Ben Wheatley, Xavier Dolan, Crystal Moselle and more moviemakers set to make a scene this year
Forget the franchises, 2015 is exciting for the filmmakers.
With so many thrilling new names on the horizon, and with plenty of familiar faces flying back into your local multiplex, we thought we’d select ten directors to get gleeful about in the new year.
The list is by no-means definitive - we’ve got plenty more people to shout about in our annual selection of movies to look out for (feature coming soon!) – but here’s a handful of new helmers you should hunt out next year, alongside some heroes you might not realise will be returning.
Not much is known about Trier’s English language debut Louder Than Bombs, only that it has a fairly amazing cast – including Jesse Eisenberg, Gabriel Byrne, Isabelle Huppert, David Strathairn and Amy Ryan – and, presumably, that it has an incredible script.
Plot details are vague, but we do know that Bombs centres around a war photographer’s secrets, and involves a Rashomon style structure. Whatever, as Lars Von Trier is threatening to give up movie-making for good now he’s gone teetotal, it’s nice to have another Trier to get excited about.
Ben Wheatley is at a really compelling stage in his career going into 2015. He followed cult hits like Kill List and Sightseers with arguably the most experimental British film of the past ten years (certainly in business terms; the fact it was shown in cinemas, on TV and was made available on DVD at the same time was an extraordinarily brave risk), and he’s taken the confidence of A Field In England into another tricky project, a faithful adaption of JG Ballard’s High-Rise.
It’s a film that’s languished in development hell for decades, but in 2015 Wheatley will achieve the impossible and get a film featuring flat-wide class-warfare and casual dog-eating into multiplexes. Even more impressively, the film features blockbusting box-office darlings Luke Evans and Tom Hiddleston in key roles. If High-Rise is a hit, Wheatley will be one of the most powerful directors in British cinema.
It’s not Mommy that makes us think you should keep a close eye on Xavier Dolan in 2015 – though it’s brilliant, and you should definitely go and see it when it’s finally released in the UK next year – but what he’s working on next. The Life And Death Of John F Donovan is by far his biggest project to date, and will allow mainstream audiences into what we’ve known for ages; Dolan is the most exciting auteur of his generation.
Donovan has a cast to match Dolan’s ambition with Kit Harrington, Jessica Chastain, Kathy Bates and Susan Sarandon joining forces to tell the tale of an American movie star caught up in controversy when his correspondence with a child actor is revealed.
Moselle doesn’t have many credits to her name. She was a visual effects intern on Frida, and performed several tasks on Excavating Taylor Mead (producer, camera operator, co-producer), and she’s made a bunch of shorts, but in 2015 she’ll release her full-length directorial debut, The Wolfpack, and her IMDB page will probably fill up pretty quickly after that.
The Wolfpack features six teenage brothers growing up in NYC projects, secluded from society by their father. To deal with the isolation, the boys recreate their favourite films. But when one brother leaves, the remaining kids have to cope with the change.
Any filmmaker would be lucky to have such a great plot for their debut, but here’s the twist – The Wolfpack is a documentary. Moselle has demonstrated a knack for combining street style with high fashion in her short films, we can’t wait to see what her camera has captured during this shocking project.
Part of the mumblecore elite (her husband is Joe Swanberg), Kris Swanberg’s first feature since 2012’s Empire Builder has the potential to break her into the indie mainstream. Unexpected is high concept – a high-school teacher bonds with her student when they both fall pregnant at the same time - is strong, the cast includes a Downtown Abbey regular (Elizabeth McGovern) and it’ll be in competition in Sundance in January. Question is, will it be the new Juno, or the next Humpday?
By taking her impressive short (Advantageous) and expanding into a full-length feature, Phang will bring a much-needed female perspective to a science-fiction landscape over-crowded by men in baseball caps in 2015. You can watch the short below, but be warned, it’s bleaker than Brooker’s Black Mirror.
Let’s hope this is the beginning of a long career in intelligent space-movies, because Zod knows we could use a few of them in a marketplace dominated by talking raccoons and flying Vikings.
Unlike a lot of people on this list, Oscar winner Sorrentino probably doesn’t have his best work ahead of him. Sorrentino’s challenge in 2015 won’t be to craft a career, but to maintain the impossibly high benchmark set by his previous film, 2013’s absolutely astonishing The Great Beauty.
With The Early Years, the Italian director’s second English language project, he certainly has the cast to do it. Michael Caine, Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel, Jane Fonda, Rachel Weisz and Paul Dano all feature in the story of a filmmaker determined to end his career on a high, and a conductor called out of retirement by a very special fan.
Let’s hope it’s an improvement on Sorrentino’s last English-language project, 2011’s mawkish This Must Be The Place, which starred Sean Penn as a miserable goth.
Three time Manhattan Monologue Slam champion, playwright, and now movie screenwriter / director, Nicole Beckwith has an eclectic CV with one constant – her brilliant word-wielding skills.
In 2015 Beckwith will make her writer-director debut with Stockholm, Pennsylvania – the story of a young woman kidnapped as a young child, struggling to adjust to freedom after she escapes, living with a family she barely remembers.
Beckwith will also see her script Three Generations – concerning a teenager’s transition from female to male – hit the big screen. Both projects have incredible casts, and conversation-starting subject matter. Expect to hear a lot more about Beckwith next year.
Noe hasn’t made a full-length feature since 2009’s Enter The Void, but in 2015 he’ll be deep in production with Love, a boy meets girl meets another girl tale of joyous sex.
We’ll be keeping a very close eye on Noe for the next 12 months, repeatedly refreshing Love’s iMDb page until it has a firm release date so we can count the days until we can see it.
Another favourite we’ll practically be stalking next year is Harmony Korine. He’s rumoured to have written a Miami-set crime drama especially for Robert Pattinson, but with no official title, let alone a release date, details are sketchy at best.
All we know for sure is that Pattinson called Korine up and asked to work with him. Korine reportedly obliged, and we expect to get more solid information next year.