10 Best Indie Filmmakers

Saturday, January 22 by Joshua Wade

Consisting of Academy Award winning writers and directors, the ten best indie filmmakers range from newcomers like Zach Braff to seasoned professionals like Wes Anderson and Woody Allen. Exceptionally talented and known for the unique cinematic vision, these filmmakers have written, produced, and directed memorable films that have garnered critical acclaim and a slew of prestigious awards to become cult classics and some of the most well known and beloved films in the indie genre.

  1. Alexander Payne. With the success of his earlier films like 1996’s “Citizen Ruth” and 2002’s “About Schmidt” Payne received industry praise for his 2004 film “Sideways,” which won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay as well as a Golden Globe for Best Picture.
  2. Wes Anderson. One of the best indie filmmakers of the past decade, Anderson’s films have been noted for their distinct cinematography, flawed characters, dry humor and folksy soundtracks. Anderson controls every aspect of his films, many of which like 2001’s “The Royal Tenenbaums” and 2004’s “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” have gone on to become cult classics.
  3. Zach Braff. Noted for its exceptional Grammy-winning soundtrack, “Garden State” was actor Zach Braff’s writing and directorial debut and earned an Independent Spirit Award for Best Picture. Considered one of the best indie filmmakers of his generation, Braff received a number of honors and awards including Best New Director from the Chicago Film Critics Association.
  4. Kevin Smith. One of the best indie filmmakers of the 1990’s, Kevin Smith became an indie icon with his 1994 film “Clerks.” The film won Smith the Filmmaker’s Trophy at the Sundance Film Festival and led to his career as a filmmaker. Smith would go on to write and direct some of the 1990’s best indie films including the cult classic “Mallrats” in 1995 and the critically acclaimed “Chasing Amy” in 1997, the film known for being the debut of actor Jason Lee.
  5. Woody Allen. A legendary writer and comedian, Allen became one of the greatest indie filmmakers in the industry with the award winning comedy “Annie Hall” in 1977. Known for setting his films in his native New York City, Allen has received praise for films like 1994’s “Bullets Over Broadway” and 2008’s widely successful “Vicky Christina Barcelona.”
  6. Joel and Ethan Coen. Two of the best indie Filmmakers of all time, The Coen brothers have written and directed some of the most enduring cult classics ever made like the 1996 crime thriller “Fargo” and the 1998 comedy, “The Big Lebowski.” Known for their strange cinematography and eerie plotlines, movies like 2007’s “No Country for Old Men” have earned a number of Academy Awards including Best Picture.
  7. Sofia Coppola. Daughter of legendary director Francis Ford Coppola, actress Sofia Coppola received acclaim for her feature length directorial debut “The Virgin Suicides” in 1999, before earning an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for her 2003 film, “Lost in Translation.” The film also earned Coppola both a Golden Globe nomination and an Academy Award nomination for Best Director.
  8. Tom DiCillo. Known for launching the careers of Brad Pitt and Catherine Keener in his 1991 film “Johnny Suede,” DiCillo achieved stardom with his 1995 dark comedy, “Living in Oblivion.” Many of DiCillo’s films have been nominated for the Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize, including his 2009 documentary, “When You’re Strange.”
  9. Quentin Tarantino. One of the most successful indie filmmakers in history, writer-director Quentin Tarantino rose to fame with his 1992 film “Reservoir Dogs” and continued that success with cult favorites like 1994’s “Pulp Fiction” and the highly stylized “Kill Bill” films. His 2009 hit “Inglorious Basterds” was nominated for a number of awards including an Academy Award for Best Picture.
  10. Noah Baumbach. Baumbach first came to the attention of the Indie world with his 2005 sleeper hit, “The Squid and the Whale” which won awards at the Sundance Film Festival for Best Dramatic Direction and Best Screenwriting, as well as an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Baumbach has continued to write and direct indie gems like the 2007 comedy-drama “Margot at the Wedding” and the 2010 comedy “Greenberg,” and is known for his continued collaboration with fellow indie filmmaker Wes Anderson on films like 2009’s “Fantastic Mr. Fox.”
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