5 Gen-Z Directors Making Their Mark In Hollywood!
Young filmmakers are the future of cinema! The internet has created many opportunities for young creators to develop their craft and attract an audience. Whether you’ve seen their works on the big screen or the small screen, these Gen-Zers are making waves in the film industry and creating a name for themselves. Here are some of the newest and coolest directors that you have to check out!
[*NOTE: For the purposes of this article, Gen-Z will be loosely defined as anyone under the age of 30]
1. Emma Seligman
Emma Seligman is a Jewish-Canadian filmmaker, who, at the young age of 28, already holds multiple accolades for her film debutShiva Baby. The feature film began as Seligman’s thesis film project while studying at the New York University Tisch School of the Arts. The film notably won the John Cassavetes Award (recognizing films made for less than $1 million) at the Independent Spirit Awards, and Seligman herself was a nominee for the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing. Her works have the common theme of exploring the relationship between womanhood and sex through a sardonically comedic lens. Her most recent work as a director is the raunchy teen sex comedy,Bottoms, which headlined the 2023 SXSW Film Festival and can now be seen in theaters.
2. Molly Gordon
If you’re a fan of the Hulu hit series “The Bear” or HBO Max’s “Winning Time”, you will likely find 27-year-old Molly Gordon’s name and face familiar. Not only is she an outstanding actress who has appeared in blockbuster films such asBooksmart and You People, she is also the co-director of the recently-released comedy Theatre Camp, which took home the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. The directors envisioned and filmedTheatre Camp as a mostly-improvised movie to have it resemble a documentary, and Gordon’s sharp comedic timing shines through in her acting as well as her directing of the film. You can now watch Theatre Camp in theaters everywhere.
3. Dane Clarke II
The youngest creator on this list is 23-year-old Dane Clarke II, who is a New Jersey native and graduate of the New York University Tisch School of the Arts. He has held numerous producing and acting roles in the past but has recently turned to directing in 2022. He is the director of “Nork”, a dramedy TV series that is in development at Pineloft Entertainment, the production company that Clarke founded in 2020. His goal as a director and CEO is to use his company to elevate the voices of Black artists, which are still greatly underrepresented in Hollywood.
4. Cooper Raiff
Cooper Raiff directed his first short film as an undergraduate at Occidental College. The short film later turned into his debut feature film, Sh*thouse, which won Best Narrative Feature at the 2020 SXSW Film Festival. At the young age of 26, he has already made his sophomore feature Cha Cha Real Smooth, which centers around a recent college graduate trying to navigate life while taking a job as a bar mitzvah hype man. The film won the 2022 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award for U.S. Dramatic Competition. Raiff produces, directs, and acts in his films -- truly a trifecta of talent!
5. Kyung Sok Kim
Kyung Sok Kim is a Korean writer-director based in Los Angeles. He was named in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2022 in Hollywood and entertainment. Graduating from the American Film Institute Conservatory with an MFA in Directing, his short films have been screened in more than 60 film festivals! In 2020, and he became the first Korean live-action director to win an award at the prestigious International Short Film Festival Oberhausen with his thesis film FURTHEST FROM. His goal as a writer-director is to use his films to explore deeper parts of his character’s emotions through their daily lives.