original short while expanding the story in interesting ways then The Moogai (2024) may be on track to be one of 2024s best horror films.
Another horror director about to make the leap from shorts to full-length films is Tiago Teixeira. The Frightfest regular (his previous shorts Molar, Dog Skin and Wrong Number all having played at the festival before) will be debuting his upcoming movie Custom at Glasgow Frightfest in March. The award-winning filmmaker’s penchant for precise and glacial camera movement, eye-catching colour and his clear understanding of visual storytelling owing to his studying of cinema and design, should have horror fans excited for an arresting work that doesn’t rely solely on sound for scares.
Julie Lunde Lillesæter
Finally, we would like to highlight a documentary filmmaker whose work has already been featured on several high-profile news sources and whose feature debut will be coming to SXSW soon. A critical media and communication studies graduate from LSE, Lillesæter’s career has focused on humanising marginalised and oppressed voices. Such as migrants, the LGBTQ community and people affected by climate change. Her mixture of handheld and poetic visuals creates both an immediacy and an emotional depth to her work. Her film An Army of Women looks at a group of women’s struggle for justice against law enforcement for their inaction regarding sexual violence cases. An unfortunately all too common occurrence. With Lillesæter’s track record, this film is sure to provide searing insight into a difficult subject. In a way that sensitively foregrounds the people affected.
These are just some up-and-coming directors whose careers we are interested to see progress. Hopefully, their upcoming projects will cement their positions as filmmakers. And with many talented new directors out there we will continue seeking out more rising creators for everyone to see.