When you think of the word “filmmakers,” names like Steven Spielberg, Alfred Hitchcock, Francis Ford Coppola, and Stanley Kubrick usually come to mind. Collectively, these visionaries redefined the art of making movies. They also paved the way for the modern filmmakers you are about to meet on this list.
Explore Talent lists down the best modern filmmakers who deserve all the critical recognition they have been getting today. Get to know them below.
7 of the Best Modern Filmmakers of the 21st Century
1. Steve McQueen
For the past decade, Steve McQueen has given audiences three memorable films. His first feature film was Hunger back in 2008, which was based on the 1981 Irish hunger strike against the British government. But what really helped him break into mainstream attention was 2013’s 12 Years a Slave.The movie was an adaptation of Solomon Northup‘s memoir of the same name. It would go on to win an Oscar for Best Picture, making McQueen the first black director to ever win in that category.
2. Christopher Nolan
Christopher Nolan has several films under his belt, and all of them were met with critical acclaim. Nolan is among the most memorable modern filmmakers in contemporary cinema. His works are known for its exploration of human morals, coupled with mind-boggling elements and his signature non-linear method of storytelling.
After bursting into the scene with the 2000 psychological film Memento, Nolan went on to direct even more brilliantly made films like blockbuster hits Inception, The Dark Knight, and Interstellar.
3. Bong Joon-ho
Although not a household name yet, Joon Ho-Bong is one of the fastest-rising modern filmmakers. He uses a mix of dark humor and suspense to narrate his films. Bong’s most critically acclaimed film to date is Memories of Murder, a story that was based on South Korea’s first known serial killer. Following the success of that film, he did The Host, which rose to become the highest-grossing South Korean film of 2006.
Bong entered the Hollywood circuit with the critically acclaimed (yet often overlooked) sci-fi feature Snowpiercer starring Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton. His next film Okja will also star Swinton.
4. Kathryn Bigelow
Kathryn Bigelow has nine films under her belt, one of which earned her an Oscar for Best Director. Of all the modern filmmakers on this list, Bigelow made history by becoming the first woman to ever win in that category. Her films vary in style, ranging from biker gangs to war thrillers. Bigelow’s most popular films to date were The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty.
5. Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese has a career that spans more than five decades. He frequently collaborates with Leonardo DiCaprio to create some of the best films of this generation. Among them were The Aviator, The Departed, and The Wolf of Wall Street. He is the only living director to have the most Oscar nominations under his name.
Scorsese’s future projects include the adaptation of The Devil in the White City, a semi-autobiography based on the notorious serial killer H. H. Holmes. DiCaprio is set to play Holmes.
6. Quentin Tarantino
American director Quentin Tarantino uses witty dialogue, dark humor, and extreme violence in his films. Among his most notable works are Inglourious Basterds, Kill Bill, and Django Unchained. Although he has never won an Oscar for directing, he has garnered two awards for his original screenplays.
Tarantino frequently collaborates with actors Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Roth, and Zoe Bell.
7. Wes Anderson
Wes Anderson is one of the most beloved modern filmmakers. He has never, in his decade-long career, produced or directed a bad film. Three of his projects, The Royal Tenenbaums, Moonrise Kingdom, and The Grand Budapest Hotel were mentioned in BBC’s 2016 poll on the greatest films of all time.
Anderson is known for his distinct visuals and quirky characters. Majority of his works involve comedy, heists, and drama. He tackles sibling rivalry, unconventional families, and awkward romances. Since starring in Rushmore, Bill Murray has starred in every Wes Anderson film.