Where have all the exciting American filmmakers gone?

So let's play a little game here.

We all know the late '60s and all of the '70s brought forth some of the greatest filmmakers of our time: Scorsese, Coppola, Peckinpah, Altman, Spielberg, Friedkin, Waters, Malick, Cassavettes, De Palma, Eastwood, Allen, Nichols, and Romero just to name a few.

The early '80s gave us Lynch, Demme, Brooks, Cronenberg, and Gilliam, and then the indie movement started blossoming a few years later with Jarmusch, Coen, Lee, Van Sant, Sayles, Soderbergh, Tarantino, and Linklater.

Heading into the new century, some of the most promising filmmakers entered the fray: PTA, O. Russell, Anderson, Payne, Jonze, Fincher, Aronofsky, Nolan, Haynes.

And then between 2005 until to this day .... STAGNATION.


I want you to think about my reasoning here for a second. Think of an American director who had his film debut at the earliest in 2003, who has built a solid reputation and has had a legitimately important impact on cinema in the same vein as the names I just mentioned? Anyone? I can think of many directors born outside the United States: Dardenne, Glazer, Villeneuve, Joon-Ho, McQueen, Farhadi, Lanthimos, Chan-Wook, Refn, Mungiu, Weerasethakul, Wright, Arnold.

So what's the future of American cinema like? It looks bleak to say the least, but there are still some filmmakers starting to form impressive filmographies, despite the studio system not being interested in giving them any kind of creative freedom or room for original thought. Yet they have managed to find a way to showcase their artistic visions on the screen for us. I found 14 names that might give hope for the future of American cinema.

Damien Chazelle
"Whiplash," "La La Land"

Shane Carruth
"Upstream Color," "Primer"

JC Chandor
"Margin Call," "All Is Lost," "A Most Violent Year"

Jeremy Saulnier
"Green Room," "Blue Ruin"

Tom McCarthy
"The Station Agent," "Spotlight," "Win Win," "The Visitor"

Bennett Miller
"Capote," "Moneyball," "Foxcatcher"

Charlie Kaufman
"Synechdoche New York," "Anomalisa"

Jeff Nichols
"Shotgun Stories," "Take Shelter," "Mud," "Loving," "Midnight Special"

Ryan Coogler
"Creed," "Fruitvale Station"

Ava DuVernay
"Selma," "Middle of Nowhere," "13th"

Rian Johnson
"Brick," "Looper," "The Brothers Bloom"

Mike Mills
"Thumbsucker," "Beginners," "20th Century Women"

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