Top 10 Emerging Directors

C’mon guys, we all know the truth. As cinephiles, we are apart of a very select group that don’t joke around about movies, unless they’re directed by Michael Bay. The sad truth is that not everyone is as inclined to obsess over cinema as we are. At times they can’t differentiate what is a truly good film and which is bad. After recently speaking to people I know at random about the film industry, I realized that not a lot of people are familiar with the actors on screen, let alone the people behind the camera. This list is for all of you out there who have better things to do than compile a cinematic top 10, essentially those who have a life, unlike me.

This list isn’t about household names like Martin Scorsese or Steven Spielberg. This list is about the up and comers, those who’ve solidified a base for themselves and that we look forward to seeing add and build on top of it. Again, as always this is my personal list, not the opinion of the general public. So, let’s get started.

10: James Wan.

Why you should know him: Saw (2004) and Insidious (2010).

What to expect from him: The Conjuring (2013) and Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013).


9: Ben Wheatley.

Why you should know him: Sightseers (2012) and Kill List (2011).

What to expect from him: A Field in England (2013).


8: Rian Johnson.

Why you should know him: Looper (2012).

What to expect from him: Nothing in the works as of the moment.


7: Joss Whedon.

Why you should know him. The Avengers (2012) and Much Ado About Nothing (2012).

What to expect from him: The Avengers 2 (2015).


6: Edgar Wright.

Why you should know him: Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Hot Fuzz (2007).

What to expect from him: The World’s End (2013) and Ant-Man (2015).


5: Derek Cianfrance.

Why you should know him: Blue Valentine (2010) and The Place Beyond the Pines (2012).

What to expect from him: Nothing scheduled as of the moment.


4: Duncan Jones.

Why you should know him: Moon (2009) and Source Code (2011).

What to expect from him: Warcraft (2015).


3: Nicolas Winding Refn.

Why you should know him: Bronson (2008) and Drive (2011).

What to expect from him: Only God Forgives (2013).


2: Steve McQueen.

Why you should know him: Hunger (2008) and Shame (2011).

What to expect from him: Twelve Years a Slave (2013).

blog Fassy-Mcqueen-SHAME-1

1: Jeff Nichols.

Why you should know him: Shotgun Stories (2007) and Take Shelter (2011).

What to expect from him: Mud (2012-2013).


If you feel that I’ve overlooked someone or have an issue with the top 10 feel free to comment below. Actually if you have anything to say comment below. Have a good weekend :).

About Joseph@thecinemamonster

Aspiring writer who absolutely adores film and television.

Posted on May 3, 2013, in Top 10s and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 38 Comments.

  1. Nice looking list there. Definitely looking forward to a lot of the upcoming movies mentioned as well. 🙂

  2. Incredibly strong list. I approve! Aha

    • Thanks a bunch! I’m glad it meets your approval hahah. Seriously, I’m thrilled when anyone enjoys what I put on here :).

      • Yea I know what you mean. If you don’t mind, I’m going to throw up two more really good emerging directors imo. Neil Blomkamp who directed District 9 and the upcoming Elysium and Jonathan Levine who directed Warm Bodies and 50/50.

      • I was going to include Blomkamp but he just didn’t make the cut, I’d probably put him at number 11. I do appreciate Levine and think he’s got a bright future. But I think in comparison to the directors on the list, his films aren’t as strong.

      • Valid points man. Once again great list.

      • Thanks, feel free to stop by and converse anytime!

  3. Nice list. Some of these guys’ work I haven’t checked out yet but I’m curious. Fan of Rian Johnson, Duncan Jones, Derek Cianfrance, Nicolas Winding and Steve McQueen.

  4. Interesting post 😀

    What about Josh Trank?

  5. Rian Johnson is my hero. But that list, wow, some serious talent right there.

  6. Great list. Nichols and McQueen should definitely be at the top. Only one that I would add is Martin McDonagh (In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths) but he’s only made two films so far.

  7. Good picks, especially Nicolas Winding Refn. Shane Carruth is a good one too.

    • Thanks! Refn is a beast behind the camera. I’ve yet to check out any of Carruth’s films, should I watch Primer first or wait to see Upstream Color?

  8. what about Del Toro?

  9. I love that Joss Whedon did an adaptation of a Shakespere play after he did a big Blockbuster. It shows that he has range when it comes to projects. Would love to see Edgar Wright direct an animated movie like Wes Anderson did

  10. I’d add Craig Zobel (Great World of Sound, Compliance) and J.C. Chandor (Margin Call, All Is Lost) to this list.

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