Accurately reflecting teenage experience in film is no mean feat, and there aren’t many filmmakers to achieve it like John Hughes. Born in Michigan in 1950, Hughes described himself as a “quiet kid” who loved The Beatles. Aged 12, he and his family moved to the Chicago suburb Northbrook in Illinois.
Among the animation giants of Disney and DreamWorks, it’s good to recognize directors who have perfected their craft outside the western sphere, and we’re not talking Hayao Miyazaki here (although he’s but a stone’s throw away). Satoshi Kon is a Japanese anime director known for his blending of fantasy and reality in his slickly edited films. In contrast to the magical animated realities of Studio Ghibli, Kon’s realities are completely grounded in the modern era, their subject matter rooted in the intertwining of identity and technology.
Since breaking out with Trainspotting 20 years ago, director Danny Boyle has proven himself to be one of the UK’s most diverse filmmakers. Growing up in Greater Manchester, UK, in a working class Irish Catholic family, Boyle spent eight years as a choir boy and intended to join the Priesthood, deciding against it at the age of 14. He went on to study English and Drama at Bangor University and began his career in theater in the 1980’s.
The independent film movement of the 1990’s allowed for a range of young, hungry filmmakers to move to a forefront which many directors nary got a chance to experience in the past. Yearning for voices which were “out of the box” in story, dialogue and acting, these indie flicks began to span beyond just arthouse cinema. Creatives didn’t always have to rely on big studio backing to get their projects off the ground.
It’s not often that you can say that someone is one of your favourite directors, but for a long time you didn’t even know their name or recognise that all the films you liked were theirs. Jeanie Finlay is a special case though, the documentarian who pushes you hard to look at the subject and never at themselves. Through her good working relationship with the BBC I and many of you in the UK have been watching her films without ever actually joining the dots and seeing that Finlay was the filmmaker behind them all.
If people know one thing about Kathryn Bigelow, hopefully it is the fact that she became the first woman to win an Academy Award for directing The Hurt Locker. But the reality may be people know her because she directed Point Break or was married to director James Cameron. Most of her career, she has been pegged as a female action director, a label which diminished her influence and films.
There are a number of directors that have distinguished their own unique imagination into Hollywood and reflected it on the big screen. Directors who are considered ‘auteurs’ have the creative ability to make feature films that are based on their own imagination, are part of their personalities, or which they find as a genuine interest. One such example is Tim Burton, the eccentric filmmaker who broke through as an animator and storyboard artist in the 1970s to progressively becoming one of cinema’s most recognised directors.
Tom Hardy is a name all film fanatics are familiar with, and as of 2015 it is a name recognised universally. Starring in films such as The Dark Night Rises (2012), Inception (2010), Bronson (2009) and Warrior (2011), Hardy’s detached and troubled characters are presented as so much more than an actor playing a role. The characters he manifests into feel bona fide, and whilst his obvious talent contributes to that, his life additionally plays a part in the process as it reads like a script, making him a man made for storytelling.
ivering a much-needed scissor kick to action cinema, Gareth Evans is a director who already has had a major influence in mainstream action filmmaking. Born in Wales, he graduated from the University of South Wales with a Master of Arts in screenwriting. With this knowledge in tow, he directed the independently-budgeted kitchen sink-noir film Footsteps, which didn’t lead to much work.