In a vast field of great indie movie directors, some tend to stand out in the crowd over the others. As a huge fan of film, I am always keeping my eyes open for directors to watch out for in the future.
Sometimes I stumble across a film or two in my giant pile of movie screeners and am happily caught me by surprise. Other times I hear about a film-maker through word of mouth within the industry.
Below I have made a list of some of the indie directors that I’ve been keeping my eye on. I’m a fan of each and every one’s work on the list. Some show pure directing talent, others sparkle from a storytelling point of view while others work in a gritty bare-bones way behind the camera.
If you aren’t familiar with the names on this list, I challenge you to take a look at their IMDB pages and track down their films if you can and be sure keep an eye on their future projects. This definitely won’t be the last time you hear about them.
Director Michael Matteo Rossi
Michael Matteo Rossi is a Los Angeles native. In his sophomore year at San Diego State he decided to round up a talented and hungry group of actors and crew and made his first short film. In his words, it was a success and screened at the L.A. Shorts Fest. Michael felt it was his calling.
When he turned 26, he directed his first feature “Misogynist” where he won “Best Narrative Feature” at the LA underground film festival and “Best Director” at the IndieFest Awards.
The film was soon after picked up by Midnight releasing, one of the leading distributors of independent cult thriller and horror films, for worldwide distribution and was released early 2015. Later that year, Michael completed his most recent feature, “Sable”, currently in post-production.
You can read a review of Misogynist here and watch the second trailer for SABLE here. Michael’s IMDB page can be found here.
Directors Jen and Sylvia Soska
OK, so the headline of this article is a bit misleading because there’s really 9 directors on this list. However, since the Soska sisters direct together, I’ve combined them into one article. A two for one special if you may.
In 2008 Jen and Sylvia Soska twins incorporated the company Twisted Twins Productions in order to create their own label for many future projects on the horizon.
The identical twins debut film was ‘Dead Hooker In A Trunk‘, in which they wrote, directed, produced, starred in, and preformed the stunts.
Their extremely anticipated second feature film American Mary (review) is an analogy of their own struggles within the film industry. The film has become a genre favorite and has gone on to win numerous awards.
The Soskas have recently starred in and hosted a popular TV game show from Blumhouse, GSN, Matador and Lionsgate called HELLEVATOR.
According to IMDB, in Fall 2015, the Soska Sisters went into production on their fifth feature film called Plastic, written by Frank Strausser and produced by Scott Stone. The film follows a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon as he gets in a world of trouble with the Hollywood elite.
Visit Sylvia’s official IMDB here and Jen’s here.
Director Matt Eskandari
Matt Eskandari’s feature film directorial debut was the psychological thriller “Victim,” which premiered at the famed Cannes Film Festival. The controversial piece was distributed through IFC FILMS for theatrical release and hailed by MoreHorror.com as “a multi-layered triumph of a film” with “unrelenting ruthlessness.”
Eskandari’s next feature film, THE GAUNTLET, starring Bai Ling, Warren Kole and Dustin Nguyen was released as GAME OF ASSASSINS by LIONSGATE STUDIOS.
Currently Eskandari is directing the thriller “The Deep End” which has begun principle photography and was co-written by Michael Hultquist, starring Tobin Bell of the “SAW” franchise.
Read a review of VICTIM here and visit the official IMDB of Matt Eskanadari here.
Director Jessica Cameron
In 2013 actress Jessica Cameron stepped behind the camera for the first time to direct and produce the torture film Truth Or Dare. Truth Or Dare would go on to screen nearly 50 times throughout the world and win 33 awards, according to IMDB.
Cameron went on to direct several short films in 2013 including a segment for the Soska sisters Blood Drive PSA. She would go on to produce 2 more feature films (Utero and Save Yourself) before embarking on her most ambitious project to date – filming 3 movies while traveling across the USA in an motor home with other indie film makers.
The team shot 2 narrative features (Desolation and Mania) and the documentary surrounding the process called Kill The Production Assistant.
Mania would mark Cameron’s 2nd time directing a feature film. Keep your eyes peeled for release dates on these directorial efforts as they are currently seeking distribution.
Read a review of MANIA here and visit Jessica Cameron’s official IMDB page here.
Director Steven C Miller
In 2011, Steven C Miller shot two independent low budget features: “Under The Bed” and “The Aggression Scale.”
“Under The Bed” premiered at the 2012 Fantasia Film Festival and screened at film festivals around the world. “The Aggression Scale” premiered to positive reviews at the 2012 South By Southwest Film Festival and was described as “Home Alone” meets “Straw Dogs” and was bought by Anchor Bay.
In April of 2012 Miller commenced shooting the remake of “Silent Night, Deadly Night” titled Silent Night (review) starring Malcolm McDowell and Jaime King, and was distributed by Anchor Bay.
In October 2013 Miller completed his first action thriller “Submerged“. The film was purchased by IFC films and was released in theaters.
According to IMDB, in 2015, Emmitt/Furla Films and Grindstone Entertainment hired Miller to helm two Bruce Willis films back to back, Extraction and Marauders. Extraction hit theaters in December of 2015.
Visit Steven’s official IMDB page here.
Director Karen Lam
Karen Lam is a wonderful director and writer known for Evangeline (2013), The Meeting (2013) and Chiral (2015).
When asked about her thoughts on horror films, Lam said “I think as a society that we need it. It’s a place where we channel all our fears and nightmares. And you can use evil in a metaphoric way with human monsters, rather than having to deal with the documentary version – which I think is pretty harsh.”
Keep Lam on your radar because she’s one director that has an heir of mystery to her and you never know what she’s going to bring next. Oh, and she also knits amazing sweaters!
Read a review of Evangeline here and visit her official IMDB page here.
Director Brandon Slagle
Director Brandon Slagle is one of the good guys in the business and a hell of a director. Dubbed the “Go-To-Gore-Guy” by The Hollywood Reporter, Slagle originally hailed from Texas and later, New York.
He initially began his film career as a genre actor and eventually crossed over into the directing realm. In 2012 he directed the paranormal thriller “The Black Dahlia Haunting” (review), which he won “Best Director” for at the Shockfest Film Festival in Hollywood California. The film found distribution and was available at Red Box locations.
In 2014 Slagle unleashed House of Manson, an unflinching chronicle of Charles Manson’s life leading up to the orchestration of the Tate and LaBianca murders. The film went on to win several awards. The film was re-titled as simply ‘MANSON’ in the UK and can be purchased through the Amazon UK site here.
Slagle has since moved on from the horror/thriller genre to direct crime dramas and action films, while still appearing as an actor in a select number of projects.
Visit Brandon’s official IMDB page here.
Director Amy Hesketh
I don’t have a ton of extra details about Amy Hesketh, but she has certainly grabbed my attention as a producer, actress and director.
She’s known for her gorgeous yet brutally erotic art genre films and typically puts herself in vicious physical scenario’s to achieve the appropriate shot.
Hesketh has directed the 2015 film Olalla (review), Le Marquis de la Croix (2012) and Bluebeard (2012).
She is currently acting in another erotic Marquis De Sade story Justine, directed by Jac Avila.
Check out some exclusive behind the scene stills of Justine via ShockTillYouDrop here, view her official YouTube channel here and find Hesketh’s official IMDB page here.